Thoughts from a Millennial: Gamification of learning

Gamification will probably sound like a foreign word to you, if you’ve never touched a gaming console in your life. Yet, gamification is pervasive, and lies right under most of our noses—‘our’ referring to our generation of millennials.

“What? I don’t even game!” You might cry out in protest, but the truth is that you don’t need to know how to work a Wii Remote to experience the effects of gametization.

MConline is a company that branches across various platforms such as hardcopy books, directories, magazines, and also technology to reach out to students. Its online website—Mconline is extremely popular amongst primary schools in Singapore. Due to the standardized curriculum by the Ministry of Education in Singapore, MConline is an extremely efficient platform in which students from different schools are all able to access and utilise to make learning more fun. Through completing challenges and quizzes with interesting and well-designed graphics in the form of a game or storyline, students are more incentivized to engage in learning via other routes aside from the traditional pen and paper method. Recently, they’ve even developed the MCeMath and the MCLMS phone application for students to access on their phones while on-the-go. Most students would have had some form of experience to MConline in their primary school days, implying that the students of today would’ve been exposed to some form of gamification when they were as young as seven years old!

Another extremely common example of gamified learning is ‘Kahoot!’. Kahoot! is a free, game-based learning platform accessible to students and tutors by the web. Teachers are able to customize quizzes and add in graphics or videos of their own, and students are expected to take part in the quiz using their mobile phones. The quicker students click on the right answer, the more points the students obtain. The student with the highest points at the end of the quiz will usually be given a small item by the tutor as a reward for obtaining the most points. These extrinsic rewards further motivate students to continue with engaging in such games in the future. Through the competitive elements and the reward-point system of the gamified learning experience, students are more incentivized to engage in the game. Kahoot! is commonly used across secondary schools and colleges to make the lessons more interactive and fun.

At this point, you might be stunned. Or surprised. Or neither of the above. The main point being, gamification is practically everywhere, and it’s become increasingly popular. According to Technavio, the global digital education content market is currently valued at $36 billion dollars, and is estimated to be worth $54 billion in 2020. We don’t tend to think about gamification while we’re actually in the midst of playing the game, but gamification is becoming increasingly pervasive, and it has become a powerful tool for people all across different groups to make a traditionally boring task into something that is interactive, engaging, and fun.

Given the fact that it is still a relatively new concept in the world of technology, gamification still receives flak from critiques saying that the original intentions of the motivation to do tasks are lost in the pursuit of extrinsic reward. However, that is exactly why effective gamification needs to be carried out. It is a vital design-thinking process that will ultimately result in the creation of novel, exciting, and fun experiences that can re-design and re-invent traditional experiences, providing new meaning into various aspects of our lives, and it is something that we should all at the very least, be aware of, and understand.

Written by: Wong Shu Ning (TJC Intern)

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