Gamification excites students

The key characteristic of e-learning is entertainment which help students love learning. Welcome to the world of gamification of education. When you give a student a paper and a pen to solve 20 mathematical problem you are likely to be greeted by grumblings but if you give them a computer based software with more than 200 activities they will excitedly do solve them. That is STEM for you.

The gamification of subjects like Geography, Mathematics, Science, History, etc is an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. The goal is to maximise enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. The modern educational challenge involves tasks of engaging students, stimulating their interests, retaining their attention and maintaining a positive attitude in a nurturing environment.

Key to these goals is the effort to maintain a rich communications environment that encourages feedback and reinforcement, not only between the instructor/teacher and students, but also between the students themselves.

These socially interactive mechanisms, with the proper level of control for encouragement and discipline, can be designed in effective ways to create “fun” learning situations.

In good education gamification spirit, the results are immediately reported to the student, as well as the instructional staff, providing feedback and reinforcement to the student. In some cases, levelling up, badges and other rewards systems are implemented.

Interactivity among the students is emphasised to encourage engagement and assist in long-term retention of concepts. This also provides frequent feedback which enables the student to monitor their progress and self-evaluate their understanding of the material.

Interactive learning games that can be played individually, with other students in the class, or even students located in other cities, states, and nations. What is unique in class is that several different devices and media channels are used. Not just computers with local programs and game-based apps, but web-based and console-based such as Nintendo games as well.

Traditional education methods are being overtaken by digitally assisted learning opportunities.

As a result, this digitally assisted learning has produced increased class interest, improved math and reading scores, overall enthusiasm and class engagement.

Often the programs and games are multi-subject based; such as with the game Flower Power, which introduces basic concepts in economics and business as the student increase their math skills. Multiple goals, achievements, rewards and positive feedback from fellow students and t some of these are the characteristics that make the class so engaging and fun. Yes, class and learning can be fun – most if not all the time.

A good example of gamification is Ribbon Hero an epic game that teaches you how to use Microsoft Office has taken great care in designing the challenges by creating short, relevant tasks and providing immediate feedback and reinforcement to help keep the user engaged and interested.

Also, by keeping the difficulty level manageable, yet challenging, and providing enough support to insure reasonable success, the game encourages further play and development of Office skills.

Because Ribbon Hero can link to Facebook, each player can share their scores and compare their progress with friends on Facebook who also play the game. In essence, Ribbon Hero is a software tutorial within a game that can be socially connected. This is one of the best corporate education gamification examples out there.

The key with gamification is to remember that the psychology behind it centres on the idea of “flow.” This is the same notion that filled arcade machines with teens in the 80s and 90s. The user needs to feel compelled to push on “just a bit further” due to a targeted blend of achievable challenge and rewarding feedback.

Gamification awards students with badges.

Shepherd Chimururi Executive Director – Dzidzo Inhaka Audio Visual Learning. Mobile:+263 772 608 276

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