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Gaming At University

Heriot-Watt Gamification

Gaming At University

How Will Gamification Play a Key Role in the Future of Online Learning?

Education has always been willing to test new ways to maintain student engagement. Now research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, who claim that there’s been a decrease in the rate of students dropping out, down to 5.3% of students who began their first degree in 2019–2020.

This is the lowest rate on record, but there is a lot of other factors to consider.

Although we highlight this could be working from home (WFH), this was not identified by the universities.

We also recognise that the fees charged are still the same, so its quite likely that the students are enjoying Gaming “Whilst attending University” (Sic).

Keeping up engagement and having students actively enjoying their study can help to lower these percentages further.

The gamification of education, where you make learning more enjoyable and engaging for students by using game design features, could be the answer.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of applying concepts from gaming into teaching to better engage students. Videogames have emerged as a prominent form of entertainment for all ages, and what makes them enjoyable can be applied to learning environments too.

The idea of play being used as a learning tool has existed for a long time, with theorists like Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky in 1962 proposing there’s an important link between cognitive development and play.

Videogame design has plenty of appealing features with which to engage students. These range from complex environments that require decision making and problem solving to progress, to feeling confident to experiment and take risks to get a glimpse at all sorts of outcomes as a result. Story and narrative elements of games are also beneficial for keeping engagement consistent as they help increase investment into character and thematic developments.

There are numerous examples of gamification in education, such as an educator in the Houston Independent School district who created “quests” for their 250 students which were additional homework tasks. These students voluntarily completed 27,000 of them and saw a boost in student talk time by 300%.

Benefits of gamification

Integrating a gamified environment for learning into academic structures can offer students who may struggle with traditional teaching methods a new and improved option that could improve their learning and engagement. In fact, a study by ScienceDirect found that students who experienced a learning environment that blended traditional learning with play saw an increase in performance by up to 89.45% in some cases.

Online learning could see huge benefits from gamified learning as the tools and technology such as apps and games can be accessed remotely.

No matter where you are in the world, online study can be made more interactive to encourage more involvement with lectures or seminars.

The digital nature of the tools means you can track progress over time with greater ease than paper methods. Data from students’ assessment marks can be pulled into a document so the lecturers can accurately examine and feedback on how their progress and better understand what can be done to help further development on an individual basis.

All remotely which will keep the lecturers happy as well.

Looking to the future

With technology in a constant state of evolution and flux, it’s almost guaranteed that education will find more ways to integrate it into teaching strategies. Younger generations are being raised in a world of technology and apps so they should take to these new methods of learning with more ease than any that came before them.

If the evolution of gamification in learning continues and becomes a more widely accepted concept for lecturers all over the globe, the technology used for gamification could also develop into being more accepting of emerging technology. Virtual reality and the Metaverse is a topic of conversation in the tech world that could greatly contribute to the world of learning, with concepts of virtual classrooms that could transport students to digitally recreated landscapes in history through their VR headsets. Again, this would offer a more engaging and immersive way of learning than just reading from a textbook.

The utilisation of education technology during the pandemic, when online learning was required, increased teachers’ and lecturers’ confidence with using this tech. This has led experts within the sector to predict that the market will see a growth equivalent to a compound annual rate of 29% from 2021 to 2027.