Games have long been blamed for being a top procrastination tool for students, but studies have shown that gamification could be the key to success with online learning.
What is gamification?
Australian research shows that 68 per cent of the population take part in game play and on average we’re playing games casually three times a day. Clearly there’s something about gaming that appeals to humans.
Gamification, however is about more than crushing candy or catching Pokemon – it’s about applying gaming design and principles, such as point scoring or moving up levels, to regular parts of our life. Essentially, it’s taking difficult daily tasks and making them fun in order to motivate people or help them engage with an activity. Need extra motivation to exercise? Throw in some zombies. Want to motivate people to eat more pizza? Make them business moguls and make them believe they’re running the show.
More than Mario: the science of motivation, gamification and e-learning
There’s a reason education and gamification go together like peas and carrots. Unlike traditional methods of education, gamified e-learning gives students the chance to gain skills through experiential learning models - taking risks, failing, and learning from those mistakes in a safe environment. This approach means that they will be more experienced, confident, and job ready than a student whose education relied entirely on learning theory.
And our brains love it. The growing popularity of gaming among every demographic in society has proven that. Reaching new levels, overcoming failure and striving for rewards releases endorphins, meaning that not only are we having more fun while learning, but we’re also more likely to retain information. These handy hormones also help us to feel calm and promote feelings of well-being, taking the stress out of education.
From international espionage to a classroom revolution
The first example of successful gamification and e-learning happened way back in 1985 with the iconic game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? The popular game progressed students up levels as their geography (and interrogation) skills improved. Not only did each progression bring students closer to catching a criminal mastermind, but research showed that the some of the students were actively retaining the information in ways they hadn’t previously. The game, made popular in classrooms internationally, created a template for electronic ‘edutainment’ and showed first hand the power of taking learning out of dusty books and presenting it in an interactive, digital format.
It has since been recognised that gamification and e-learning works in three ways. It gives us the chance to visualise our achievements; we become more invested in collaborating and earning achievements through trial and error and; learning continuously in increments aids peak motivation levels and knowledge retention.
More than fun and games
Want to ensure you're getting the best out of your e-learning experience while also beating procrastination?
Break learning into specific sections – commit to small chunks of uninterrupted learning at a time
Separate content into graded levels and add points to each section if completed in a prescribed time
Give yourself a reward when you reach a certain score and take away privileges if you miss checkpoints.
Put theory into practice with our online courses. Check out what’s on offer and get ready to start reaping the rewards.
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