Many people would agree video games are fun. It might be the social aspect, the feeling of accomplishment when hitting goals or targets, or making it to the next level. Whatever your reason might be, what if school could be just as fun? What if we could combine the elements of video games with school to allow us to create a hybrid education system where gaming is used to make a fun learning environment for the students. These elements include: having a narrative, immediate feedback, game elements that are fun, “scaffolded learning”(with challenges that increase as time progresses), mastery (similar to leveling up in a game), progress indicators (point system, leaderboard, etc.), social connection, and player control.
Benefits of Introducing Gaming Elements
One can argue that there are many benefits for students by introducing gaming elements to their learning. Some of the arguably more important benefits are a feeling of inclusion due to social elements. It can also lead to helping aid cognitive development in adolescents such as eye-hand coordination and increased memory retention. Some educators feel that there is an increase in the level of engagement within the classroom, which in turn helps with accessibility in the classroom. One might argue that the gamification of education is equally beneficial to both students and teachers.
Update to Learning Styles
We now know that there are many different ways to learn; however, the education system has been teaching the same way for a long time. If this last year has taught us anything, it is that students and teachers have learned to deal with adversity and have been forced to think outside the box. Some students are still learning virtually, and others have decided to attend virtual schools permanently. In Florida alone, the number of students attending virtual schools increased from 42,260 students to more than double in 2020-21 with 91,485 students. With more modern ways of learning, like gamification, it may lead to a more efficient and improved system for the next generation.
Increase Interest in STEM
Gaming is a great way to learn difficult things. The University of Oklahoma, for example, helped develop a game to teach calculus. Difficult courses such as calculus and programming are reasons why students end up switching out of science, technology, engineering, and math programs. Therefore, gamification of those hard subjects could be a great way to increase those industries.
There is no denying that the purpose of games are to make something fun and there is probably no better way to learn than by approaching it with a positive mindset. Through gamification, students can not only develop core concepts, develop important life skills, and have fun all at the same time!