What is Gamification in Education?

What is Gamification?

“Gamification” refers to the use of game elements in non-game fields (business, marketing, everyday life, education, training, etc.) in order to increase participants’ engagement. Nowadays gamification is used not just in schools and colleges, but also in online training courses. Companies use gamification to increase sales, customer loyalty, and the effectiveness of employee training.

Needless to say, game-like methods have been used in education for quite some time. Including game-like exercises such as quizzes into the otherwise monotonous educational process was recommended by Konstantin Ushinsky, the founder of scientific pedagogy in tsarist Russia. The term “gamification” is new, however, having only appeared in 2002.

A few facts about gamification in education

  • Gamifying courses has been shown to increase test results by 14%.
  • Revenue from the gamified education and training market is expected to reach USD $25.7 billion by 2025. By way of comparison, the field only earned $4.91 billion in 2016.
  • 70% of the companies on the Forbes Global 2,000 list use gamification in their manufacturing processes.
  • 61% of American employees are currently undergoing gamified training programs.
  • 85% of employees demonstrate increased engagement when their training process includes gamification elements.
  • Only 3% of people remain unmotivated during a gamified training session.

Examples of E-learning

E-learning Example

E-learning Example E-learning Example

Other Examples

Approaches to gamification

There are two core approaches to the gamification of education and training: light gamification and deep gamification.

Light gamification entails the use of a number of game mechanics such as competition, ranking, points, and rewards. This approach is relatively simple to employ, since it doesn’t require the creation of a full-fledged “game.”

In one successful project featuring this kind of gamification — Khan Academy — students are given badges for solving problems. In addition, the levels of each student in the class are visible to everyone, which encourages players to compete with each other.

A similar method is used by the online resource Codeacademy, where students get medals for even the most basic accomplishments.

Deep gamification entails total immersion in the game world. For example, here at Logrus IT we created a course called “Make a Burger” for McDonald’s in which restaurant employees can familiarize themselves with the company’s products and learn the order in which ingredients should be added to make a sandwich. All of the course’s material is taught in the form of this game.

Another example is a test called “Are You a Good Host?” It helps McDonald’s employees learn the right way to interact with customers.

How to use gamification in education and training

Gamification elements should be introduced one step at a time. Here are the basic steps you should focus on first.

  • Set goals. The first thing you need to do is determine who the course is for and which skills the student should learn from it. This will allow you to draw up a statement of work and identify metrics for evaluating effectiveness.
  • Create scenarios. To turn a training course into a game, you need an interesting story. So a course program and training materials aren’t enough — you also need a narrative.
  • Select a game mechanic. Now you need to decide what the rules are. What will happen if the player performs a given action? Will they get rewards or points? Will they be competing with each other?
  • Develop an educational product. Once the script and game mechanics are ready, you can start putting everything together. You need to have a solid, comprehensive design, create all the necessary materials, set up interactive sequences and animation, plan out user scenarios, and mock up an intuitive interface.
  • Choose a platform for your courses. Now you need to put all your course materials together. To do this, you can create a Web page or app that will contain all the lessons, presentations, videos, and other information. You can also put your course materials in a special LMS system, which will allow you to collect stats on how people complete the course.
  • Test the course. Before launching your course, you need to make sure the website or app works and the educational materials are free of errors.

Advantages and disadvantages of gamification

The advantages of gamification techniques are obvious: they make the training process more engaging, increase students’ motivation, and make it easier to remember the material.

But gamification isn’t a panacea — it needs to be used wisely. If you overdo it and use too many gamification elements — points, rankings, and the like — your students will only care about winning and getting rewards. This could have a negative effect on relationships between players and even make them less interested in the subject they’re supposed to be learning.

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