The Gamification of Learning

Playing games in the classroom, be they of a cooperative or competitive nature, is a wonderful way in which  to increase student engagement and motivation.

 Admittedly, the simple act of saying, “Okay kids, so now we are going to play _________ games,” magically heightens “the happiness/alertness factor” in the classroom.

 & so … why do I believe in “the gamification of learning”?

Alphabetically speaking, games involve/embrace the following:

  •  Active engagement
  • Challenges – ongoing & ever present
  • Challenges – often very “cool”: i.e. “Save the world”, “Save the Prince”, “Climb the mountain, cross the ocean, etc.” with the implied understanding that as a player, “You can do it!”
  • Clear goals – players learn to “follow instructions” as they morph and become increasingly complex over time
  • Co-operative learning or friendly competition – choose the “type” that appeals to individual students
  • Developing strategies – skills acquisition
  • Fun – it’s a game! 😉
  • Goals – clearly laid out, increasing in complexity as the “user” becomes more proficient/adept
  • Immediate feedback  – players know exactly where they stand relative to personal goals and/or to other players
  • Levels –  playing & learning are levelled according to individual strengths and needs
  • Practice – often repetitive in nature as well – with the goal of achieving “mastery” in order to reach the next level
  • Problem solving – let’s learn “how” and in new ways …. students are able to “try out theories” and take risks, to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills in a safe, fun environment
  • Progress – attainable goals; visible; rewards 😉
  • Risk taking – players learn to take calculated risks in a safe environment
  • Role-playing – creativity – Students choose who or what they want to be – a unicorn? a wizard?  yourself?
  • Skills acquisition through a clearly outlined process.

 … & so there it is – alphabetically speaking – the “the gamification of learning” —- just one among many of the “cool” approaches to learning – one that engages students as active learners.

(Please note: I am grateful to all those who have spoken and written before me on this most entertaining and effective teaching strategy … I tip my hat to you … for your ideas and input — for these are surely not all my own but, rather a co-operative process.)

 Cheers,
Ally

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