Using Gamification to Amplify Learning and Engagement!
What is Gamification?
Gamification is the incorporation of game design elements and principles in non-game contexts with the objectives of increasing productivity, understanding and engagement.
According to ESA’s (2013) Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry, over 58% of American’s play video games spending over 20 billion dollars in 2012. Gamers share specific characteristics, according to Jane McGonigal (2010) which include urgent optimism, social fabric, blissful productivity, and epic meaning. As a result, when playing these games, individuals feel hopeful and empowered when playing video games.
However, these sentiments do not translate to real life scenarios. Gamers often feel they are inadequate in comparison to how they perform in games. Individuals may feel frustrated, depressed and overwhelmed. In addition, gaming provides instant gratification which as we know is a quality often lacking in day to day life. This is where the concept of gamification comes into play.Kevin Werbach (2012) , a gamification expert, has identified the following components as integral to gamification:
Achievements (defined objectives)
Avatars (visual representations of a player's character)
Badges (visual representations of achievements)
Boss Fights (especially hard challenges at the culmination of a level)
Collections (sets of items or badges to accumulate)
Combat ( a defined battle, typically short-lived)
Content Unlocking (aspects available only when players reach objectives)
Gifting (opportunities to share resources with others)
Leaderboards (visual displays of player progression and achievement)
Levels (defined steps in player progression)
Points (numerical representations of game progression)
Quests (predefined challenges with objectives and rewards
Social Graphs (representation of players' social network within the game)
Teams (defined groups of players working together for a common goal)
Virtual Goods (game assets with perceived or real-money value)
How We Are Incorporating Gamification in the Classroom:
According to Hsin-Yuan and Soman (2013) the process of incorporating gamification into the classroom can be defined as follows:
I recently worked with one of our PE teachers to gamify his Grade 10 PE Class. He had the idea to format his fitness unit into an an American Ninja Challenge.
You can see an example of an American Ninja Challenge here:
We designed an activity which starts off with students identifying important characteristics of an American Ninja athlete. Students will then design their own character based on identified characteristics of an American Ninja Athlete such as flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.
Students have the opportunity to “level up” their character through the course of the challenge through completing different quests. Students will create their own avatar and work through quests using the platform Classcraft (link).
In addition to the online platform, students have their own in class leader board in which they can update their daily progress.
The following are slides used to introduce the American Ninja Challenge:
The unit will culminate in a final American Ninja Challenge in which students will complete a physical obstacle course given advantages based on their “level ups”.
Gamification can greatly increase motivation and engagement in students. As students are utilizing their free time playing video games, by incorporating elements of gaming in the classroom, teachers are creating context and content that students can relate to and understand.
Association, E. S. (2013). Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. Retrieved from Entertainment Software Association: http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2013.pdf 7 TED. (2010, March 17). Jane
Hsin-Yuan, W., & Soman, D. (2013). A Practitioner’s Guide To Gamification Of Education. doi:https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c1df/e1970305f257b08a9f2b9844b346452eb869.pdf
McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE1DuBesGYM
Werbach, K. and Hunter, D. (2012). For the Win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Wharton Digital Press. Philadelphia.