Learning through games is not a novelty. Most of us growing up in the early 90's and thereafter, resorted to legos and puzzles to fuel curiosity and develop cognitive skills. While the 'play' was instrumental in creating adaptability and engagement, we were oblivious of its intrinsic impact on conventional learning. Two decades later, we have transitioned into a world where gamification is driving the growth of education in India. There is a renewed focus on integrating gamification into standard curriculum to alter the way students learn and create a more immersive experience for them.
By definition, gamification is the process of infusing gaming principles to non-game situations to gratify the users in a fun and engaging way. First coined in 2003, this approach is aimed to motivate learning, appeal to users' inherent curiosity and lead to increased focus on the task at hand. Not to forget, its potential to turn something monotonous into an engaging affair. Levels, points, badges, awards, quick feedback, time limitations, challenges, contests, avatars, leaderboards, and rankings are some of the components and dynamics that make up a gamified system. This pedagogical approach gained further popularity in K-12 classrooms in the last two years, serving as a gratification for students to get more intrigued about their subjects and work harder.
As the world confined themselves into homes owing to the global pandemic, multiple businesses including education were compelled into a digital makeover. Tech based solutions not only made it easier for educators to facilitate transfer of knowledge but it also enabled the students to have a more personalized and engaging experience, right within the comfort of their homes. With online education platforms increasingly deploying innovative methods to declutter and sustain engagement with their users, gamification is gaining prominence as a tool by tapping into the innate human cravings for fun, competition and achievement. Owing to its gamification system, Brainly has been growing strongly for over a decade but the newly introduced gaming elements have proved further effective in keeping students engaged and making their experience fun while they are learning on the platform.
With over 550 MN people aged below 25 in India, there lies a huge potential for the Indian edtech sector to tap into and expand. The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also advocates replacing rote learning with innovative and experiential methods that can deliver high-quality education. Hence, gamification in education has immense potential to spiral upward in the near future. Here are a few reasons why -
- Makes learning fun and interactive - Inclusion of elements such as interactivity, badges, scores and leaderboards turns educational lessons into an interactive and immersive activity that calls for fun and increased motivation. Owing to its inherent nature of competitiveness and achievement, gamification makes learning an interesting challenge instead of a chore, thereby letting the students take control of their skill sets and in the process, witness holistic development.
- To Err Is to Learn - Fear of failure is innate to learning. From school grades to higher education to competitive exams, it often induces shame and concerns amongst students. However, gamification urges students to make reattempts and continue pursuing their academic goals. This factor, in turn, helps students sustain consistency, interest and determination in education as they progress through grades and subjects.
- Increases attention span - Given the plethora of resources available for learning, students are often defined by limited attention spans. For some students, traditional learning methods can be tedious and it becomes difficult for one educator to impart quality learning to all pupils at once. However, infusion of interesting and engaging elements in training modules keeps them continuously occupied by incentivizing him to study more. The game's 'leaderboard' function helps pupils stay on track throughout the learning process.
- Facilitating infotainment - Gamification can make complex subjects simpler by using tools that make it easy to understand. Students can grasp knowledge about tough questions or gain concept clearance through online learning thereby interacting with other players and winning points. By reducing the monotony of conventional education, gamified modules not only impart valuable information on all key topics but also facilitate better retention.
- Foster healthy competition - Competitive spirit is entrenched in gamified education. Irrespective of their varying level of competencies and capacities, team based competition balances skill levels of different students in a group enhancing social learning and fostering a bond of unity. Features like leaderboards and certificates assess students based on their performance against each other and encourage them to continue the stages of learning to earn the top spot. This inculcates in students a sense of consistency driving them to do their best at every instance.
- Badges boost motivation - Badges in gamified learning can be as simple as virtual ribbons, stickers, or prizes that a student earns for the completion of modules or tasks within the topic. Badges give students a sense of completion as well as a sense of authority, as they are a tangible symbol of the student's achievements. In a recent gamification test on the Brainly study app, over 1 lakh students were awarded achievement badges like "Gratitude Attitude" and "Numbers Nerd.". Brainly discovered that gamification resulted in 13% more completed answers per student and around 82% of students felt inspired to continue learning.
With over 250 million students and a diverse formal educational system, the Indian education sector is now incorporating technological advancements such as virtual reality, augmented reality into traditional learning to make it a more holistic experience. Technological improvements in education are laying the groundwork for a strong educational foundation. If implemented in the right way and as a supplement to mainstream curriculum, gamification has the potential to completely alter how students learn in this country. It has come a long way in recent years, with various players employing the feature to make students' experience more engaging and it's about time more and more educators put it to work making education more collaborativ