In a world where so much has changed in such a short amount of time, seemingly every industry is struggling to keep up. One such industry is remote education, or e-learning, which has recently been put under a great deal of stress due to abrupt changes as a result of COVID-19’s inception and millions of children expected to learn from home.
For many online edtech platforms, and schools that have made the decision to adopt such platforms, there has been little notice given for these educational infrastructures to prepare for the influx of online users to meet full-time learning-from-home expectations. On top of these platforms coping with unforeseen technical issues, teachers are also being challenged to translate their lesson plans to be effective in this new kind of environment.
We recently wrote about solving e-learning technology challenges and the impact on online schooling, like issues with audio and video quality, bandwidth challenges, and a lack of child-friendly controls — to name a few examples. Whether a parent, a teacher, or a student, everyone in this learning situation is adapting as best as they can to new ways of approaching school during unprecedented circumstances. Technology, in general, has become an important piece of this puzzle as a way to help schools attempt to create some sense of normalcy and bridge the learning gap.
However, drastic times also call for new approaches to learning. Already, the world is seeing strides from teachers, schools, and remote learning platforms brainstorming and achieving dynamic ways of educating students from home. One particularly effective method of learning that has arisen with better technology is gamification — adding typical elements of gameplay to school lessons to make them more engaging, and effective, for students.
At Lineate, we realize the difficulties many technologies, and the people using them, are facing. With our decades of experience recognizing industry challenges and creating custom technology to solve them, our team of experts is well-equipped to help remote learning companies and teachers find better methods to reach and engage students in their new home-school situation.
Read on to learn more about gamification, its benefits, some examples, and how Lineate can help you get started integrating games into your educational environment.
Gamification’s Definition and Benefits
According to a recent report, the gamification market is expected to grow from $9.1 billion this year to approximately $30.7 billion by 2025. Gamification, in a general sense, is the idea of applying elements of game playing (e.g. scoring points, creating competition, following a set of rules) to a particular subject matter to make it more engaging. Gamification has been used across a number of industries, including digital marketing and sales, but has also seen useful applications in the education industry.
According to a 2018 study, almost 70 percent of students observed found “gamified courses” to be more motivating than a traditional course. And, a number of educators have shared anecdotal evidence that “games” in the classroom, whether online or in-person, can increase user engagement, influence behavior, and motivate participation in students. More than that, gamification can also provide instant feedback to the student and teacher, provide an ongoing dashboard of results to motivate the learner to improve, and help students absorb new information at their own pace.
However, to create impactful gamification both teachers and educational platforms need to have a clear definition and research behind what they’re trying to build and the outcome they want students to achieve. Creating a learning game takes talent, technology, and a clear goal. Additionally, to be effective the game needs to meet three basic gamification principles: Autonomy, value, and competence. Autonomy helps learners feel in charge of something, making them more likely to stick to something and stay engaged. Value means ensuring that the game provides value to the users’ life, such as making someone smarter, helping them memorize a lesson, and so on. Competence ensures that the user realizes that if they keep trying at the game, they can get better and, hopefully, learn more each time they try again. All of these elements are of utmost importance for platforms and classrooms planning to adopt gamification as a new method of learning.
More than that, there are additional elements required in gamification from mechanics (scores, ranking, dashboards, etc.), to dynamics (collaboration, competition, individual challenge, process, etc.), to design (character/avatars, roadmap, look and feel) and more, that are important to consider before starting a gamification project. Lineate has already worked with a number of educational companies, like Rosen, Safaribooks, and Voxy, to help them improve their platforms and enhance gamification activities. Given our team’s experience setting up online learning platforms for scale, uptime, resilience, and gamification, we can predict and understand which custom solutions are needed to help your individual company achieve its online education goals. But before we dive into how Lineate can help, let’s review some examples of successful e-learning gamification.
Examples of Gamification
For gamification to work it must be genuine, specific to your target audience, and simple. Especially for teachers working in K-12 online learning environments and adjusting to new e-learning settings, it is best not to over-complicate the learning game. When thinking of gamification initially, it is likely easy to picture video games, which can be extremely detailed in their design and, usually, quite complicated. In learning, gamification is a bit different and should be built in a simpler way. Teachthought.com provided a useful roundup of educational gamification examples, which can be employed with the right technology solution and team in place to build it. See a few generalized gaming methods to apply to an online classroom, below:
- Add a competitive element to the online classroom by turning lessons into class challenges
- Create levels and rewards for students after task or lesson completion
- Add a leaderboard or dashboard to showcase individual performance or weekly class performance (with prizes or bonus points, if you feel so inclined)
- Turn multiple lessons into a quest/journey with a storyline and digital checkpoints along the way
- Give out “learning badges” that students can earn throughout the year and collect in a digital trophy room
- Incorporate video modules, diagrams, and creative quizzes for students to participate in at their own pace
Some popular, real-world, examples of learning games include: Free Rice and Ribbon Hero. Free Rice is a free-to-use website that gamifies a user’s factual knowledge across different subjects. For each question that a user answers correctly, the company donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. Ribbon Hero, created for Microsoft Office as an integration, helps users, who are usually younger students, learn the popular software suite’s features through guided challenges in Powerpoint, Excel, Word, to help students become proficient Office users.
According to the teacher who wrote the teachthought.com article, he attributed gamification in helping increase his student's participation by 300 percent with 250 of his students completing over 27,000 “quests” (a.k.a. homework assignments) of their choice. The students this teacher served performed 1.39 times higher than the district norm in his first year of teaching and 1.82 times higher in his second year — a true testament to how gamification can increase participation and improve learning for students.
Remember, gamification can help create not only extrinsic motivation through rewards and competition, but can also be helpful in providing intrinsic motivators like skill development and autonomy for students. Especially when you create a game based on the target audience, you are also better able to gain feedback and personalize learning to improve the experience for students over time.
How Lineate Can Help
Lineate has experience building high-quality technology for a number of industries, including education, which has helped build up years of expertise to solve the new challenges facing educational platforms and teachers alike. For Rosen, an educational publishing company, Lineate was able to build out their global assessment engine, which schools have used as a tool for teachers to give and grade tests, digitally.
As noted above, gamification is a large frontier expanding to benefit all kinds of students, and teachers alike, both digitally and in-person. For the foreseeable future, schools will likely stay online and educational institutions will be looking for creative methods to engage students while providing effective lessons. Lineate can help with this challenge. Whether it’s building out your assessment tools to make them more game-based, adding a tracking and dashboard system for students to follow their progress, or building multiple gamified modules for learning, we have the tools and talent to do so.
Reach out to one of our product solutions experts for a custom quote and understanding of how Lineate can help you gamify your online learning environment.