By Ofentse Mabiletsa |
Studying and going to school has become a chore. Personally, I day-dreamed through school and university. Apart from not understanding why I was going to school except to ”get a job,” I was bored and frustrated 88% of my school life. Until a few months ago, I thought learning had to be hard and had given up on enjoying it until I came across learning gamification.
Gamification is a popular term that gets misinterpreted and taken literally by many. This confusion has affected the adoption of this technique and slowed its development. The term gamification means adopting game mechanics to improve user engagement and not allowing students to play games, as some might assume from the name. Gamification incorporates employing point systems and leaderboards to motivate learners to achieve their goals. However, it matters less that points and leaderboards are used and more that the focus is placed on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. This will allow the experience to encourage learners to achieve their goals rather than merely completing a task.
Education gamification can improve learner participation in the same way that games can hold a player’s attention and encourage more screen time. This increase in participation can, in turn, lead to an improvement in the learner’s skills and optimize their learning experience. Gamification in education can address challenges such as knowledge retention, student engagement, and organizational productivity.
This tool can be enhanced by combining it with the latest technological devices and methods, such as virtual and augmented reality to improve the end-user’s overall experience. With the advancements that have been made in AR and VR in recent years, gamified learning experiences promise to increase learner performance and information retention noticeably.
With the current Covid-19 pandemic causing an increase in using e-Learning platforms, gamification can assist in making e-Learning more fun and inspire students to study and understand the content. As great as gamification is, one of the greatest challenges that adoption of this tool faces is the expenses associated with it.
“Conventional education should be massively overhauled… The more you can gamify the process of learning, the better” -Elon Musk
Improvement of the current education system
The prevailing education system widely used universally is a one-size-fits-all conventional education system designed to suit the demands of the industrial revolution. Back then, the system was designed around ensuring that people were prepared to be efficient factory workers. At the time, the syllabus was anchored on skills such as writing and reading, which would improve the quality and usefulness of an employee. Fundamentally the education system prioritizes memorization and evaluates learners’ knowledge by how well they can regurgitate information handed to them. Problems with this system include students being bored and unmotivated due to not knowing why they do what they do, spending years in school memorizing content that they forget within months—if not days—of acquiring it. Now living in the fourth industrial revolution and approaching the fifth, all the memorized information can be acquired with a few taps on Google, further demotivating students to study. Different individuals who possess different skills, learning abilities, and characteristics are taught in the same manner and expected to perform and produce the same results. All this means is that there is no genuine long-term learning that happens. Another issue with this system is that the promise of a job, which the system was originally built on, is no longer relevant. Possessing formal education certificates and qualifications now does not guarantee a job or income anymore.
Gamification for all
Gamification can help improve this system by catering to specific individual students’ needs and ensuring that learners can focus on mastering concepts at their own pace and staying motivated. The challenge that arises now is that students left behind in the current digital age will be farther behind, and the gap will continue to widen between the two classes.
Technology has improved at great speeds, and education has not seen much change in many years. Gamification can be a tool that improves the education system but making it a success will require us to find a way to incorporate it to be universally accessible to learners.
Learning Technologist at Construct