7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (3rd and final episode)

Welcome the third installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in learning, and how to improve the problem of focus.

Welcome the third installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in learning, and how to improve the problem of focus. 

This week, we’ll be giving you the scoop on our final 2 smart ways through which you can make learning more engaging and fun with gamification. If you’ve missed out on our earlier tips, don’t fret! Keep up to speed here with our first and second posts respectively.

Tip number 6: Focus

urlFocus on the content, design, process, and pedagogy. Technology is just an enabler here. Gamification channels focus by automating important functions of the learning agenda. For e.g. A self-serve gamification platform like Gametize lets you manage the game flow, point system, levels, and rewards for the benefit of user engagement. It also manages the platform technology for learners to act upon (quizzes, passcodes, taking photos), freeing up your time and expertise to focus on delivering quality learning content.

The user analytics and metrics provided allow you to narrow down and focus on what problem areas you’d like to improve on specifically. The issue of engagement in learning, for instance, is linked to the problem of knowledge acquisition. Gamification can work to solve either of these issues, but starting small with what area you’d exactly like to improve would be of great benefit to you in the long run.

Tip number 7: Repetition 

motivation-feedback-action-loop“Practice makes perfect”. The wisdom underlying this adage is that repetition allows learners to apply or test what they’ve learnt, gain feedback on their performance, and re-apply their newfound knowledge.

The intrinsic human need for self-improvement will encourage the learner to measure proficiency and iterated improvement by completing the same quiz, questions and practical tasks. Here, repeated tasks can be made less monotonous by exercising some creative license with wordplay, or a simple change in context. Another way is to introduce varied feedback, e.g. in the form of badges, to reward the user for repeating the same activity.

Voila, and bearing in mind I just advocated for “repetition”, here is a quick recap of all seven deadly tips to make a killing with engagement in learning with gamification!

1. Applying gamification is not the same as making a game. The former fulfills the problem of engagement without distracting the learner from his/her true learning objectives.

2. Give timely feedback to let learners know where they are in their learning journey, and the next steps they should take moving forward.

3. Empower your learnersTheir involvement in their own learning process ensures that learning becomes proactive.

4. Capitalize on social dynamics to add weight to a learner’s personal achievements

5. User experience trumps everything. Always keep the motivations of the learner in mind.

6. Focus your energy on creating a comprehensive and effective learning program for your class or audience, through use of technology.

7. Encourage repetition to reinforce learning by encouraging your learners to constantly reapply their knowledge, and gain feedback.

If there’s only one lesson that you can take away from this series, gamification is a strategy to bring fun, engagement and clever design back into otherwise tedious activities in life, not a means to escape from them. At the heart of the matter, you’d want create a truly meaningful learning experience for your audience or class, one that expands beyond the classroom and into the larger experience of learning. Cheerios, and have fun making fun!

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This blog post is the third and final installation of our weekly 3-part series,  7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification. We’ve based this series on our whitepaper, Corporate Learning: Making it work with Gamification. If you’d like to receive a copy of our white paper, please go to http://gametize.com/game/secretlibrary.

Missed out on our first 2 posts of this series? No worries! Read more about our first and second posts respectively.

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This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (Part 2)

Welcome the second installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, you’ll learn about the benefits of user empowerment, how to leverage on social networks, and the fundamental importance of user experience. 

If you have seen my previous post sharing two tips on improving learning with gamification, welcome back! Else, hello there, its not too late! I’ll be discussing three more smart ways that you could use gamification to simplify any learning agenda, and boost engagement with your class.

Tip number 3: Empower your target audience

Can you recall some of the *worst* learning experiences you’ve ever had to sit through? Such experiences were probably  felt mechanical, rigid, and offered absolutely no room for growth. To summarize: they were downright b-o-r-i-n-g.

Boring

Bringing empowerment back with gamification ensures that learning doesn’t fall into the trap of being a one-way street. This can be introduced through simple but effective means such as allowing your students to gain access to learning material when they wish, respecting different viewpoints offered and truly listening to their feedback. You should also look to integrate methods such as these into existing learning systems for greater engagement in the long-run.
By valuing your students’ contributions, learning becomes a proactive endeavor that’s much, much more enjoyable for everyone.


Tip number 4: Capitalize on social dynamics

Social networks lend considerable weight to the feedback we receive. For instance, badges earned by employees through Deloitte’s Online Leadership Academy act as both a sign of personal achievement, and of an earned business credential. For this reason, the badges earned proved very useful to showcase on professional networks such as Linkedin.

badgeville-behavior-platform_SCREENSHOT_Thu Feb 28 00-16-35 MST 2013

The figure illustrates a user’s profile, showcasing their progress levels, points and achievements. 

To weigh in on the power of social dynamics, make sure to draw clear parallels between your learning material/ agenda and a greater collective culture and its aims. This could be to meet a certain business objective, or helping your students achieve a particular social goal.

Tip number 5: User experience trumps everything

Creating a winning user experience requires a keen understanding of your target audience, and an acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone is motivated by the same things, and that everyone learns things in a different way, and at a different pace.

Optimize your learning agenda by introducing a measure of flexibility into activities and procedures. Do this by catering to multiple motivations and suppling your learners with a range of rewards so that they always feel included. For some, the value of gamification could be as simple as giving them a clearer picture of their learning progress. Others may derive enjoyment from social features that lets them discuss their views with their peers and mentors.

Well, dear reader, that’s all for this week! Do tune in for our final installation next week, where i’ll be telling you more about our last 2 tips to gamify learning: creating focus in the classroom, and the importance of repetition.

