‘Games’, the very word evokes pleasant feelings in our minds. We closely associate gaming with fun and relaxation. At best, problem solving is the closest you can get to learning. But this assumption is so yesterday. If you are not surprised, then you can already guess what gamification is and how it works as an adaptive learning strategy.
Before we dive deep into gamification, we’ll look at adaptive learning. Adaptive learning is essentially computer-based learning that creates a personalized learning path to address individualistic needs. Gamification is not an integral part of adaptive learning. However, since adaptive learning aims to increase engagement in learners to improve learning outcomes, gamification can be successfully deployed as an adaptive learning strategy.
By weaving game mechanics such as leaderboards, points and badges, and other fun features of the games into the training modules, these gamified experiences feed into the innate sense of competition thereby motivating and encouraging the learner. Gamification revolves around deploying the game mechanics (which is fun and exciting) in non-game environments to motivate and engross participants. Gamification can be effectively used as an adaptive learning strategy for aspiring learners.
How Does Gamification Increase Engagement?
Here are some benefits of gamification which leads to increase learners’ engagement:
- Challenges the learner: Gamification increases the difficulty levels in the training which helps to keep the learners motivated. The increasing difficulty is intended to capture learners’ attention and to keep them engaged.
- Enhances personalized learning: The learner can proceed at his/her own pace and become the driver of his/her own training experience. With personalized feedback and self-directed learning, the learners can track their progress and gradually climb up the difficulty levels by working on their improvement areas.
- Improves retention: Gamification leverages game elements to induce a sense of challenge and competition which makes the learning experience fun and interactive for the learner. Such an engaging experience yields better training results which in turn drives better learner retention.
- Track learners’ progress and provide immediate feedback: With gamification of online courses and training, learning and assessment are intertwined, which enable learners to assess their progress. Real-time feedback enables the learner to track their progress and make constructive changes to improve their performance
- Recognize learners’ achievements: Gamification takes advantage of the learners’ competitive nature by providing rewards, such as points and badges at the end of each task. Such rewards validate the efforts of the learner and induce a greater sense of engagement in completing and participating in the training.
The underlying principle behind gamification is participation and reward. Gamification makes effective use of our innate desires for Competition, Achievement, and Status.
Gamification, as an adaptive learning strategy, is a much sought panacea. However, the problem arises when we look at what learning methodology gamification tries to reinforce. Gamification techniques tend to overstress getting things right and getting them right in the least time with the fewest attempts possible. This rewarding system based on right/wrong summative feedback may kindle intrinsic motivation and competitive spirit and drive learners to accomplish more. But it can also misfire. The right/wrong paradigm can unintentionally encourage learners to search for the shortest and cheapest means to pick out the right answers.
To conclude, it is essential that the learner not only notices his errors but also understands his erring pattern and rectifies prospective errors.
The probable solution: Coupling summative feedback with formative assessment.
This combination can strengthen retention capacity in learning without compromising the enjoyment aspect.
Gamification creates a gateway to enhance learning experiences for its users. Gamified features keep evolving which provides more opportunities to create much better and interactive scenarios for the learners. This powerful yet easy learning approach can be applied to various industries/sectors enabling the learner to acquire more skills and information in a fun and effective way.