Game-based teaching to simplify the way students learn
Edutainment involves the presentation of learning material in an entertaining style.
Edutainment involves the presentation of learning material in an entertaining style. It includes learning through music, videos and games, numerous hands-on activities, and exploration of spaces outside the classroom. In recent times, an edutainment-based learning approach that uses game design and elements of games to create more appealing learning environments has become popular. This approach is known as the Gamification of Learning.
Gamification and its impact on learning
Gamification of learning can be defined as the incentivisation of the learning process using the aforementioned gaming components. For instance, on the successful completion of a task, the difficulty level of subsequent tasks increases and the learner climbs up the ladder to complete the challenges in the next level. Along with that, score points, competition, collaboration and immediate feedback are integrated into the regular teaching-learning process to maximise learner engagement and enjoyment.
How can gamification be implemented in the academic sphere?
The following are some suggestions to help implement gamification in the K–12 academic sphere:
• Game mechanics should be adopted properly to ensure the best results in gamified learning in terms of learner motivation. Badges and 5 stars score cards alone are not motivating or engaging enough for today's learners. Game mechanics involve combined strategies such as missions, leadership points, levels, achievements and rewards. For example, extra points can be awarded to students who perform exceedingly well or special rewards can be given to the leaders in a group activity to motivate participants. While incorporating such games in the academic sphere is a welcome move, educators need to be clear about the final outcome and how it will help students learn a subject.
• Educators should keep in mind the thought processes and capabilities of students of every age group. If the design of the activities is too complex for a certain age group, those students might be demotivated to participate. So, choosing the right game for students is very important. Also, facilitators must be involved in such challenges as such processes need 100% involvement of the facilitator to bring out the best learning outcome.
• Games should be directly related to the learning objectives. These objectives will define the kind of content and activities that are to be included in the learning process in order to meet the goals. The game mechanics need to be perfectly aligned with the objectives. An example of a learning game that has successfully achieved this is the Meerkat Maths HD for Mental Maths, a race-based multi-operational maths game, which helps improve participants' speed of mental calculations.
• Activity-based learning takes time to produce concrete results, and therefore, games have to be systematically made a constant part of the curriculum. This is also helpful as a gamified curriculum can bridge conceptual gaps via a recapitulation of the theoretical details of the concepts that a student might fail to apply, alongside audiovisual modules for further clarification. It also helps develop 21st-century skills in a fun and child-friendly manner. For example, Next Education has introduced Robotics Lab for students, which advocates for the gamification of learning. The lab curriculum is smoothly knitted with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education that help young students have fun while learning.
• Assessments that are gamified eliminate the fear of tests. They capture students' attention, provide simulated situations to train them in handling real-life scenarios and help them retain information better. Questionnaires can be prepared in a crossword-puzzle mode, or based on motifs of common games, such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman and Find-Your-Way so that students enjoy the process of assessments. While designing such games, facilitators must determine beforehand how much time such activities might consume and what the outcomes of such activities can be.
Implementing game-based learning is a decisive step towards transforming the overall approach of education. Earlier education was perceived as being devoid of enjoyment and entertainment, but with the introduction of game-based learning, this has changed. It can also help facilitators connect better with their students and motivate them to learn with more enthusiasm. Making game-based learning a part of regular classroom activity, implementing personalised teaching, assessing students on the basis of such activities and making efforts to keep parents aware of the approach and the idea behind it, can truly transform education into a fun-filled domain. Thereby, learners would look forward to learning not just for better scores but for happiness, excitement and personal growth.