We live in the information age and this means that the traditional methods of learning are a bit outdated. Yes, there are plenty of obvious benefits to your children attending a conventional, brick-and-mortar school, but learning has now become more than simply listening to lectures and completing homework pages each night.
This shift from conventional learning methods also means that it can be more difficult to get children and teens to stay interested in the educational material, especially if all that is being put in front of them is a textbook or worksheet. Rather than pining for “the good old days” when kids were happy to read from textbooks, parents and teachers should be forward-thinking and look for ways to keep kids engaged and excited to learn.
One of the best ways to do this is through gamified eLearning. By utilizing this particular technique, instructors are able to harness the technology that kids are most interested in and turn it into a learning tool.
What is Gamified eLearning?
The idea of gamification is simple. It takes the typical elements of playing a game, such as points, competition, rules, and rewards, and it applies them to other types of activities. This can be seen often in online marketing, but it is also an incredibly useful tool for things like productivity and e-learning as well. By turning something into a game, it automatically makes users more likely to become engaged and remember the information being provided to them.
This is particularly effective for helping kids and teens retain the lessons they are being taught. Kids are used to a near-constant level of stimulation and excitement thanks to smartphones, tablets, and computers, so the best way to keep their attention is to capitalize on that.
Gamification does not mean that the material is watered down or made easier, nor does it mean that the students are simply playing a game. In fact, applying game mechanics to lessons that might typically be dry and difficult can actually make learning hard material less stressful. If the material is given to the students as a gaming challenge, they are far more likely to stay engaged and attempt to find creative solutions to the problems set in front of them.
Gamification E-Learning Examples
There are already quite a few online resources that apply the idea of gamification to their learning materials. One of the most popular types of gamification in e-learning is teaching a foreign language.
Understanding a new language often means a lot of dry vocabulary lessons and tedious repetition, which can quickly become boring. Instead, language software companies provide interactive, colorful lessons that award points, offer minigames and even have leaderboards for users who achieve high scores. All of these things foster excitement and engagement with the material. This leads to much better information retention and a higher likelihood of the student sticking with the subject.
Another great gamification e-learning example can be found in a few of the open-source, “citizen science” projects available online. These programs are able to take some extremely important concepts, such as gathering data about wildlife or the night sky and apply elements of gaming to encourage people to participate and learn more about the world around them. These types of projects allow researchers to amass incredible amounts of data that they would otherwise never be able to gather in one lifetime, and they provide incentives like name recognition and teamwork to keep participants engaged and excited.
There are also many examples of software companies taking important historical events and creating immersive experiences that kids and adults alike can participate in and learn from. Many e-learning tools of this variety allow users to take on detective roles. This allows them to explore historical settings and solve riddles in order to piece together a rich, dynamic story that gives the users in-depth knowledge of the historical period the game is based in.
Gamification and simulations can be used for job training as well. Some businesses and schools use virtual reality simulators to let medical students or skilled trade workers practice before entering real-world situations. The same concepts of scoring and decision-based strategy still apply, but these types of programs allow students to practice and safely learn from their mistakes in order to build confidence and competency in their chosen field. Giving students an opportunity to have an immersive, hands-on experience in a completely safe environment helps learners develop the critical thinking skills that will lead them to creative solutions when faced with similar situations in the real world.
Gamification is the Future of E-Learning
As the year’s progress, our society’s use of technology will only increase. Digital experiences will become increasingly more immersive and realistic, which means that more and more of our learning will happen through computers or simulators. Because of this, the shift towards gamification in e-learning will only become more pronounced.
Gamified e-learning is not a trend or a passing fad; it is the future of the learning environment.
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