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Gamification: What you can ultimately achieve by making learning fun

The chances are you’ll have heard of the term ‘gamification’ by now. The art of applying games-based elements to teaching; it was the educational technology buzzword of 2012 – and saw teachers both dive in with joy, and groan at the thought of games in the classroom, in equal measure.

But with 5 million people now spending an average of 45 hours a week on games, there’s no denying the game industry is big.

With leader boards, learning games and Open Badges, your VLE is the perfect starting point for employing a gamification-based learning strategy for your class. But with your learning platform as your starting point, how can you start to bring game-based elements into learning – and what can you ultimately achieve with gamification?

Get their attention

The idea of gamification was borne out of the fast-growing games market of the 1980s. Simple games began to take a more educational-based route, with real-life aspects becoming part of the gameplay. Before long, the idea was flipped – with game-like aspects introduced to learning.

With so many children and young people spending time on games, they’ll be completely familiar with how games work – what’s expected, how to succeed, and the subsequent rewards. Building learning into a game, or a gamified learning activity, won’t take long to explain – learners will pick up the basics almost instantly.

Giving them a medium they understand and recognise from the outset means they will be hooked from the word go.

The lure of Moodle’s Open Badges will soon get them working. A way of recognising and rewarding accomplishments, badge systems are already well established in computer games, and like computer games, learners will want to earn the most number of, and the most prestigious, badges.

As explained in this Mozilla white paper, the beauty of Moodle is they won’t be restricted to the classroom; on the contrary, anywhere, anytime access to their learning platform will mean learners are engaged for much longer periods of the day.

Moodle’s Open Badges can be used to recognise any achievement. They can be created by the school to give to students, and with each badge containing metadata – including what the badge is for, when the badge was given and who by – they can be carried all the way through the student’s learning life. Open Badges aren’t restricted to your Moodle either; they can be displayed on the ‘backpack’, ‘pinned’ to a student’s profile – but can also be added to CV, or displayed elsewhere online.

Improve collaboration

Key to your Moodle VLE’s survival is collaboration. Particularly back in the early days of the learning platform, many schools adopted this new, digital-age way of working but gave up on it within months. Simply, they struggled to understand and see the benefits of a VLE.

Aside from the fact that some schools adopted cheap imitations of the Moodle idea, but with half the features or functionality, just not enough people were using them. Just like any community, VLEs need multiple users actively engaging to keep them alive.

Think of how many games work: often in teams, a number of people working hard to be successful in any given task. With a learning platform accessible to students whether they’re at school, at home or at a friend’s house – basically, anywhere with an internet connection – learners will continue collaborating outside of the classroom to help reach their common goal.

As this case study explains, cooperative working is an invaluable skill when learners enter the world of work – and therefore gamification, through improving collaboration, is preparing young minds for real world problems and challenges.

So, collaborative working will improve the experience and success of your Moodle in school. And likewise, your learning platform can make collaborative learning much easier!

Watch grades go up

Kaplan University reported last year how implementing a gamification strategy paid dividends.

The American University wanted to improve pupil engagement and interaction with both their work and their fellow students. They decided to employ gaming techniques such as leaderboards, challenges, quests and badges to make learning more fun in the classroom, and found that bringing out students’ competitive streaks via their learning meant time in the classroom increased and, ultimately, grades went up.

In fact, after implementing gamification techniques, the failure rate actually dropped by 16%. Additionally, time spent in class was up to 10% higher than previously, and the number of posts on online discussions rocketed, too.

The idea of ‘do this, be rewarded with this’ is a strong incentive for learners to work harder – and with Moodle, you’re giving them the tools to be more actively engaged in a way of learning they enjoy.  

Plus, not only does gamification improve engagement, build collaborative working and ultimately help to improve grades, it actually helps to build better students overall. Placing students in a gamified real-life environment means they have to solve real-life problems. This is great for lateral thinking, and therefore expanding the mind, and helps a learner to apply solutions to different situations.

If you would like to see how Moodle and gamification can help engage your students more, please get in touch.

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