The education process is long, complex, and… often boring. Games and game-like features have been there for a long time to add some fun to learning and make knowledge more digestible. “Gamification” may be a new term, but the approach itself isn’t groundbreaking. However, if you take any advanced E-learning app or website, you’ll see a whole new world of engaging, entertainment, and education. This article discovers the essence, the working principles, and the main advantages of gamification. It also presents the most exciting and efficient gamification examples in popular education apps.
Table of contents
Gamification isn’t Just a Game
Best Gamification Examples in Education
Gamification for Everyone, Everywhere
Gamification isn’t Just a Game
Games, Game-Based Learning, and Gamification
The word “gamification” has emerged in our vocabulary in recent years, and due to the rapid growth of digital technologies, it developed strong bonds with products like an app or a website. Today you can notice gamification examples in the spheres like Education (Schools and Corporate Training), Marketing, Healthcare, Social Projects, and many more. It’s important, though, to see the difference between gamification and a game. While we play games simply for enjoyment, the aim of gamification (in education and other fields) is to engage people in certain activities and encourage them to achieve specific results. There is also the term “game-based learning.” It’s a special type of game designed for education rather than merely for fun. In some cases, it can relate to particular examples of gamification, but usually, they are different things. So, what is gamification in education? It’s a technique applied to any non-gaming activity to make it exciting, interactive, engaging, and appealing. Gamification in education is intended to:
- attract learners and get them involved in activities;
- change their thinking and behavior;
- motivate everyone from a long-term perspective.
Gamification is essential in mobile learning apps for kids, youth, and adults alike. This industry has been growing and developing since 2010, and over 800 major companies have already launched gamification projects for various needs. Are you, too, planning to improve your corporate training system or to start an education website for students and teachers? Knowing what gamification exactly means will help you recognize and select the approaches, features, and tools to meet your audience’s learning needs.
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How does Gamification Work
If you want to gamify your education app or website, you need to understand what “game thinking” is. Game thinking is a specific approach that uses the mechanics and the aesthetics of games while designing something different – for example, mobile or web resources for education. The critical point here is to apply specific strategies and rules to encourage, guide, challenge, and praise users. When your product (an app, a website, a course, or a single lesson) is gamified, it means that everything looks engaging and functions like in a video game. The common elements of gamification in education include:
- visual design;
How does gamification work for an education website or an app?
- It creates motivation for learners to complete each task and a whole course.
- It builds their confidence as levels become progressively more complex.
- It encourages learners not to be afraid of failure. Positive feedback here is essential. A carefully crafted education app gives them space to try again and grow.
- It develops both individual and team-work skills.
- It gives instant feedback after each task, demonstrates learners’ results in real-time, and rewards them for hard-earned success.
- It works as a guide for learners on every step if they’re stuck.
If you look at gamification examples on various platforms, you’ll see that it’s possible to implement this technique in two major ways:
- Content gamification – changing content significantly, e.g., by creating a story or mystery inside of it; users enjoy going through the exciting content rather than just reading the material;
- Structural gamification – applying game mechanics without altering the content itself, e.g., creating quizzes and challenges, encouraging competition, giving points and rewards, etc.
There are also examples of how designers and developers can combine two types of gamification in one solution. One of such examples is an award-winning game Lifesaver for practicing CPR and other life-saving skills. The game uses the first-person narrative and combines an exciting storyline with classical gamification techniques like points, levels, unlocks, etc. You can gamify an education app (or an education website) using any techniques that will work for your audience. The results can be valuable for students, employees, and other kinds of learners.
Benefits of Gamification for your App or Website
Gamification in education serves multiple purposes when it comes to teaching students or training employees. School education:
- Create engagement and motivation to learn.
- Make the process interactive and fun.
- Improve learning skills, as well as absorption and retention of knowledge.
- Teach how the real world works – there are rules, and each decision has consequences.
- Foster healthy competition and encourage self-improvement.
- Teach psychological practices, e.g. how to be resilient to setbacks.
- Increase creativity.
- Teach teamwork and collaboration.
- Reduce stress.
- Increase motivation to work. (According to the Gallup stats, about 70% of employees don’t feel engaged. However, if a company uses gamification, workers’ motivation increases up to 45%.)
- Prevent burn out, procrastination, and underperformance.
- Improve productivity.
- Develop specific skills for a job.
- Increase motivation to achieve goals.
- Encourage creativity, initiative, and responsibility.
- Provide a sense of belonging to a team.
How can you gamify an education website or an app? There are many ways to apply gamification features to a digital platform. Let’s look at the most efficient examples.
