By the term, “learner engagement” the extent of their active involvement, the degree of attention, passion, and interest is assessed. It is a prime factor which has been associated with improved learning outcomes. The more the learners are engaged in the learning, the more they will learn and show progress. There are numerous factors that influence this engagement, these are:
- Institute culture
- Views of learners themselves
- Individual competence of the learners
- Quality of teaching and instructors
- Learning activities
In fact, learning activities are considered to be very important to provide tangible incentives in driving the learner’s performance. The usage of games in these activities for online training and education has a lot of potential. Ever since 2010, gamification has been considered to be a new trend in which game mechanics and dynamics are applied in a textual or visual context. Even learning and development teams value gamification due to the following reasons:
- Appeals to all learner profiles.
- Offers higher engagement.
- Provides immersive learning experiences.
- Flexible to be used for most of the corporate training needs.
- Flexible to be used in multiple formats.
Let us take a look at the effects of gamification on learners as a whole:
Many online courses include game elements such as immediate feedback, badge earning, etc. after a learner completes the given challenge with flying colours. These elements act as motivators which increase their engagement.
Also, the social component of gamified learning, where the learners gamify in groups, leads to multiple benefits on brain function. This social, intellectual engagement activates neurotransmission in the brain, brain plasticity, and recoupling, and reduces brain inflammation and other detrimental effects of oxidative stress on the brain.
Gamification within online courses, wherein a person wins or receives positive feedback, can activate the brain’s pleasure mechanisms by inducing the release of the neurotransmitter – dopamine. This pleasure during the gamified learning experience produces a long-lasting affinity for the particular subject or training programme and also helps to solve the otherwise complex problems.
Additionally, reward-related signals promote the storage of new information into long-term memory and activates the hippocampus which is primarily associated with learning and memory.
This happens by the general aspects of gamified lessons along with the audio-visual presentation, bite-sized learning modules, short time lapses, and often repetitive patterns. Human minds often lose new learning unless it’s stored in our long-term memory through a multi-layered process which involves attention, perception, organization, selection, and amalgamation of information. Information is processed in the working memory through 2 channels – auditory and visual.
Hence, when information is presented using both of these channels, the brain gets the ability to accommodate new information. Apart from this insight, the attention span in humans is 8 seconds which has made modern-day educators to adopt gamification to transfer new knowledge to the learners effectively.
To sum these points together, gamification offers highly engaging and immersive learning experiences. Gamification in e-learning also reflects unique opportunities for both instructors and trainers as they discover additional means to educate learners. It is absolutely necessary to include game-based elements in the e-learning programmes to enable the learners to apply his/her retained knowledge to real-life situations, without any distraction from the overall learning goal. It can increase participation especially in human capital management processes like onboarding, compliance, performance management, etc.
Apart from this, even IT managers can use gamification to alter initiatives which require radical effort to transform people’s behaviour. It offers them a way to engage employees, and reinforce their behaviour, thereby increasing the chances of project success.