An Overview Of Gamification In An e-Learning Environment

Gamification is not a common term; however, it has many diverse applications today, therefore it is an important term to understand. Gamification is basically adding typical game playing elements (like rules of play, competition and point scoring) in to various other areas of activity. One of the areas that Gamification is being utilized is in E-learning.

Gamification is an instructional design technique that leverages human emotion to achieve higher levels of understanding and knowledge in non-game software.

The goal is to engage the learner in solving problems with the information provided in the software combined with their real life knowledge. It is a scenario based approach that should improve the understanding and retention of a subject matter.

As learners become younger in our society gamification of learning design is more readily apparent, but not exclusive. Most learners (all ages) have a sense for solving problems, competition and achievement; so gamification in learning can be an effective approach to software design. It must add value to the learning experience, be relevant, and be interesting.

There are some reservations about the effectiveness of this approach, but it has been generally concluded that in most circumstances it is more effective than traditional education and where we started with e-Learning (Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., and Sarsa, H. (2014). Does Gamification Work? – A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on gamification). The most critical factor in design is the context of the game mechanics and the targeted learning outcomes. If we believe that gamification does have a positive impact on learning, then we must also be aware that it must be designed correctly. Working with the subject matter being taught, the scenario based game must reinforce the learning intent and not be a distraction from the real goal of imparting knowledge. It must be relevant and appropriate for the audience of learners.

It is my belief that after reading about and developing game based learning; it is effective when designed correctly. Gamification touches the human emotions to succeed and if that requires learning along the way, knowledge gets transferred. Additionally because of the gamification, the learner is more likely to retain and use that knowledge in the future.

E-learning is defined as the method of learning via electronic media. It’s interesting to note that over 18,000,000 college students take part in the E-learning experience by taking at least one of their classes online. E-learning has also become very effective in the corporate world today. It’s been estimated that corporations can save up to 70% of their investment in training budget by replacing traditional methods with E-learning instead.

“Everything we do is being mediated by technology, whether it is entertainment, work or sports or play, and this is generating huge amounts of user activity data,” says Rajat Paharia, the founding father of gamification. “Now we can take that data and apply it to the motivation problem.”

The use of Gamification in E-learning helps significantly with the ease of learning new knowledge as well as information retention. Over 75% of people today are “gamers” (50% are casual gamers and 27% play games moderately to fairly often) so gaming is a platform that most people are familiar with. By using games in the E-learning market, the ability to teach new skills in a more effective manner has changed the industry in a very positive way.

It’s a fact that people trying to learn a new skill will recall just 10% of what they read and only 20% of what they hear. If there are visuals accompanying an oral presentation (as is used in a game scenario) the number rises to 30%. Furthermore, if those same people observe someone carrying out an action while teaching the number increases to 50%. When learners partake of the action themselves through gamification, they remember 90%, even if it is only a simulation. These are impressive numbers that promote Gamification in the E-learning market.

Studies show that the most effective uses of gamification in an E-learning scenario are illustrating progress, increased engagement, the creation of challenges, and instilling a sense of accomplishment in the learner. By using a game that incorporates these scenarios, the learner is more motivated to learn and is more likely to retain the knowledge they are given.

It’s understood that people will generally seek out an activity that will challenge and engage oneself. Put this activity in a fun, social environment and give it interaction capabilities and people will be drawn to it and excited to learn. The task of learning becomes “fun” and non-tedious. Knowledge flows more easily and people are more likely to seek it out as a result.

It is easy to see why the E-learning market has grown so quickly in popularity by the use of gamification. By incorporating “feel good” chemical reactions in those that choose to learn, gamification has most definitely improved learning by increasing participation and motivation in those that partake of it. The market continues to grow at a rapid pace and projections show that popularity will only continue to climb in the coming years.

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