Best Gamification Examples in Education
Games, Quizzes, Missions, and Stories
Storytelling is one of the most exciting gamification examples. People love a good story, and this approach is effective for kids and adults alike. Stories will create the right mood and motivation for users of your education app, and they will more actively participate in activities. Even reading theoretical material becomes more accessible if it’s presented as a story. Stories in gamified software become more thrilling if they use hidden questions, mystery-solving, etc. Quizzes of all kinds help in testing learners’ knowledge and challenging their skills. Games are essential for having fun, reducing stress, and creating motivation. An education website or app becomes more captivating if it allows playing educational games and taking part in other, more challenging activities. Missions or Challenges are crucial when it comes to gamification in education. These parts of gamified design provide new exciting opportunities, test knowledge, help build skills, and encourage specific behaviors.
Points and Levels
Educational websites and apps give users instant feedback. It’s one of the excellent examples of how gamification is implemented in E-learning software. With points and levels, you grant users measurable and meaningful targets. As a result, they become much more motivated and begin using your app every day.
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Progress bars are excellent gamification examples. They aim to encourage a special kind of thinking. Progress bars are the interactive trackers showing information that learners need the most:
- milestones (what’s already achieved);
- future targets;
- possible badges to earn;
- different learning paths to choose;
- option to revisit previous levels.
Progress bars are crucial for building learners’ engagement and motivation. People will love your education app if it makes them feel the purpose of what they’ve already done and the appeal of future achievements.
There are various types of learners, and some of them can be most productive only when competing with one another. Gamification in education is effectively using this quality of the human brain. A leaderboard should apply clear criteria that define:
- how many points a user earns for a specific activity;
- how the users’ progress is recorded;
- how the points affect each user’s rank on the board;
- how a user can get on the list of top performers.
Rewards and Badges
How do you make sure your learners finish courses and develop specific skills? Giving rewards and badges is one of the many creative ways of gamification in education. It’s equally important to provide team and individual tasks so that learners practice various skills and behaviors. Badges and rewards are most useful when your app gives different types of them for specific tasks, depending on difficulty levels.
Learners should be rewarded not only with abstract points but also with something they could really use and enjoy. Course currency is one of the most exciting gamification examples of how to increase users’ motivation. Learners can earn virtual “money” and buy more options – e.g., Unlocks (exclusive multimedia materials, quizzes, or games), Customization (users can have individual changes to their avatars, profile design, etc.)
Gamification for Everyone, Everywhere
5 Best Gamification Apps and Websites for Students
Let’s explore examples of engaging education apps and see why they work so well for learners. Gimkit – provides quiz-building tools for teachers on different subjects. Gamification features in this app include scores, team and individual competitions, in-game currency, and customization. Duolingo – is the world’s most popular language-learning website and mobile app with 38 languages and over 300 million users. This is one of the classic examples of how gamification can be applied to education. The app uses XP (experience points), individual goals, progress bars, notifications, and an “Immersion” space where you can practice your translation skills and proofread other learners’ work. Kahoot! – teaches young learners vocabulary, geography, and multiplication by using interactive games with multimedia content like sound effects and YouTube videos. Users play in teams or individually and receive points for their success. Classcraft – is the perfect example of gamification showing how you can combine a video game storyline with learning material. Students choose avatars, get “superpowers,” split in teams, and play to get social and learning skills. The website also uses rewards and punishments, a stopwatch and a timer, missions and quizzes. BookWidgets – helps teachers create interactive lessons using various digital templates like webquests, bingo cards, quizzes, worksheets, etc. Learners can use them on all types of devices. The website allows giving points for any activity and keeps statistics of each student’s performance.
5 Best Gamification Apps and Websites for Employees
If you’re looking for gamification examples in the corporate sphere, here are some interesting apps. SoloLearn – aims to provide a gamified experience for users who learn how to code. Along with lessons, it has challenges, competitions, a leaderboard, and a playground where coders demonstrate their skills to receive feedback from a community. Blinkist – works as a gamified education app for reading professional literature. It’s helpful for busy people who learn on-the-go. The app collects non-fiction books and summarizes them for users to read and digest the material in only 15 minutes. There is also a scoring system aimed at making a reader feel incredibly productive and smart. Sales simulator by Elucidat – is a good example of a scenario-based approach. The app uses work related-situations and creates a competition to teach salespeople quick, target-driven reactions. Strides – helps users to create new healthy habits, track their productivity and increase work motivation. The app uses features like statistics, calendars, and a scoring system. Forest – provides excellent gamification techniques to help in improving job productivity. A user “plants a tree” every time they need to stay focused on a certain task. Leaving the app before time means “a tree dies.” Users gain in-app coins by “growing trees” and staying focused on their jobs, and those coins can be spent on customization or donated to actual tree-planting organizations.
Gamification in education has always been important for boosting motivation and engagement. Whatever ways you choose to implement gamified features in your app or website, please keep in mind that everything should be used with purpose. If you find the right strategy and the experienced technical team, your end-product will have all chances to become popular with the learners. Would you like to know how gamification can upgrade your business? Contact us
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