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 the year 2018 was marked at $450 million. However, this figure is likely to explode by the year 2023, expecting to 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, or 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 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 of known with 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 feel pleasure in overcoming challenges. This runs in human’s 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 challenges and then improves 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 tells 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 emotion of anger, sadness, enthusiastic happiness or frustration. In short, it brings out the most valuable human aspect of emotions. These game elements help in encouraging and embracing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (source: App Store)
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.
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.
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 (source: Microsoft blog). 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.
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.
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 (source: AppBrain).
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 (source: Brainscape blog). The app has over 1 million registered users and has been downloaded over 10 million times (source: Crunchbase).
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 lack of motivation. But as we speak of the potential of gamification in education, Knowre has enabled the instructors to personalize the course material in accordance with every learner’s skill.
It is an adaptive math curriculum which enables instructors to provide personalized instructions to every student. It helps the student to get the experience and benefits of one-on-one learning. It helps students to break concept in a step-by-step process and help them in learning with more depth and with consistent feedback and review to overcome weak areas.
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.
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).
The game helps learners in understanding and applying 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 the real-time, analyze your weak points and share your progress through various social media platforms to compete with other learners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.