EQ: What is the difference between Gaming and Gamification and why does it matter?
Gamification in Education is the process of transforming typical academic components into gaming themes, which is different from the usual act of gaming. It is an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. Gamification activities literally create a game out of learning by theming all components of your classroom in a game metaphor; make your class like one big first-person game.
Gaming is the act of playing game, these activities are often outside of an educational theme such as Fortnite, World of Warcraft, or Dungeons and dragons. Gaming is more of an entertainment activity. When I think of gaming with my kids I think of Candy Crush, or Skip Bo.
Gamification, however, is the process of defining the elements which comprise games that make those games fun and motivate players to continue playing, and using those same elements in a non-game context to influence behavior. In other words, gamification is the introduction of game elements in a non-game situation. The goal of educational gamification is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning.
With engagement being the key reason to gamify the classroom, consider:
- Gamification increases competition which can lead to engagement.
- Gamification involves creativity and student choice, which increases engagement.
- Gamification gives students immediate feedback (through peer feedback, progress bars, badges, teacher response, etc.) and allows them to easily track their progress towards academic goals.
Gamification is a great tool to use to improve the overall education experience for students. The most important indicator of a student’s knowledge attainment is engagement; the level of attention and personal involvement a person has with an activity. The more engaged your students are with the learning process, the more they will internalize the learned skills. Studies on gamification show that the use of gamification in the classroom increases student engagement.