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Gamification in Education and its Examples

Gamification in Education and its Examples

Gamification is one of the most popular and preferred trends of learning amongst students, globally. Games help in situated learning or, to put in simple words, learning that occurs through immersive experiences. After all, what else could be the best way to educate learners other than putting them to play! In this article we’ll discuss why gamification is so appealing to learners and provide you with some examples of gamification in real world.

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Gamification in Education and its Examples

What Makes Gamification So Appealing To Learners?

According to the report – Gamification in Education Market Size, Share, Trends and Industry Analysis, the gamification of education in 2018 was marked at $450 million. However, this figure is likely to explode by 2025 and reach around $1.8 billion. This is a CAGR of almost 32% during the forecast period.

Gamification uses gaming mechanics, such as badges, points, levels, or leaderboards and applies these mechanics to how a learning course is taught. This, in turn, improves the learner’s motivation. Moreover, the design of the game offers the learners the freedom to fail and to face and accomplish various challenges and goals respectively.

Gamification in education is also sometimes termed as game principles for education, gameful thinking, engagement design, motivational design, etc.

How does game-based learning differ from gamification?

A game-based learning is about crafting the content around game-story. The students may create their own games or play other commercial video games. On the other hand, gamification is about shaping the game around the educational context.

Gamification operates on the assumption that the engagement experienced by the gamer should be translated to the learning context. This would eventually influence the behavior of student while facilitating learning at the same time. Since gamers willfully spend hours on solving the gaming challenges, the developers are using the potential of video games to harness learners’ motivation and to apply the techniques to learning environments.

The majority of times, the term ‘gamification’ conjure pictures of earning points, leaderboards, and obtaining badges for educational specific content. While all these elements have been a part of gamification, the long-term advantages usually come by incorporating some other rich elements.

Moreover, now instructional designers use a lot richer game elements and incorporate them in learning. These elements increase the motivation in learners. Also, it helps in drawing their attention and to engage them in learning through play as well as continuing playing – as one of the major achievement.

For your better understanding, here are the top-picked game elements which are a powerful vehicle for learners. They are designed to enable learners to solve a problem; a crucial skill which is needed today and even tomorrow.

  • Mystery – this element requires the learners to fill the gap between known and unknown. The learner has to use some information to fill this gap but for that, they first need to find that information. For instance, finding a hidden key to a closed door.
  • Action – almost every game instantly start with an action. The action that forces the learner to make a move. For instance, finding a map, searching a shelter, collecting pieces etc. The action is used to engage the learners immediately.
  • Challenge – every human feels pleasure in overcoming challenges. This runs in human DNA, and that is why game developers leverage this innate desire by challenging players at each step.
  • Risk – a game with no risk of life or collected coins is a piece of boredom. A game is always appealing if it comes with the risk of losing a ‘life’, a need to start over again or to lose all the collected items just because of a wrong move. Such game elements first challenge and then improve the learner’s ability to focus and make a strategic move.
  • Uncertainty – in this element, learners hold no idea about what may come next in their way. For instance, can you solve the puzzle and move to next level or you may get stuck in the round and require to start over again.
  • Progress Visibility – such game designs clearly tell learners what must be done, where to start, and how long it must go on. For instance, in PacMan, you know the remaining dots and throughout the stage, players follow through these dots, improving their performance and chances of success.
  • Emotional Content – unlike learning modules, games bring up the emotions of anger, sadness, enthusiastic happiness or frustration. In short, it brings out the most valuable human aspect of emotions. These game elements help encourage and embrace different human emotions.

It is highly efficient to incorporate one or more of these game elements in a learning strategy. While all of these learning strategies appeal to the core human values, they also help the learners in adapting the learning material immediately and in a lot more depth.

Benefits of gamification

Utilizing gamification enhances cognitive development in young individuals.

Integrating gamification techniques can stimulate heightened brain activity, which is crucial for cognitive growth. Such techniques, often seen in “cognitive enhancement games,” are becoming increasingly prominent. These games, framed around diverse challenges and puzzles, bolster the brain’s capacity to process and retain data.

In certain scenarios, it also supports physical growth.

Interactive gaming workouts can match the effectiveness of conventional physical exercises. Such exercises are especially beneficial for young individuals who are avid gamers but might not be physically active. The long-term advantages of maintaining an active lifestyle are manifold.

Gamification boosts student participation in educational settings.

