Gamification: Computer games in the classrooms

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By Elpidio R. Estioko

Many teenagers and almost all students these days are engaged in computer games. They love playing these games with their friends even up to the wee hours in the morning. I remember my wife calling the attention of one of my kids to stop playing and go to sleep because it’s already late in the evening, but he needed another  3 to 4 times reminders to be able to stop playing. In fact, in my classroom, my students are in it and I have to keep reminding them to stop playing and focus on the lessons instead. They have a hard time disengaging themselves from the play.

So, I was just thinking that since our students love computer games, can we not incorporate computer games in classroom lessons? Can they be incorporated in the lessons in the first place to enhance reading comprehension and retention skills? Then, I heard of the word gamification.

Gamification is the process of implementing game mechanics into non-gaming contexts to drive user engagement and to enhance problem-solving. Some examples of game mechanics are points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards. I came to know that gamification does not create real games but uses game techniques to engage students in comprehensive learning mechanisms. This might be a good idea, but I just don’t know how much it will cost. If we can do that and will spell success, we may just have to forget the cost if it will help our students succeed and be engaged in their lessons. This is one area education administrators need to explore and invest on it. This must be good because I learned that the market is growing and is becoming to be an effective partner in the corporate world, so it might be a good idea to use it in educational institutions.

Analysts forecast that global education gamification market will grow at a CAGR of 66.22% during the period 2016-2020, once we go for it. Covered in this report are the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global education gamification market for 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from the sales of gamification solutions within the education market.

According to Richard Chang, author of Global Education Gamification Market to Grow 66.22% through 2020, the trend in the market today is that global education gamification market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 66.22 percent from 2016 through 2020, according to a new report by Dublin-based market research firm Research and Markets.

Since gamification is the application of game mechanics into non-gaming contexts to drive user engagement and to enhance problem solving, this is one area the institution’s IT person can venture into to enable students to succeed. Gamification uses game techniques to engage students in comprehensive learning mechanisms.

The report Global Education Gamification market 2016-2020 covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the education gamification market over the next four years. One of the latest trends in the market is the increase in e-learning, according to Research and Markets. The global e-learning market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, transforming conventional learning methods. Factors such as innovation in e-learning tools, delivery methods, advances in technology and availability of various virtual communication tools are contributing to the growth of the market, the report said.

According to Research and Market’s new report, the increasing penetration of technology and rising government aid in most emerging economies have led to the surge in e-learning markets worldwide.

Topics covered include the market landscape, geographic segmentation, market drivers, market challenges, market trends, the vendor landscape and a key vendor analysis. Again, if we have to use it in educational institutions, we need to reprogram them in order to suit our students in the classrooms. So, instead of market landscapes and key vendor analysis, it needs to address students’ reading comprehension, test anxieties, test practices, etc.

Also, the report says that the global gamification market is increasing, due to its growing application in corporate sector, increasing penetration of gadgets with display, and rapid uptake of social networks. The advantages of gamification including motivation, and customer engagement have been encouraging the organizations and individuals to utilize them. Maybe it’s high time the education sector will utilize it to enhance student success through motivational gaming principles.

There are several gamification technologies and strategies of customer engagement, including level progress, points and scores, real time performance feedback, progress bars, activity feeds, being part of story, avatars, and virtual currencies that we can use in education. These principles will surely be good sources of motivation and engagement of students in the classroom. Approximately 30% of the gamification participants are observed to prefer level progress, among all other gamification techniques. Level progress refers to crossing the difficulty levels for reaching the next level, an area in education we educators need to address.

Now-a-days, the corporates are becoming increasingly organized, and they are incorporating technologies for enhancing the learning process of their employees. The employees that are trained through gamification technology tend to learn at a faster pace, as compared to the traditional training methods. They also feel motivated to learn in such a way and do not witness boredom while learning. The educational institutions and universities are starting to use gamification for imparting learning to the students. These shifts from traditional to technical methods of teaching are driving the growth of the gamification market globally.

The display gadgets, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones are the popular mediums that connect the gamification technology with its target audiences. The increasing penetration of such gadgets is consequently driving the growth of the global gamification market.

The impact of gamification in learning over traditional methods has been increasing. If we can progressively apply them in education, we will be able to address many student concerns that will make them successful in their educational goals. The learners in industries and institutions feel more motivated by learning through points and rewards, a system that makes education work.

According to a study conducted by the University of Colorado on the impact of simulations and games among adult learners, gamification techniques offer 14% higher skill-based knowledge, 11% higher factual knowledge, and 9% increase in knowledge retention rate, over the traditional methods of learning. Educators need to really consider these as they are good indicators of student success.

(For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

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