Worldwide, we spend over 3 billion hours every week playing video games, and it’s estimated that by 2018, the global gamification market will reach $5.5 billion.
Gamification is seen everywhere from the workplace to the gym – so it’s no surprise it’s also used a lot in the classroom.
It also helps that the principles behind gaming are similar to many of those used in school. Clearly-defined goals, transparent scoring mechanisms, regular feedback and constant coaching make gamification a great fit for classroom outcomes.
Introducing gamification in the classroom may involve using leaderboards to rank students, levels to provide something to work towards, or badges to represent achievement.
These kinds of tactics are designed to give students motivation, a sense of ownership over their learning, and a manageable set of tasks to work towards completing. Gamification in the classroom also has the ability to foster collaboration among students, and encourage problem solving and procedural ways of thinking.
Gamification is being adopted in classrooms all over the world and if you’re not yet convinced, here are some reasons to start paying attention.
1. Increased productivity
According to this infographic, 80% of learners believe they would be more productive if their learning process was more game-like. In the classroom, game elements such as challenges and immediate feedback motivate students to work hard, level up, and gain rewards. It also encourages them to communicate with their peers about their work and ultimately, master concepts faster.
2. Improved engagement
With our increasingly digitised lifestyles, research has shown that our attention spans are now lower than that of a goldfish, so it’s a difficult task for teachers to keep students engaged all day long.
Through providing motivators such as earning badges and levelling up, gamification helps keep students more engaged in the learning process, imitating the addictive features that often get them hooked on video games outside of the classroom. In fact, according to this infographic from Learn 2 Earn, 70% of teachers said they saw an increase in student engagement when using educational video games.
3. The popularity of technology among students
A study from Common Sense Media found that on average, tweens use entertainment media for six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.
Technology clearly has the ability to hold the attention of ‘digital natives’ for long periods of time, so there’s an opportunity to use this to your advantage in the classroom. Today’s children have access to games everywhere and introducing them in class is a great way to get them excited about their learning.
Simply putting devices in student’s hands isn’t the sole answer to getting their attention. New teaching methods need to be adopted to complement gaming principles and technology in order to make the process educational and engaging for students.
4. Improved differentiation
Through gamified learning, students are able to work at their own pace and level up when they are ready, so no students are held back.
They’re also more likely to realise that their progression is self-led; if they want to get better, they have to work well autonomously and find ways to learn in the style that suits them.
To make this easier, many games switch between different styles of learning – like visual, auditory and kinaesthetic – allowing everyone to learn in a way that speaks to them.
5. Ease of implementation
In the past, teachers had to craft several time-consuming techniques to drive engagement, like excursions, special “days”, and group activities, which all require a lot of work to create. Technology always aims to produce more in less. Gamification and use of technology are perfect for teachers who want to reduce their workload while still driving engagement.
There are many resources available to teachers to help implement gamification in the classroom. LiteracyPlanet’s comprehensive literacy program is a good example, and it covers curriculum-aligned literacy skills in a way that’s engaging for students.
As Professor Genevieve McArthur of the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University said, “Scientific studies show that learning depends on attention, repetition and immediate feedback. LiteracyPlanet provides all of these things in a highly entertaining and rewarding environment that motivates children.”
Incorporating gamification in the classroom
If implemented correctly, gamification can really assist the learning process in both primary and secondary classrooms. With so many kids spending more and more hours playing video games and using technology, it’s a great way to engage students in the classroom through motivators like friendly competition between peers and rewards for success.