Online education and e-Learning have become popular as more providers, such as leading universities, institutions, and companies, have launched online courses and educational services. Since then, using online elements and tools to implement online courses has become common. “Gamification” is a new approach that is quite often adopted nowadays. Gamification differs from other tools that penetrate e-Learning, as it is all about making education and learning fun!
This article aims to explain how online education or e-Learning works and how Gamification has become a promising solution to some of its problems and made the whole process entertaining.
So if you want to know how this happened and what is happening, we’d like to tell you the story of e-Learning and how Gamification is supposed to help it achieve its goals.
E-Learning and what you need to know about it
E-Learning, which became widely available after the COVID-19 pandemic, is a form of learning that uses electronic technologies to facilitate the education process. It has grown to rely heavily on Learning Management Systems (LMSs) in the past decade.
On the other hand, technologies are learning tools, like pen and paper, and can be applied to various situations to improve learning quality. These tools can be online or offline, with distinctive uses for learners and instructors. They can also come in different forms of media.
E-Learning resources include Learning Management Systems, programs, websites, electronic copies of class materials, and activities to do before or after a lesson. It also uses simulations, interactive tools, and technologies that significantly impact the learning process, like online practice, interactive videos, Gamification, simulations, and wikis.
But what exactly is “Gamification”? And how does it affect the e-Learning industry?
Gamification in online courses
Gamification is applying game design principles and mechanics to non-game contexts to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. In other words, Gamification adds game-like elements to a non-game activity, such as education. The concept is based on the idea that people enjoy playing games and that using game mechanics can make learning more enjoyable, resulting in better learning outcomes. As a result, engaging and motivating learning toward achieving educational goals has become increasingly popular in recent years.
In a nutshell, Gamification makes the learning experience entertaining, which keeps the learners more focused and engaging, thus encouraging them to collaborate and compete.
To achieve its main purpose and be incorporated into e-Learning, Gamification uses game elements and digital game design techniques such as points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards to make tasks more enjoyable and engaging to promote learning and solve their educational problems. In addition, these items can create a sense of competition among users and encourage them to engage with the material and complete assignments.
How? Here are some examples of using different types of gamification through the e-Learning process:
- Badges: This is one of the most common forms of Gamification in e-Learning. Users are awarded badges and achievements for completing tasks or reaching certain milestones, such as completing a module or scoring high on a quiz. These badges serve as a form of recognition and motivation, encouraging users to continue their progress and achieve more.
- Points and Leaderboards: Points and leaderboards are another popular forms of Gamification in e-Learning. Users earn points for completing tasks or answering questions correctly, and the leaderboard displays the top performers in the course.
- Scenarios and Simulations: Scenario-based learning involves presenting users with real-world situations and challenges to solve. Simulations can replicate real-world experiences in a safe and controlled environment.
- Role-Playing Games: Role-playing games, or RPGs, are another popular form of Gamification in e-Learning. In an RPG, participants take on a fictional character and progress through a storyline by completing quests, battling monsters, and earning rewards.
- Adaptive Learning: Adaptive learning is a form of Gamification that uses data to personalize the learning experience for each user. The system adapts the learning content and pace to suit the student’s individual needs and abilities, providing a tailored learning experience optimized for their learning style.
By incorporating game design elements into educational activities, e-Learning can become more interactive, enjoyable, and effective. In other words, Gamification encourages users to achieve their goals while having fun.
How Gamification affects e-Learning
Online courses can be gamified through Gamification Platforms too. These platforms use game mechanics and game design techniques and integrate them with the educational content and provide users with rewards, feedback, and recognition for completing the course tasks.
A recent study (Jincheul Jang et al., 2015) that has explored the effects of Gamification on online learning notes that keeping the learners motivated in online courses is challenging and that Gamification helps “elevate the user’s engagement” with the learning system. The observed result of this study shows that “the game elements, such as points, levels, avatars, and time pressure, can improve the overall effectiveness of an online learning system” and that “depending on the user characteristics, different game elements can alter learning outcomes.”
Gamification can be applied in many ways; these are some of the items:
- By adding gamified elements, Gamification incentivizes learners to complete their coursework and keeps them motivated while having fun!
- By providing a sense of accomplishment and recognition when tasks are completed, Gamification helps increase the user’s engagement. In this method, when users progress and become more experienced, they can compete with one another for higher scores or achievement levels.
- By creating a sense of togetherness among team members since they all work towards a common goal.
- By helping companies encourage employees and build morale. Companies can use Gamification to incentivize their teams by providing rewards for completing tasks, reaching goals, or meeting deadlines. This can help boost productivity and morale within an organization.
Regarding what was mentioned, the Gamification of online courses benefits learners and instructors designing the courses. Using this method, learners can:
- Set a pace for themselves in their education,
- Stay engaged with the course material,
- Pinpoint and focus on areas where it is needed and maintain their incentives for a more balanced and interactive learning experience.
On the other hand, the instructors will have time to:
- Meticulously design class material,
- Craft various types of tests and exams,
- Review the class martial based on the feedback,
- Provide the learner with feedback on their progress,
- Support the learners.
A User Scenario: Gamification in schools
An excellent example of implementing Gamification is applying it at schools. Here the popular approach is to use storytelling to create a narrative that engages students and helps them understand the material more memorably.
This can involve creating a virtual world where students can explore and learn or incorporate characters and scenarios that relate to the content being taught.
Gamification can also personalize the learning experience, allowing students to work at their own pace and difficulty level. In addition, adaptive learning platforms can use data from student’s interactions with the material to create a customized learning experience tailored to their needs and abilities.
Gamification can be a powerful tool in online learning, helping to create a more engaging and effective learning experience. By incorporating game mechanics into educational activities, e-Learning can become more interactive, enjoyable, and effective, leading to better learning outcomes.
It is good to know that Gamification is now used in various fields, such as education, marketing, healthcare, and employee training to improve user engagement and motivation. Through it, users are encouraged to explore an environment while learning new skills and completing tasks for rewards.