Gamification is becoming increasingly popular as a learning tool. But whilst there is much talk on the subject, there is also a lot of misunderstanding. The most frequent of these mistakes is the assumption that gamification is about the inclusion of stand-alone games in elearning. It is not. It is about the using gameplay mechanics; that is the construct of rules and rewards that encourage users to explore and learn through the use of feedback mechanisms and awards.
There is no doubt that gamification can produce measurable results, if used properly. It provides students with opportunities to act freely, show competency, and work together. There are many visible benefits of using gamification within your elearning courses. Exponents talk about greater student engagement and improvements in loyalty as the learning process becomes more enjoyable. Others have noted the improvements in feedback, and resultant better influence over what the student is doing by using badges and trophies as rewards. Most commonly it’s reported that students spend more time on the course because, put quite simply, it’s more fun.
But amongst all these benefits, there are some out there who deny its potential. In short there are those who just ‘don’t get it’. Several scholarly articles have also been written about the drawbacks. They may claim that gamification doesn’t respect people’s individuality. They will note that it can be just a ‘sticking plaster’ over some deeper challenges. But I suspect that the real reason is that, for some people, rather than driving them onto to achieve, gamification just adds greater pressures to the learning process.
And there’s the nub of the matter. There are really two solid camps when it comes to using gamification in learning. Those who like the motivating challenge and those who can do perfectly well without it. All the other benefits and drawbacks are, in effect merely window dressing. You either get it or you don’t.
I find myself in the category of those who love it. I suspect that if, like me, you are the kind of person who already wears some kind of fitness band you’re almost certainly in the same category. For me my Nike fuelband which is one of the best keep fit tools I’ve ever had. It works because, for some explicable reason the results matter to me. I like to win the trophies it awards. I walk the extra mile to build my fuel points. I’m not sure why – and, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. The point is it works.
One of the great benefits of the new technologies surrounding Netex learningCloud solutions is the ability to build in gamification. Whether you are a trophy collecting, target aiming, ladder climbing competing type or not, it has to be accepted that many people are and love it. For that reason alone, there is no excuse for not exploring the elearning gamification opportunities that our new technology offers us.