It is impossible to imagine modern education without eLearning. It can be part of school and university activities as pupils and students perform certain tasks or submit their papers online. On the other hand, eLearning gives us an amazing chance to study independently and improve our knowledge of any subject we need to master or are interested in. The COVID-19 pandemic boosted various online programs, educational courses, and materials as people were forced to stay at home. In some cases, online lectures and seminars completely substituted traditional ones as educational institutions had to transfer all activities to the digital world. To make them even more exciting, educators turned to gamification practices.
The importance of gamification
We are getting more down-to-earth as we grow. However, “All grown-ups were once children”, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said. Adults don’t need to stay rationalistic all the time and also need entertainment. The means may be different from those of children, but the essence stays the same. An adult can spend hours playing a computer game or enthusiastically explore a fantastic environment using a VR headset and goggles. The gaming industry attracts numerous users of different ages, and its capacities can be used in other sectors. One of them is education.
Gamification is widely used in non-gaming apps as people like to perform exciting tasks to achieve certain goals and get rewards. Sometimes it turns even more efficient than step-by-step routine actions. Game elements are important even at work, and 97% of employees in their mid-40s are sure that gamification improves their performance.
Thus, it is a perfect tool to engage learners in the process of obtaining new knowledge and increase their desire to hone their skills. With such cutting-edge technologies as VR and AR, learning is both work and recreation. However, when building eLearning apps, mobile app developers should remember that gamification techniques are different for children, adolescents, and adults. So, the number and peculiarities of game elements may vary depending on the application type.
Gamification practices in eLearning
Stories and content gamification
Storytelling is a nice way of making students interested. Instead of giving facts and figures, an app may offer us to follow a story each part of which deals with a separate aspect of a subject matter. With avatars representing learners themselves, it can be even more captivating and immersive. Introducing a character like the Lingualeo lion is also fun as users will follow its progress. By making content more game-like and offering students to set out on an educational journey or find a clue in a detective story, teachers can achieve great results.
A thrilling contest will encourage students to improve their skills to get ahead of their mates. A leaderboard showing user performance and rankings can spur those who are behind the others to work more.
Medals, badges, points, unlocked additional exercises, or digital money allowing users to buy certain features can motivate learners to carry out tasks much faster.
This type of gamification allows learners to plunge into environments simulating the ones that are either hazardous or too expensive to use. It has proved especially efficient for medical students who may practice anatomy on virtual bodies. Medical staff or rescuers learn to respond to emergencies without putting their lives at risk. Pilots use flight simulators to master their skills.
Completion of tasks
A task-oriented approach in eLearning is applied when teaching employees of a company certain processes. A user must complete a task by choosing specific options or tools. If something goes wrong, they may go back to correct mistakes. When they master a skill, new tasks are added to enhance their knowledge. Levels of difficulty and progress bars allow them to track their progress and set new goals.
For most learners, passing tests is stressful and may result in inaccurate grades that don’t correspond to their actual level. The same is true for enterprises that need to evaluate their employees’ knowledge and skills. A gamified approach is a solution to such a problem: it allows teachers and employers to assess knowledge while students and workers enjoy the process.
If learning is exciting, a person is more likely to get valuable knowledge or hone their skills. Gamification helps to turn routine tasks into a highly enjoyable quest for something new and appealing. For avid learners, eLearning apps may be as attractive as video games.
The spirit of competition
Another important feature is that gamification maintains the spirit of competition just like in traditional outdoor games. Students can compare their results with the achievements of others, be guided by the progress of a virtual hero, and even compete against themselves to evolve.
It’s not a secret that students are often reluctant to show initiative during classes. Many of them would rather passively listen to teachers and mechanically take notes. Adults who take educational courses are much more aware of their aims than an average school pupil or even a student. But they learn in their spare time, so it may not always be easy to stay active after a busy working day. Gamification leaves no one alone as learners get genuinely involved and eagerly participate in educational activities. At the same time, they may relax and don’t perceive learning as a burdensome obligation.
Uninterrupted learning process
If a learning app allows users to proceed to the next level as they accomplish certain tasks, they will enthusiastically take this challenge. It is also possible to revise your knowledge by revisiting specific modules. Sometimes, a platform offers to take a new course in addition to the one you attend. For example, a person learning French with the help of Duolingo may get interested in German, Italian, etc. If they like the way this platform works, they will take a course in a new language here.
Gamification has always been an important means of teaching. With rapid digitalization, it has become even more popular and easy to implement as modern technologies offer vast possibilities for user engagement. It is not mere entertainment but a serious educational tool.
Gamification techniques help students and workers stay interested in subjects they learn and progress faster. Passive perception of facts and memorizing should be combined with interactive tasks and contests, which will allow learners to achieve better results. That’s why educational institutions together with eLearning software development companies should consider gamification features when building new apps.
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