In a study aimed at gauging student participation when introducing gamification elements, researchers implemented a points-based system for various classroom activities. The student engagement metrics revealed that the gamified environment fostered a positive and more productive learning atmosphere.

Gamification ensures inclusivity in educational settings.

As an instructional mechanism, gamification can cater to the diverse needs of young learners. A study focused on the potential of video game-based gamification for students on the autism spectrum demonstrated its efficacy in delivering age-appropriate content.

Beyond school walls: Gamification’s expansive reach.

Gamification extends beyond traditional classrooms, offering enriched learning experiences elsewhere. For instance, segmenting your child’s arithmetic tasks allows them to “level up” after each segment, unlocking clues for a mystery. Alternatively, encouraging your child to craft their version of the Periodic Table, inspired by Mendeleev’s card method, can be enlightening. Gamified learning at home offers parents a delightful avenue to engage with their child’s educational journey.

The Psychology Theory Behind Gamification That Makes it Work

The main reason why gamification works is that it taps into the top three motivators (recognition, sense of competition and reward) to improve employee engagement. It is the convergence of productivity and technology where game mechanics are utilized in a non-gaming context.
A gamification tool taps into the psychological behavior that governs our everyday decisions and provides a strong platform to share our achievements, manage our work progress, and build competition.

Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology
Gabe Zichermann, “Gamification by Design”

A successful gamification tool only works when it provides users with the following:

  • The required motivation is to perform the task and receive the offered rewards or to gain recognition.
  • A great ability to carry out the tasks by breaking such tasks into bite-size chunks, facilitating it and by increasing the user perceived capability.
  • A cue or trigger to complete the action.

It took the not-so-interesting task of system debugging and turned it into an interesting contest in which programmers were asked to compete and highlight the most glitches in the least possible time.
Today, gamification is implemented using leaps and bounds. As per the MarketsandMarkets report, the worldwide gamification industry is likely to be valued at around $ 11.1 billion by the end of 2020, right from $ 1.65 billion in the year 2015. With such remarkable growth, gamification will be a game changer for many small businesses in just a matter of a few years.

Example 1
A personal training or fitness business might expand their reach just by offering various virtual personal training, integrating a mobile app to monitor body exertion level, improve form and manage the number of reps to fully match the customers’ fitness level. To name a few fitness apps which are already using the great gamification concept to ensure fitness fun include Superhero Workout and Zombies, Run!

Example 2
Coca-cola integrated the element of game design back in 2006, encouraging consumers to collect their loyalty points and get rewarded with exciting prizes. They integrated gamification as part of their popular ‘My Coke Rewards’ campaign and they ultimately retained around 20m lifetime members eventually.

Example 3
Another great example is none other than popular Nike brand. They developed Nike app that rewarded the consumers with ‘cheers’ each time they shared statistics related to calories burnt, running and more on social media. A similar business app would reward employees with points or badges for peer-to-peer recognition.

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality
will boost next-gen gamification design

Example 4
The iOS augmented app from IKEA, assists customers in planning the furniture placement on their phones in an immersive, fun way. These enterprise examples might appear unapproachable by many small businesses at this time but are likely to evolve significantly soon.

Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning

Games vs Game-Based Learning

There is a huge distinction between gamification and game-based learning. One should not misunderstand these terms or their intended application. It is important for businesses to understand the distinction if they wish to leverage the strategy.
Gamification is the idea of including game-design elements in more non-game situations. On the other hand, gamification is the simple use of games to improve the learning process. Clash of Clans and Pokémon are the two popular illustrations of game-based learning design.

Now, to give a better understating of gamification in education and modern-day learning strategy, let us have a look at some amazing examples of gamification in education.

Examples of Gamification in Education

Here are some examples of game designs, which capture the learners on a much deeper level. These games help the learners to master the skill or information, as they put them to competition or challenges. Meanwhile, they also offer rewards and both positive and negative feedback.

Medieval Swansea

This is a highly interactive game. It’s a historical game in which learners take up the role of a detective to solve an old mystery. The game can be played on all digital devices. The underpinning ideas of the game include various scenarios driven by different branches, character witnesses and narrative stages, including progression. All of this; help learner to follow their progress and to know what is left to be done.

Every stage put learners to new challenges and provides them with instant feedback. The better they perform, the better they can move on in the game.

