Gamification in education, regardless of how it is implemented, has one main goal: To increase student participation and knowledge retention.
There are many game mechanics and strategies that can be implemented in a course design, some gamification examples are common and available in most learning management systems, while other LMS systems, like the ones used at AMC Entertainment, have more advanced features (think WorkBrain) that can truly gamify your learning experience, such as, badges, points, and honorary titles.
Regardless of which you choose to use knowing what is available and what are the best practices is key to a course design success.
What is Gamification
Any use of game elements into a non-gaming environment, like school and work, is gamification. This is an old concept that has been used for years by teachers to increase student participation by taking advantage of our intense desire to compete and win.
Tell me, were you given the privilege to leave class early because you finished your work first while everyone else had to wait until the bell rang? That’s old school gamification.
But old school gamification is not why you are here. You want to know what is gamification and how is it used in education today.
The concept is the same. With the use of leader boards, badges, points, and levels of difficulty, educators and course designers are able to incorporate features that was once common in video games and apply them in learning.
This helps motivate students to finish their coursework when they are too tired to continue, or login and participate in discussions when they would rather do anything but.
With every assignment finished, they get learning badges. With any additional time spent logged in and posting to the discussions online, they get reward points. The more points and badges the student receives, the more they are invested and involved in the classroom, which in return helps them retain and comprehend more of the course material.
This use of rewards to fuel the student to try harder and achieve higher, is gamification in education.
There are many gamification examples that I could list for you, like FourSquare and their Earl of Establishment Name title, or Mozilla and their Open Badges initiative. But as far as gamification examples in the online learning world, there is none that exemplifies it better than the Khan Academy.
The Khan academy is an elearning website that offers free online learning classes for kids all over the world. But in order to encourage students to do math exercises or biology assignments, instead of watching another Netflix movie, or facebooking for another hour, they implement gamification elements through out each course and the site.
Answer a question correctly and you get a smiley face, get through answers quickly and you receive a Picking Up Steam badge and hundred points to show off and share online with your friends. All the while having a rainbow colored progress bar showing how much of the course you have completed. Giving you an idea that there is an end in sight.
But like anything else, it is discovering the unknown that keeps us going the most. This is why the Khan Academy included unknown treasure reward points in conjunction with the more predictable awards to keep the students coming back for more learning and focus on finishing each assignment.
Gamify Your E-Learning
The use of popup badges, cumulative points, and the added element of unpredictability are classic video game elements that makes education fun and popular regardless of our age.
So if you looking to implement any type of gaming in your course, definitely seek out the right instructional designers that have experience with gamification and look for learning management systems that have similar game mechanics integrated and built right into the software.
These gaming elements are the perfect use of gamification in education to help make a challenging and usually difficult subject like math and other learning materials fun and engaging.