5 Rewards & Benefits of Gamified Learning

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Our society somehow has been conditioned to imagine that a child seen fiddling with a mobile phone is a child going to waste. How often have you heard someone blurt off-handedly, “Oh, look at that child fixated on that gadget, she’ll surely have developmental problems!” These sort of baseless attitudes towards technology, and children’s interaction with technology, needs to be nipped in the bud, firmly and surely. Far from being a distraction, technology can and must be harnessed to give an unmatchable advantage to boost your child’s overall personality development. Let’s take a look at the rewards and benefits offered by a technology driven learning methodology, specifically gamified learning.

1. COGNITIVE ABILITIES

The seemingly simple game of Clash of Clans requires the player to dedicate available resources to build, develop as well as fortify her village against attacks from rival villages. She learns how a well thought out layout of the village can be the difference between defeat and proud success. Your child inadvertently learns the essential skills of organization of limited resources and planning towards developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals. Such games allow players to navigate levels and tasks with gradually increasing difficulty and skill, thereby increasing the players’ cognitive abilities. [1] Your child becomes a veritable city planner just with the help of a simple mobile game!

2. EMOTIONAL TRANSFORMATION

Games invoke a range of powerful emotions, from curiosity to frustration to joy. The deceptively unassuming, but maddeningly tough, Flappy Bird draws the player in by presenting the apparently simple task of keeping the bird afloat and navigate through obstacles by just tapping the screen. The game can only be conquered by repeatedly failing to keep the bird flapping. Educational games can help establish a positive relationship with failure, which is a necessary part of learning. Students see failure as an opportunity to learn more, instead of becoming despondent or overwhelmed. Gamified learning can help bring such dramatic emotional transformation in children with respect to the issue of failure. [2]

3. SOCIAL CREDIBILITY AND RECOGNITION

Games that implement leaderboards to entice competition among its players come with the added advantage of giving the players the opportunity to showcase their skill and knowledge through the game. How many among us can resist the urge to brag about our countrywide rankings in QuizUp on our favorite topics? More than just awarding such brownie points, educational games provide social credibility and recognition for academic achievements, which might otherwise remain invisible or even be denigrated by other students. Recognition can be provided by the teacher, but gamification can also allow students to reward each other with in-game currency, such as badges, medals, leaderboards, etc.[3]

4. POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS MATHEMATICS

A much dreaded, dry subject such as mathematics, constantly derided as “full of repetitive problems, formulas, and exams” can be specifically made fun by incorporating games in the curriculum, according to research from Deakin University [4]. “More kids were able to articulate positive emotions surrounding math, as well as an increase in confidence about different concepts. There was more energy for math, more motivation, and ultimately more success. It seemed that playing math games helped to alleviate the tediousness of repetitive problem solving.” Games add value to math education by dividing it into smaller, simpler, fun and engaging tasks while multiplying the rewards at each step by accruing points, medals or badges, minus the tedium associated with it. (All puns purely intentional)

5. KNOWLEDGE ABSORPTION AND RETENTION

Games have been shown to improve the knowledge absorption and retention as per Karl M. Kapp in the book The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education, which goes on to say “gaming uncertainty can transform the emotional experience of learning improving engagement and, more importantly, improving encoding and recall” [5]. This much would be self-evident to everyone who has ever given an exam when the favorite and time tested way to recall tough to remember concepts is the simple game of mnemonics – the pattern of letters to represent a phrase or collection of words.

When presented with such compelling reasons on how incorporating games in the curriculum can benefit the wholesome education of your child, adopting a positive attitude towards gamified learning in today’s tech-savvy world seems like a no-brainer. As your child navigates study through play, take pride not just in the improvement in grades but also in the intangible rewards of marked uptick in your child’s self-esteem, confidence and positive attitude towards learning.

References:

  1. Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother? by Joey J. Lee, Jessica Hammer, Teachers College Columbia University, NY – https://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/resources/upload/Lee-Hammer-AEQ-2011.pdf
  2. Children’s Perspectives on Mathematics and Game Playing by Leicha Bragg, Deakin University – http://www.merga.net.au/documents/RR_bragg.pdf
  3. Book: The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education by Karl M. Kapp – http://www.amazon.in/Gamification-Learning-Instruction-Game-based-Strategies-ebook/dp/B007XA3ME6/

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