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The Gamification of Learning – Just What Is It Exactly?

 

Posted on Tue, 05/06/2012 - 13:15

Just last month we announced that an influential writer in our industry, Karl Kapp, had written and released a new book on gamification and learning and that Designing Digitally, Inc. was delighted to be featured in the book in several case study examples. It’s always rewarding to be recognized for our work in eLearning development, but we started thinking about it and realized that some of our readers may still not fully understand the concept of gamification to begin with. Gamification sounds like a serious topic, but what exactly is it?

Gamification, sometimes known as serious games or game-based training, is really not THAT new of a concept. Remember in elementary school when your teacher would get you and your classmates to split-up into two teams to compete to solve math problems on the chalkboard and the winning team would get a piece of candy? Or remember your school’s spelling bee and all the kids competing to win prizes for the correct spelling recitation of all sorts of esoteric words? That’s kind of what gamification is all about, but in today’s world there is far more technology involved for a much more engaging visual learning experience.

As we’ve become a more technologically advanced society, our games have kept pace with the times. Board games like Monopoly and Scrabble are still very popular, but video games played with Playstation® systems on televisions or using handheld gaming systems like Nintendo® have become hugely popular for solo gaming. Online gaming systems allow players who never meet in real life to compete against each other or to compete on the same team against other players – sometimes players across the country or even in other countries. Some of these games have become immersive – 3D worlds where players can walk and run and explore buildings and subways or jungles and forests full of threats as well as potential friends to aid them on their adventures. It’s a thrilling time for the gaming industry and a challenging one for parents, who must make sure their children are not spending too much time playing games and not enough time getting physical exercise or completing their homework!

As these students have matured and grown-up, it only makes sense to speak to them in the language they already understand when it comes to education and training after high school. This is where gamification enters the picture. With gamification, training for everything from emergency medicine and police defense to mass production and equipment and automobile operation can be accomplished in a fun manner that still inculcates educational value. Adding in contests and challenges to software-based learning using computers, often presented in an immersive 3D format, also serves to break-up the monotony that can accompany job-based training and even some collegiate education. Since statistics show that 70% of major employers already use interactive software and games for training, it’s really a “no-brainer” to use gamification for educational training purposes.

Designing Digitally, Inc. specializes in eLearning development, including gamification strategies for education and business purposes. We’d love to assist you in your next training development project, so feel free to request a free quote on our services and we can go from there.