Gamification may sound to some like educational games, because it uses gaming techniques to help to teach students new concepts. If one can connect with people effectively through games, can this make learning easier?
According to Penn State University, "gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges." They run a free course on Gamification via the Internet that introduces learners to the mechanisms of the methodology.
Some subject areas do not usually sound much like games (such as accounting, medicine and filling in tax forms) and the application of game-playing techniques can help learners to understand the material more quickly. The concept of earning badges, which has been covered previously in this blog, also plays a role in recognising learners' progress. Some have reported that gamification can help to make seemingly boring tasks appear more interesting (especially the tax forms!).
The process usually involves the transformation of something that is already in existence rather than starting from scratch. For example, a course, website or computer program already exists that people need to learn to use (but may be resistant because it appears boring or complicated to them). It is here that gamification can help to overcome the barriers to learning by making the process more engaging and fun. Users are able to learn in small bite-sized chunks, while earning recognition for their efforts at regular intervals. The person's skills are developed in a fun, yet competitive manner with comparisons being made to the progress of others or against a standard.
You could try free courses on gamification:
Submitted on 21 June 2014. First published on AfricaEducation.org.
Gamification: putting the fun into learning