Free eBook – How Gamification Reshapes Learning



No Game, No Gain!

Dedicated Learning Professionals and Educators across the globe were until recently desperately seeking for ways, methods and techniques to engage employees and students in the learning process. Surprisingly enough no one would think that gameswas the answer. After all, games tend to increase learners’ natural desire for competition, goal achievement, and genuine self-expression, while they also promote interactivity, have rules, a quantifiable outcome, and can be colorful, appealing, and extremely realistic.

Enter Gamification

Gamification is the use of game thinking and mechanics in a non-game context to inspire employees and students to get engaged in the learning process. The word itself was launched in 2002 by Nick Pelling, a British IT expert, but wasn’t widely used until 2010. Based on extended research conducted by numerous educational institutions, what makes games effective for learning is the learners’ level of activity, motivation, interactivity and engagement. This increases their fluid, as well as crystallized intelligence, something that by definition optimizes learning.

The Most Effective Uses of Gamification in Learning!

In this Free How Gamification Reshapes Learning ebook you will find useful information about Gamification, its applications, and impact on the reshaping oflearning, provided by 23 Gamification professionals. They were all carefully selected based on their specialized knowledge on Gamification, education and business, as well as their innovative projects in this field. They share their wisdom and provide tips on the effective use of Gamification in the learning process.

Enjoy reading the 2nd of our recently launched free Learning eBooks series and feel free to contact our top-notch Gamification professionals for more information.

Christopher Pappas

Christopher Pappas

Founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network. Currently, the eLearning Industry has a network of more than 75,000 professionals involved in the eLearning Industry.

Christopher holds an MBA, and an M.Ed. (Learning Design) from BGSU.

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What are the most effective uses of Gamification in Learning?

In my view we always learn better when the experience is FUN. As a trainer, I often used games to illustrate behaviors and to bring home important points in a training session. What I found is that how we do one thing is how we do other things too, so our choices in a game very often reflect how we would behave in a real life scenario.

Where possible, I convince clients to put their learners in the driving seat and then build decision points in a learning experience based on relevant situations and choices with the same instant feedback as you would receive in a game. For example, in a recent eLearning workshop on environmental awareness, I created the choices the learner could make and based on each choice they had different consequences; some staff followed procedures, some got fined and a rare few would end up in jail for serious law violations.

A great game typically has a compelling storyline with a plot where the player becomes the main protagonist and hero on a journey through a number of challenges. I believe this is where learning meets a combination of Hollywood and multi-player online game. You need a good plot and a series of lifelike challenges for the learner with increasing levels of difficulty.

I am currently scoping a simulation for media planners in the television industry, where the learner becomes a media planner with an increasing portfolio of advertising to place in the TV-schedule based on rules and regulations of the company, how it was sold by sales team, as well as the industry standards. The journey and choices you make could have you promoted to specialist, generalist, team leader or in the worst case scenario fined and fired. By introducing different challenges with increasing levels of difficulty you mimic the learning curve of a new employee and options the employees really have to make. The added bonus of an in-company game is that you can play against your colleagues and even your managers, which adds the psychological driver of peer pressure and team fun with visual scores and leaderboards.

Gamification in learning works best when you make the learner think and you let them experience the consequences of their choices.

What are the most effective uses of Gamification in Learning?

Increased user retention is key to any effective application of Gamification. When users remember the learning material, apply it to their real lives, and come back to learn more, you know your project has been successful. This is the ultimate achievement for any educator or business professional looking to take full advantage of Gamified training.

Our team at Designing Digitally, Inc. has had the opportunity to work with an extensive variety of clients, and whether our clients are business professionals or are attached to a university or government agency, they all are looking for ways to ensure users take what they’ve learned away with them and apply it to their daily lives. Through my own experiences, I’ve found that the best way to achieve a project’s learning goals is by leveraging the benefits that game mechanics provide, particularly mechanics that promote social interaction and competition.

One of my favorite examples of this is from our own team’s work. Using Gamification and the Microsoft Kinect, we developed a tool that enables patients recovering from strokes to practice relearning the skills they’ll use at home. By simulating the actual tasks they will perform in a safe virtual environment, they are able to return more easily to their usual daily routines. All of this is wrapped up in an immersive, engaging platform with a competitive social scoring system where users can earn badges and compare their performance to both to their own past results and to other users’ results.

Gamification can transform your material into something meaningful that users will carry with them long after they’ve finished your training. Try it out in your own projects. I guarantee the results are worth it.

What are the most effective uses of Gamification in Learning?

Besides the learner audience engagement and development of target behaviors through the power of gameplay, the most effective uses of gamification in learning should capitalize on its ability to transform the learning process. To be considered transformative, gamification efforts must produce a high-impact positive change for a given learning environment instead of making it “just a little more fun” for the learners.

When I think about transformation, I always remember a project for a Navy client who asked my team to explore the potential of incorporating gameplay into an existing leadership training program, or, in other words, “gamifying” it. Considering that back in 2007, the term gamification had not yet gained the popularity it enjoys today, our project officially focused on creating a serious game to foster leadership skills of junior officer staff. The produced serious game was based on a collection of “sea stories” illustrating real-life leadership challenges and included a healthy combination of narrative, challenge, meaningful choice, achievement, and other great elements of gameplay. The game was very well received within the Navy and even earned several awards, which made my team extremely happy. However, what mattered most was the fact that, by way of this game, the existing learning process (jokingly referred to by our Navy friends as “GSAT: Guys Sitting Around the Table”) was transformed into a compelling, context-driven, self-reinforcing learning experience that allowed the learners to explore a multi-dimensional slice of reality instead of simply reviewing a case study book. In today’s terms, we would say that the existing learning process became “gamified”.

Whether gamification is viewed as a set of strategies, tactics, or products for learning, its most effective uses will always be those that enable a significantly positive change to meet the needs of a particular learning environment.

What are the most effective uses of Gamification in Learning?

In our day and age where distance education participation is emerging, new methods of increasing learners’ interests are in high demand. The recent development of gamification meets this need, and has captured the attention of not only learners, but also of institutions seeking to increase user participation and retention. Gamification is a trend expected to expand, especially in the use of teaching those with learning disabilities. I, myself, have Attention Deficit Disorder and along with other people experiencing the same issue have reacted positively to courses with gamification elements. Those of us who suffer from ADD or ADHD can get easily distracted from learning, because it can become a monotonous practice of regurgitating the information learned. By adding engaging elements to educational material, gamification significantly helps in capturing the attention of those that have a hard time focusing on learning in a normal setting. Not only is information retention increased, but adding these elements creates a positive association with learning, which is very difficult for those with attention disorders. I believe that in the next few years there will be a need for adding gamification elements to learning for those with various learning disabilities.