Gamifying Education

From getting clean to being green, organizations are using gamification to accomplish their goals. But which industry has the most to gain by gamifying? The answer has become quite clear: Education

About a month ago, a co-worker shared with me that his son’s kindergarten teacher started using ClassDojo, a gamified service for behavior management.

The service enables teachers to setup tasks for students to complete – everything from being on time to helping others. Then, students get points for completing each task.

“Each night [my son] begs us to check online to see how he (and his classmates) performed,” my co-worker explained.

For a five-year-old who’s grown up with games, it’s not difficult to see why the service was working.

Gamification is being used in higher education too.

Pennsylvania State University has created an entire platform for gamifying learning. Professors who want to use gamification can have applications developed on the University’s Education Gaming Commons.

Chris Stubbs, the university’s project manager for the program hosts a variety of learning games created for specific courses.

One of the games, “ChemBlaster” turns monotonous memorization tasks into a bubble-shooter style challenge.

And gamification can stretch beyond the college years too.

Sites like Stack Overflow and Quora use gamification principles to engage users to answer other user’s questions for gamification-style recognition.

So what does gamified education accomplish that traditional education doesn’t?

It’s all about motivation.

While most of us desire to gain new knowledge, it’s sometimes tough to push ourselves to learn. (How many papers in college did you wait to start the night before they were due?)

Gamification pushes to power through the parts of learning that usually cause us to procrastinate, become demotivated and ultimately fail. When done correctly, it dispatches a spark to start and delivers the extra juice we need to finish.

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