Gamification to improve school performance: the importance of playing to learn

Education is undergoing a process of radical change in recent years.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
04 June 2023 Sunday 11:21
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Gamification to improve school performance: the importance of playing to learn

Education is undergoing a process of radical change in recent years. The way of teaching both the youngest and the adults, which had been maintained with few modifications for decades, is now facing an educational revolution that aims to avoid the old mistakes that until now had been repeated for generations.

Given these new ways of educating, one of the most interesting due to its possibilities is gamification, which consists of developing game activities in environments that are not only playful, but also learning with the aim of increasing motivation, productivity and satisfaction of children and adults.

The pandemic marked a before and after in the world of education, causing practices such as gamification to spread with proven effectiveness and have been targeted by educators and experts. The basis of gamification is the psychological principles that activate motivation and can include challenges, rewards and progress metrics.

The basic idea of ​​gamification is to turn the process of internalizing ideas into something fun and entertaining, without losing sight of the results. Gamification can also be applied in language classes and is very effective, since children play all the time. In fact, according to experts, gamification should be established in any language-related classroom or training, since it not only increases the motivation of the child or adult, but also their performance, productivity and teamwork.

Inés Ruiz is a teacher, with a degree in Translation and Interpreting, a postgraduate degree in ELE teaching and a Master's degree in e-learning and Neuroeducation and CEO of the ELEInternacional and Conversa Spanish Institute schools, and one of the great defenders of gamification: "It is a strategy very effective in motivating students and turning the learning process into something entertaining and meaningful”, he highlights.

For those teachers who want to start with gamification “the first step to incorporate it into the classes is to define the learning objectives well. For example, reinforcing vocabulary, practicing oral expression or encouraging collaboration among students”, details Inés Ruiz. The next thing is to "create a playful environment" turning "the classroom into a fun and stimulating game space".

It must also be taken into account that “an essential element in gamification are challenges and rewards. The teacher can propose activities that imply challenges or missions that the students have to complete" in order to "recognize the effort and their achievements through points, badges or symbolic prizes that motivate them to continue participating", highlights the specialist.

It should not be forgotten that gamification "can include competitive elements. However, it is crucial that the competition is friendly and does not generate negative rivalries," as well as "using monitoring tools that record student performance to identify areas for improvement and adapt teaching strategies.

But what does gamification offer that traditional education does not? Inés Ruiz makes it clear: "By integrating playful elements, challenges and rewards, a fun and stimulating learning environment is created that captures the interest of students and motivates them to participate actively in the classroom", with which " promotes meaningful learning in real contexts and through interactive experiences”.

With gamification “collaboration and teamwork are also strengthened” and “it allows activities and challenges to be adapted to the individual needs of each student, providing a more personalized approach and attending to their strengths and weaknesses”. In addition, "it transforms the evaluation into a training tool," recalls Ruiz.

Gamification is closer than we think, and for this reason Inés Ruiz recommends several apps to start with: “My favorites are Genially, Kahoot! and Canva, but if I have to stick with one, it's Genially. This allows you to create interactive and attractive presentations that can be used to design educational escape rooms ”, she highlights, while there are others such as Quizizz, Edpuzzle, ClassDojo and Socrative.

However, resorting to training is the best way to apply effective gamification that really allows our students to learn while having fun and strengthening dynamics such as teamwork.

The Postgraduate in Gamification and Gamification Techniques will prepare you to design memorable and attractive experiences for your users or colleagues using these concepts: Dynamics models, game design document, game mechanics and elements, flow and immersion, elements of Interest and the Rewards design.

On the other hand, with the most expert Master in gamification in games to educate adults, you will learn the fundamentals of training, and you will address issues such as education as a general framework for training, permanent education and education throughout life.

To specialize, you will be interested in the Master in Gamification and Transmedia Storytelling, which combines two complex areas such as gamification and transmedia storytelling, where a complete training program is provided, in which you learn about gamification, Game Design, transmedia environments, transmedia architecture, the reading experience of this type of narrative, psychology, dramaturgy and script, prototyping, or interactive design.