Let the Games Begin

Video game rules are increasingly being applied to non-gaming activities. This is known as gamification, which is also making inroads into education. Gamification in learning aims to move away from the use of books and lectures and towards experiential and inquiry-based learning. This is not to be confused with game-based learning systems which are literally video games with an educational theme.

To illustrate, there are websites that teach coding through gamified challenges where students who demonstrate competency stand a chance of being hired by prospective employers. Another website scores students on traits such as empathy and integrity depending on how they choose to serve customers at a restaurant within a game. There are also websites that use games to teach languages and have the ability to customize future lessons by using the answers provided.

Gamification is a very effective learning tool as the student is highly engaged. Students can practice real life situations and undertake challenges in a safe environment. They also receive instant feedback which raises knowledge retention. Video game elements such as points, badges and leaderboards also leverage on people’s natural desires for mastery, competition and self-expression. These act as strong motivational tools. It is therefore not surprising that Citi analysts expect the education gamification market to grow to $1.25 billion by 2020.