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