Gamification in learning entails the use of video game design and various game elements to capture the interest of the learners and motivate them to continue learning (Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011). Therefore, gamification has a significant influence on teaching and learning in the following ways. First, games in the classroom increase the fun and joy in students. Gamification is all about interaction, and it will be successful when students interact by playing games. The students will compete, form groups and enjoy the fun of playing games. Second, gamification provides students with ownership of their learning. Students can choose the time and frequency to play games since they are aware of their proficiency. Therefore, gamification provides students with self-directed learning opportunities and control of their gameplay. Similarly, students will use their logics and generate idea to complete or participate in games. The more time a student spends to answer the questions correctly, the more points he/she is awarded.
Third, gamification influence learning and teaching by making them visible and assist students to develop a positive attitude. The students can learn the concepts of by physically participating in playing games. Also, games playing alter the attitude of the students and increase their confidence when being thought certain subjects such as mathematics. Fourth, gamification provides the students with an opportunity or freedom to repeat the assignment or task after failing without negative repercussions (TED Talk, 2010). Students can make various mistakes and see the outcome of their mistakes without fear. Lastly, gamification provides educators with ideal tools to guide and reward the students. The teachers can award badges to students when they perform a particular task well. Similarly, points can be awarded to students who provide accurate results and present good reports.
Gamification directly affects motivation. It has been used to influence and encourage specific student’s behavior and increase their motivation to engage in a learning process. Through gamification, students are encouraged to perform certain actions. For example, motivating students to practice network design will increase their skills. Also, motivating them to memorize the concepts repeatedly can increase their knowledge. The two types of motivation include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation entails people being motivated to do something because of the outcome or the external reward. Therefore, for extrinsically motivated students, they will not enjoy learning new concepts but they are motivated to continue learning because they would like to get good points, marks or praise from teachers. Intrinsic motivation encompasses behaviors that lead to internal rewards (Domínguez, et al., 2013). Intrinsically motivated students will have positive feelings and will genuinely enjoy the learning process. Gamification will motivate the students by providing extrinsic rewards for completing particular tasks. Similarly, teachers would like to intrinsically motivate the students; however, extrinsic rewards may de-motivate the learner.
Different students have diverse ways of understanding the concepts. Differentiated learning entails ensuring that different students are provided with learning avenues that satisfy their needs. Students will be provided with teaching materials, content and assessment measures to ensure they learn effectively. Gamification in education has the potential to increase students’ performance and activities. A gamified learning Avenue presents experience to different students with different strategies and traits. It is important for teachers to understand how their students learn in a gamified learning environment so that they can adjust to new gamified courses to meet the needs of different students (Renaud, & Wagoner, 2011). Highly achieving students are always at the forefront of attaining their academic potentials. However, underachievers are always affected by emotional problems, non-traditional learning style, hearing impairment and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Gamification supports visual learning whereby the games immerse the learners in a visual experience and allow them to solve problems. For example, when playing portal, the teacher will instruct learners to use visual-spatial learning to interact and effectively navigate the game (Domínguez, et al., 2013). Kinesthetic learning style entails learning through experience and demonstration or practice. It physically involves the player or student in gameplay where the student will physically move the whole body or hands-on experience. On the other hand, auditory learning involves digital games that have audio directions and voice-overs. The auditory elements such as sound and music give hints and clues for students to incorporate while playing the games. Lastly, gamification supports reading and writing whereby the student preferred information is displayed in words. For example, teachers can use Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) to support gamification and enhance the writing fluency of the students. Reading is used as a critical learning modality while writing is mostly used in games for communication or providing answers.
Technology and gamification motivate students and enhance teaching and learning. Badges are being used to award students who have completed a task and attained good outcome. Students are required to watch instructional videos and complete the assigned tasks. They are awarded points and badges to encourage them to continue learning and also for tracking their progress (Renaud, & Wagoner, 2011). Similarly, teachers have moved far to add more value to the badges by involving bonus points and skill levels.
Play sheets are examples of games that allow learners to practice what they learned in class by playing on a device. Students can play either in or outside of class. The content in the worksheet have been converted into games, and they include items such as sound effects, progress bar, badges, fun graphics, pop-up messages and story lines. In playsheets, the students are asked questions, and they receive negative sound effect for a wrong answer and positive sound effect when they answer the questions correctly. Also, when a student is in a progress of attaining five correct answers, a smiley face, and a green check mark is shown. The sound effects allow the student to gauge his/her progress and determine whether he/she is on the right or wrong track. It motivates the students to continue learning and attain more marks. Also, Quia is a website that contains games such as Battleship and Jeopardy. The teacher can use the website and type the worksheet questions into the respective templates and create games for his/her students. The students can use Quia to find their teachers, play activities, take quizzes and also view their results.
Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011, September). From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification. In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments (pp. 9-15). ACM.
Domínguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., De-Marcos, L., Fernández-Sanz, L., Pagés, C., & Martínez-Herráiz, J. J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education, 63, 380-392.
Renaud, C., & Wagoner, B. (2011). The Gamification of Learning. Principal Leadership, 12(1), 56-59.
TED Talk (2010), Gaming can make a better world. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world
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