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This blog post is the second installation of our weekly 3-part series,  7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification. Next week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in game-play, and how to improve the problem of focus. Seeya then! 

Missed out on our first post? Read more about it here!

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This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (Part 1)

professor

Welcome to the first installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! In this post, you’ll learn about the fundamental differences between gamification and games, and the importance of giving timely feedback to your audience. 

Learning anything can feel like a bitch of an uphill battle, for anyone. Lucky for you, we’ve got the perfect solution! That’s because it’s simple, and most elegant in its delivery. See, that’s the beauty of gamification. Simply put, gamification works because it gets straight to the heart of what motivates people, finds out what sticks, and uses it to mould a fun and effective experience. So if you’ve ever had a tough time learning anything, or need to create an effective learning experience for an audience… Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll be sharing with you 7 smart ways for you to apply gamification for learning for your student audience. Feel free to apply them however you see fit, but remember this: the gems of gamification shine brightest if applied correctly, and intelligently.

 

Tip no. 1:  Applying gamification is not the same as making a game.

The key thing with gamification is to understand what motivates your audience, and to correctly apply elements found in games (points, challenges and levels) to pique interest and keep them on their toes. On the other hand, games (read: Candy Crush/ Flappy Bird) simply aren’t optimized for the learning agenda. In the virtual worlds that they create, it’s easy for users to get distracted by all that flashy, gimmicky jazz that technology has to offer. Sooner than you’d expect, users have been led far off the learning trail and into a dizzying pursuit for special powers and extra lives.

Candy-Crush-3

For an effective learning experience, an intelligent application of gamification will work to keep your campaign fresh and fun, while staying true to the aim of acquiring knowledge.

Tip no. 2: Give (timely) feedback

Feedback acts as the fundamental navigational tool that tells us where we currently are, and what we’d need to do to get to our desired goal. Acting on timely feedback also provides users with a sense of moving forward, and some mastery over their learning journey.

An effective gamified learning experience should offer your learners immediate feedback on whatever actions they’ve just accomplished, be it answering a question or offering a suggestion or two. Points-based interfaces can also be used to reward your learning audience for their effort as well as performance.

feedback-loop (2)

 

Well dear reader, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about our first 2 tips for gamifying learning. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this fun and highly informative video detailing the benefits of gamifying education, courtesy of the Extra Credits team, after the footnotes below.

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This post is the first installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With GamificationNext week, I’ll be giving you 3 other tips; the low-down on the benefits of user empowerment, leveraging on social networks, and the fundamental importance of user experience. Stay tuned! 

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This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

Gamifying Education With Grand Theft Auto

Grand theft auto

Suggesting Grand Theft Auto as a model for gamifying education sounds like suggesting Satanic rituals to increase church attendance. But the other day I found my five-year-old son playing Grand Theft Auto III on our iPad. The Grand Theft Auto series, from Rockstar Games, is one of the most successful video game franchises in history, and probably the most controversial.

I heard news reports about its anti-heroes, prostitutes and cop-killers long before I played it. But my son, who speaks Spanish, wasn’t seeing the dark side of the game. He was simply driving cars through a detailed, open-world system until he crashed, then running until he found another car to drive. (Actually, he had to eject the drivers, but he didn’t comprehend this as stealing.)

What interested me, however, was that while he was driving a radio station was playing music, DJ banter and sarcastic ads. I realized if he drove around long enough he might learn some English. Maybe not the right kind of English. But what if the radio stations were teaching elementary vocabulary and grammar?

There’s hope in the gamification community, and within the progressive educational community, that gamification might be the magic bullet to rescue our abyssmal K-12 schools here in the U.S. But the record so far of educational gamification has been as disappointing as the New Math. While I do believe gamification will eventually become a natural component of most schools, we may also have to keep changing vehicles until we find one that doesn’t crash.

In fact schools have always relied strongly on one gamification element: grades. And grades are great motivators. The problem is they are also de-motivators. And if grades are such a great predictor of achievement, why are teachers opposed to being tested themselves?

Grand theft auto

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 left pretty much everyone behind except test companies. The imposition of national standardized testing has resulted in short-term cramming rather than long-term learning and, as Steven Levitt discovered in Freakonomics, to cheating by teachers and administrators worried about losing their jobs, or their schools. This is one of the worst examples of gamification in education. Gamification should increase student and teacher engagement and make teaching and learning more fun, rather than be a stressful distraction.

Children are both the easiest and hardest audience to capture. Easiest because their critical faculties are immature. Hardest because they have no patience. They aren’t going to give a video or a book or a class a chance – it has to grab them right away and hold them for the duration.

In terms of gamification children are stubbornly resistant to efforts to manipulate them. Adults will be patient or polite, but if kids don’t like what’s being offered them, they won’t participate, they’ll turn off.

The problem with most educational games is that they are produced by educators, not game designers. Or the game designers are hamstrung by the curriculum. So what you end up with are a few game elements superimposed on a boring course. Children see through this right away.

A better way to gamify education, I think, is to do it backwards. To design or appropriate first-rate games, then gamitize the educational component. In other words, create or license games that grab and hold a student’s attention, like Grand Theft Auto grabbed my son. Then look for ways to layer on the math or English or whatever you want to teach. They won’t even know they’re learning, which is often the best way to teach. Like the luckless pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto, these future students won’t know what hit them.

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This post was contributed by Mark Schreiber, guest writer
Mark Schreiber is a full time novelist since graduating high school at the age of 15. He also engineered his sister’s bestselling writing career and started and run several businesses, including a solo medical practice. He’s currently interested in technological entrepreneurship in Singapore and Silicon Valley.