Gamification strategy

Medieval Swansea is a mobile app that has gamified the history of Swansea, a coastal city in South Wales. The app turns the city into a virtual medieval world where users can complete quests, solve puzzles, and collect rewards as they explore the city.

Result

While there are no specific sales or conversion rate numbers available for Medieval Swansea, the app has been positively received and has received many downloads and reviews. For example, the app has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on the App Store based on over 500 reviews.

Ribbon Hero

If we speak of corporate learning and gamification, Ribbon Hero is the game that first comes to mind. The game helps in meeting the basic demands of Microsoft Office. It helps learners to learn the basic tools of Microsoft Office. As the learners play the game they earn points for successfully completing the different challenges. The challenges are offered as text manipulation, page design, artistic presentation and a comprehensive section of quick points.

The game is smartly designed that put learners to various challenges while helping them developing Microsoft skills. Ribbon Hero tracks learners’ progress and links it with Facebook, allowing learners to share and compete with other learners.

Gamification strategy

Ribbon Hero is a game developed by Microsoft that uses gamification to teach users how to use Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The game offers a series of challenges and quests that teach users how to use various features of the programs in a fun and engaging way.

Result

While there are no specific sales or conversion rate numbers available for Ribbon Hero, the game has been positively received and has been downloaded over a million times. The game has been praised for its ability to make learning about Microsoft Office programs fun and engaging.

Virtual Reality House

At eLearning Awards, the game has been awarded gold medal twice. The skilful game let the trade trainees for instance plumbers to utilize and practice their learned skills in an immersive and real-life virtual reality simulation. The game helps them to polish their skills, improve competence and confidence and to learn from their mistakes.

The game comes with scenario-based learning, with different pathways for advanced learners and beginners. It offers the players with tools, fittings, and fixtures the assist players in visualizing the real-life setting. Moreover, learners learn through step by step approach as they follow through the steps of planning, installation, and costing.

Gamification strategy

Virtual Reality House is a virtual reality game that uses gamification to teach users about home design and interior decoration. The game allows users to create and decorate virtual homes, experiment with different design styles and furniture, and share their designs with others.

Result

While there are no specific sales or conversion rate numbers available for Virtual Reality House, the game has been positively received and has been used by many users to explore their creativity and design skills. The game has been praised for its ability to make learning about home design and decoration fun and engaging in a virtual environment.

Duolingo

This game is actually a language-learning platform. The game offer combination of paid and free components i.e. free language learning and paid text translation feature.

The game offers different levels based on the developed skills of the learners. It also comes with the features of websites and documents translation. Also, the learners can look at other learners’ translations, rate them and provide feedback. If the student completes the task within the time limit, they earn points as well as a time bonus. Duolingo is definitely a great achievement in terms of gamification in education.

Gamification strategy

The Duolingo English Test is an online language proficiency test that uses gamification to make the testing process more engaging and accessible. The test uses a variety of interactive exercises and challenges to evaluate the test taker’s language skills and provides instant results and feedback.

Result

According to Duolingo, the test has been taken by over 10 million test-takers worldwide and is accepted by over 2,000 institutions (source: Duolingo English Test website). The gamification strategy has successfully made the testing process more engaging and accessible and has received positive reviews from test-takers and educators alike.

Brainscape

Brainscape is a simple learning-oriented game. This helps the learners to create exceptional flashcards to meet their learning capabilities. In such a way they learn the ideas in the most comprehensive manner, leaving out the ones they already know. Since learners usually forget almost 90% of the material while studying, brainscape overcome this issue with its smart flashcards. Teachers and students can create flashcards collaboratively, using the scientifically proven system of study.

Gamification strategy

Brainscape is a mobile app that offers a platform for users to create, share, and study digital flashcards. The app uses gamification to incentivize users to continue studying by awarding points and badges for completing sets of flashcards and reaching certain milestones.

Result

According to Brainscape, users who earn at least one badge are 50% more likely to complete a full set of flashcards than those who don’t. The app has over 1 million registered users and has been downloaded over 10 million times (source: Crunchbase).

Knowre

In a traditional classroom, it is difficult for teachers to personalize the material. The high achievers may not be challenged enough, or the low-graders might get frustrated due to a lack of motivation. But as we speak of the potential of gamification in education, Knowre has enabled the instructors to personalize the course material according to every learner’s skill.

