The word "game" in gamification can imply students are engaging in the trivialization of learning. Gamified learning can be difficult and challenging. Serious learning scenarios are undertaken within game spaces all the time in the military and business. Well-designed gamified learning activities can help students acquire skills, knowledge and abilities in short, concentrated periods of time with high retention rates and effective recall (Kapp, 2012). However, the most important reason to gamify is that it can make learning fun. The fun theory awards were developed to recognise innovations that help show that having fun is the easiest way to change behaviour for the better. Go to our blog to see three of the finalists; the piano staircase, the world’s deepest bin and the speeding lottery in action and decide for yourself.
Theories of Learning
Two theories of learning can be supported by gamification: social constructivism and connected learning theory. The Theories of Learning infographic, made using Piktochart, shows how elements of gamification can underpin motivation and scaffolding so students build a shared understanding of concepts. Although connected and socially constructed learning cannot be accomplished purely through gamification (Ito, et al, 2013, pg. 83), gaming elements can provide some of the design and structural tools required. For example, interest powered learning, a core principle of both learning theories, occurs when a topic is personally relevant to the learner. Similarly, good game design requires that the story and game world be meaningful to the players, and this can be addressed in gamified learning activities by using narratives that students are likely to encounter in the real world (Lombana Bermudez, 2013).
Gaming components such as leader boards and badges provide a visual representation of the student’s achievements, and these provide evidence of knowledge that contributes to a learner’s identity and sense of place within a connected learning peer group. Finally, the academic orientation of connected learning can be realised through mechanisms of gamified learning activities, with regular feedback allowing students to be guided by their teachers, and challenges or rewards providing links between the interest based and social based principles with academic achievement.
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Details of sources cited can be found on the References page