It would be wrong to say that today’s students have the same needs and may absorb knowledge in the same ways as their predecessors who lived several decades ago. The traditional educational system makes young people drown in the dust. They are sick and tired of dull classrooms, heavy backpacks, boring lectures, and tedious assignments, need some fresh breeze in their academic routine.
Educational institutions should adapt to rules established by the era of informatization, prepare students for life in an environment full of advanced technologies and social contacts. That is why practitioners and scholars constantly generate new approaches and offer innovative tools which may be used in the classroom.
One of them is gamified instruction. This format, as well as many other educational trends, has emerged as a response to rapid changes taking place in the academic world. It is based on using gaming elements in non-gaming activities and aimed at developing creativity, problem-solving skills, increasing learning enthusiasm and motivation, attracting learners’ attention to tasks which are usually perceived as boring and tedious.
Gamified learning forms the Millennial mindset, turns education into an exciting adventure rather than a tedious duty, teaches young people to face each challenge as a breath-taking quest, the opportunity to find out something new and become a better person. As a result, students always stay involved and demonstrate lively interest to everything that is happening in a class.
To give you a clear idea of gamified learning, experts from Pro-Papers have outlined the 8 basic principles of this educational strategy:
- Gaming elements allow students to learn in the way they like.
- Young people getting gamified instruction prove to be more confident and determined than their peers who absorb information passively.
- All games and the elements of a gamified classroom develop self-direction.
- Social skills and leadership qualities are strengthened in the course of gaming activities.
- Gaming patterns may be used for uniting into groups and performing academic projects.
- Gamified instruction teaches students to take risks and bring all tasks to a logical conclusion.
- Learners approach education in a playful way.
- Healthy competition nurtures a passion for excellence and constant self-development.
Gamified instruction & game-based learning
It is worth taking into account that gamified instruction is not the same thing as game-based learning (GBL). In the latter case, educators use the board and video games, and students learn directly through playing. When starting a certain quest, participants may not know whether it is needed for entertainment or learning. GBL has many advantages, but it is still not gamified learning.
In this case, teachers start each lesson with a topic and objectives, just as it is done in the framework of traditional education. A usual academic routine may be supplemented with gaming elements if they are suitable for certain assignments and help to impart the necessary knowledge, skills, and habits to young people.
What might it look like?
We often even do not notice how many gaming tools are used in modern schools and universities. High marks are perceived as valuable prizes which learners get for good academic performance. Photos on an honor roll, sports tournaments, Olympiads, class rankings – all these are gamification elements stimulating healthy competition.
Students may get points for performing certain actions, for example, citing quotes from literature or completing assignments ahead of schedule. Educators may adopt codes of conduct and reward young people for meeting behavior rules. Recall Hogwarts with professors adding and taking away points, calculating and comparing each faculty’s indicators at the end of a year.
Apart from grades and points, learners may get badges assigning titles to them, such as “excellent collaborator”, “attentive critic”, “profound learner”, “talented speaker”, etc. These statuses make students feel proud and increase learning enthusiasm.
Tasks which may be solved in several ways are also gaming elements. They provide freedom of choice and allow everyone to develop an individualized strategy.
Students should be allowed to take part in academic planning, decide what they want to learn and how, set personal goals and seek ways to reach them, compile their own academic quests to become more confident and self-sufficient.
Learners may try on different roles and consider hypothetical cases in a gamified classroom, for example, act like criminals and judges when studying law, pretend they are governors who should maintain the economy of a country or a city, draw banknotes on paper and conclude trading deals, read dialogues aloud at literature lessons. Such activities boost imagination and creativity, expand horizons, help students to look at things from different perspectives, have fun and spend in-class time with pleasure.
It is worth remembering that whole life is a game. People always compete and struggle to get some trophies. School is a great place to start playing.