This approach to math education, known as adaptive math curriculum, empowers instructors to tailor instruction to each student’s unique needs. It replicates the benefits of one-on-one learning by delivering a personalized experience. Students gain a deeper understanding by breaking down concepts step-by-step. This method, coupled with consistent feedback and review, helps them solidify their grasp of the material and overcome areas of difficulty.

Gamification strategy

Knowre is an online math tutoring platform that uses gamification to motivate students to learn and improve their math skills. The platform offers a variety of interactive math exercises that use gamification elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards to engage students and encourage them to complete more exercises.

Result

According to Knowre, students who use the platform for at least 30 minutes a week improve their math skills by an average of 17% (source: Knowre website). The platform has been used by over 200,000 students and over 3,000 schools (source: Crunchbase).

Lifesaver

The game helps learners understand and apply the basic steps to save someone’s life suffering from choking or cardiac arrest.

The players are challenged based on a scenario-based approach, crisis simulation; choice of story and characters, and time limitations that help in understanding that time is essential in such circumstances. The learners can unlock levels as they progress and acquire the required skills and knowledge. Moreover, you can review your performance in real-time, analyze your weak points, and share your progress through various social media platforms to compete with other learners.

Gamification strategy

Lifesaver is a mobile app that offers a simulation game designed to teach users CPR and other lifesaving skills. The game uses gamification to create an engaging and interactive learning experience, where users must make decisions and take actions in real-time to save virtual lives.

Result

According to the Resuscitation Council UK, the creators of Lifesaver, the app has been downloaded over 1 million times and used by thousands of people to learn and practice CPR skills (source: Resuscitation Council UK website). While no specific sales or conversion rate numbers are available for the app, it has been positively received. It has won several awards for its innovative approach to CPR training.

Virtonomics

This is the game that offers extensive strategic learning for higher education learners. However, there is no age limit to play this game. The game is played by over 1 million learners around the globe. The storyline of the game revolves around an economy which is full of businessmen, scientist, students, entrepreneurs etc.

They live in a friendly yet business-oriented community. However, players must use their strategic and analytical thinking, experience and knowledge to implement impactful business strategies to bring exponential success to your company.

Gamification strategy

Virtonomics is a business simulation game that uses gamification to teach users about business management and entrepreneurship. The game allows users to create and manage virtual businesses, compete with other players, and learn about various business concepts such as marketing, finance, and operations.

Result

According to Virtonomics, the game has been used by over a million players worldwide and has received positive reviews from users and educators (source: Virtonomics website). While no specific sales or conversion rate numbers are available for the game, it has been praised for its ability to teach users about business concepts and improve their decision-making skills.

Conclusively

These are some of the colors of the spectrum of gamification in the learning industry. These games target anyone or two game elements such as competition, time management, and communication. Some enlighten creativity while others ask for imagination. Regardless, what element they speak to and how they are designed, gamification in education is an incredible learning technique and a complete package of educating, learning, and assessment in the good learning environment.

FAQ

Is gamification relevant only to learning?

Gamification extends beyond learning and finds applications in various fields such as marketing, employee engagement, and healthcare. While its effectiveness in enhancing learning experiences is well-documented, gamification principles can also be applied to foster engagement and motivation in diverse contexts beyond education.

Who invented gamification, and when did it start?

The concept of gamification dates back to the early 2000s, with its roots often attributed to Nick Pelling, who coined the term “gamification" in 2002. However, the widespread adoption and exploration of gamification principles across industries gained momentum in the late 2000s and early 2010s, fueled by advancements in technology and behavioral psychology.

Do games really help you learn?

Yes, games can be effective learning tools because they can engage learners, promote active participation, and facilitate skill acquisition through experiential learning. By incorporating elements such as challenges, rewards, feedback mechanisms, and progress tracking, educational games can create immersive learning experiences that enhance retention and comprehension.

How does gamification help in learning techniques?

Gamification enhances learning techniques by leveraging game design elements and principles to motivate learners, increase engagement, and facilitate skill development. Through features like points, badges, leaderboards, and levels, gamified learning experiences create a sense of achievement, foster competition, and provide immediate feedback, thereby promoting deeper learning and sustained motivation.

How do I design my learning game effectively?

Designing an effective learning game involves careful consideration of learning objectives, audience preferences, game mechanics, and feedback mechanisms. Start by clearly defining learning goals, identifying relevant game mechanics to support those goals, and integrating engaging narratives and challenges. Continuously iterate based on user feedback and performance data to refine the game’s effectiveness and ensure alignment with learning outcomes.
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