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Why Gamification Is An Awesome Strategy To Boost Learning

If you had to choose between playing a game and studying, which activity would you pick? Unless you have an insatiable thirst for knowledge regardless of the subject or you’re a geeky bookworm, you will definitely prefer playing a game to studying, and who can blame you? Games are fun, engaging, and addictive, unlike most of the traditional courses designed for young learners or adults, so it wasn’t long before someone bridged the gap between the two realms!

Origin Story

Back in the day, when productivity was flagging in the US, Charles A Coonradt released a book called The Game of Work in 1984. This book was a game-changer (forgive the pun), for it made the revolutionary suggestion that combining fun and games with work may increase employee engagement, and in turn, boost productivity.

So although the term “gamification” was coined in 2002 by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer, Coonradt is widely recognised as the “Grandfather of Gamification”. And if you look closely, you will realise that businesses been incorporating gamification since the 19th century to keep their customers coming back for more – frequent flier miles, awarding loyalty points, and shopping rewards are prime examples.

Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game-thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.

Understanding Gamification

Gamification is nothing but adding fun game mechanics – point systems, levels, missions, badges, and leadership boards – to any non-game environment such school and college courses, corporate training programmes, websites or company intranets. So, for example, sales representatives can gain in-depth knowledge about products as well as master the art of selling through an immersive game that involves real-world scenarios. In the game, sales reps can level up or win badges when they learn about a product’s benefits or when they successfully field tough questions posed by customers. More complex games can also involve scenarios where the rep forgets product samples or faces a competitor at a client meeting, thus improving your employee’s ability to think on the spot and work under pressure.

Advantages

Gamification has a myriad of advantages for both adult learners as well as students of all ages.

Higher Engagement: With gamification, you can design courses that offer an interactive and immersive experience that is almost guaranteed to hold the attention of your learners. The better engagement ensures that learners are highly motivated to complete the course, thus lowering the dropout rate. Moreover, this learning strategy also leads to enhanced recall and retention of information.

Increased Productivity: When you have a reward system and a leaderboard displaying names of those ahead of the game, it creates healthy competition between learners and spurs them on to do their best. In fact, as per Talent LMS, 80% of learners feel that they would be more productive if their work or courses were more game-like.

Instant Feedback Loop: Learners understand their strengths and weaknesses instantly through gamified techniques. Say a student passes levels on Parts of Speech with ease, but fumbles when it comes to understanding Tenses, it is crystal clear that the student needs to put in more time studying the latter topic. At the workplace, this kind of feedback also facilitates communication between departments.

Real-World Applications: Gamification enables learners to apply their newfound knowledge in a completely risk-free, controlled environment. If your employees are learning to use software that processes crucial data, you can use a gamified approach to present them with a simulation of the software. This way, employees cement their knowledge of the software and get instant feedback through rewards and consequences, while your data remains safe until they have mastered the software.

Games and gamification both can lead to high levels of learner engagement and motivation.

– Karl Kapp

As you can see, integrating gamification can have a significant impact on your learners and help them achieve outcomes whilst having fun. For educational institutions this may lead to a better performance, while for businesses, a gamified learning strategy could translate to enhanced productivity and greater ROI. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that gamification in the education sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 32.0% by 2023. So, educators and L&D teams, it’s time to bring your A game!

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