Growing up video games have always been one of my interests and looking back at it I feel it has made me learn the value of working together and playing as a team at a young age. Some parts of the education sector have started seeing the benefits of gaming and started applying it to some education processes. Recent studies show that there is value in gamifying education.
Why is gamification a valid way of improving the learning experience you might ask? One of the main reasons is that it makes it easier for students to be motivated to learn. Scoreboards help bring out that little bit of competitiveness in us and provide an incentive to perform better which in turn only helps improve the learning process. Having goals or objectives in the game along with a progression system creates motivation for the player/student to push for making more progress. Badges or achievements help provide a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction which would only encourage students to play more. As a side effect, students may choose to work together to try to figure out the best ways to get more points or obtain certain achievements and badges. There is potential for many valuable skills to be developed by the gamification of education; teamwork skills may be improved, and problem-solving skills are put to use and developed. The competition created through gamification encourages students to do their best or collaborate to try and get better. This is true not only for younger students but also for students in higher education.
Some higher education institutions are already implementing gamification into their study programs. For example, The University of Chicago had created a game in which classes were split into groups and worked on completing various quests together in order to gain points. These quests included various tasks related to their study where students had to apply what they have learned to complete said tasks. The game also featured a leader board, so the groups were motivated to perform well in these quests. This game was called ECHO and the webpage for it can be found here. Seeing as the world of education is ever-evolving especially as the use of technology grows, it is important to keep up and continue to adapt our education systems to provide students with the best chance at having a successful career and potentially making a change in this world.
Some people may think “Oh if it’s a video game then it’s not real education”, well education does not have to be just like a typical video game, it could just use a little more gamified features such as scoreboards and badges but still include the same information you would have shared if it wasn’t gamified. I understand it may not be a simple process completely gamifying full courses, but it doesn’t need to be extremely complex. The gamification process can be as simple as a quiz with leader boards to test the student’s knowledge. CareerProfessor does just that: it is testing intercultural employability skills in a quiz using 9 levels, with gamification elements throughout the app to provide valuable information to students in a fun and interactive way so they stay interested and keen to continue to develop.
Tariq Talaat for Expertise in Labour Mobility