Author: Kritideepan Parida
The usage of gamification in classrooms has drastically increased in the past decade as instructors need a new and fun method to impart education to students. Gamification as a term corresponds to the application of game design elements in non-game contexts (say education here) to engage participants and encourage desired behaviors.1 It has enhanced student engagement, motivation, learning outcomes, and learning experiences, making learning fun for students. A myriad of factors is taken into consideration when a certain gamification strategy is developed.
While several teaching modules exist, each one is unique since the course type and instructors bring the key factor to the table. As such, a similar course may have different means of conveying to the students, leading to different experiences from the students’ perspectives. Gamification can help make challenging tasks more enjoyable and motivate students toward learning achievements.2 Now, when developing a gamified module, it needs to be optimized for a certain course since one thing that may work for a class may not work for another. Hence, I would rather say devising gamification strategies should be a personalized task since the impact of gamification on students’ learning, engagement, and behavior is based on their personality traits. 3 However, several existing strategies are implemented time and again as they have been tried and tested. Some of the common examples include but are not limited to:
- Points and reward system– Assigning points to various learning activities and rewarding students based on their performance can motivate them to participate more actively in the course.
- Badges and achievements– Incentivizing the students when they learn certain academic skills.
- Quests and challenges– Designing quests and challenges that require students to apply their knowledge and skills in a problem-solving context. It can aid in deeper understanding and engagement with the course material.
- Collaborative learning and teamwork– Encouraging students to work in teams or guilds can promote collaboration, communication, and social skills.
- Storytelling and narrative– Adding storytelling elements into the learning experience can help students connect with the course material, promote speaking in groups, enhance their vocabulary, and instigates confidence.
The aforementioned gamification strategies can be employed in various combinations and personalized to suit the specific needs and objectives of a course, instructor type, and other factors. Essentially, the key to successful gamification strategies implementation is to ensure that the elements are well-integrated into the course content and designed to promote meaningful learning experiences for the students.
Existing literature (Rahman et al., Li et al.) provides evidence for the effectiveness of gamifying the classroom. Rahman et al. found that the use of online gamification platforms, such as Kahoot! and Quizizz, improved students’ engagement and motivation throughout their semesters.1 Li et al. also found that gamification can enhance certain abilities, introduce objectives that give learning a purpose, engage students, optimize learning, support behavior change, and socialize.2 Gamification also engulfs the diversity aspect of learning, and its designs could promote more effective and inclusive learning practices. Overall, I believe that gamification is a great tool that should be incorporated in educational settings in universities across the world to enhance student engagement, motivation, and learning outcomes.
- Ab. Rahman, Rafidah, et al. “The Effectiveness of Gamification Technique for Higher Education Students Engagement in Polytechnic Muadzam Shah Pahang, Malaysia.” International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, vol. 15, no. 1, Dec. 2018, p. 41. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-018-0123-0.
- Li, Qiaoling, et al. “Evaluation of Gamification Techniques in Learning Abilities for Higher School Students Using FAHP and EDAS Methods.” Soft Computing, Apr. 2023. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1007/s00500-023-08179-9.
- Smiderle, Rodrigo, et al. “The Impact of Gamification on Students’ Learning, Engagement and Behavior Based on Their Personality Traits.” Smart Learning Environments, vol. 7, no. 1, Dec. 2020, p. 3. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-019-0098-x.