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Gamification: can learning really be fun?

We all know that sometimes learning is not fun; it may involve hard work and not be an easy process with plenty of ups and downs. Tons of information is available on the internet, in books, and scientific articles. As a result, we can quite easily feel overwhelmed. Moreover, learning never really stops – we cannot truly see the end and conclude that we really know something, because there is always something else unknown.  

 

The first thing that we may lose while learning is motivation, and from that point on, we may be less engaged. 

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Enter gamification, which can make our life as learners maybe not easier, but at least, more pleasant. Motivation and engagement – these are key elements to any successful game. Also, each game has a defined goal and clear boundaries, all of which makes progress perceptible.

 

Gamification

 

Games can make students think beyond the subject, and increase their interest in different aspects of an issue. Narratives and characters within the gamification scheme can help elicit creativity and make students try on new identities and roles which are impossible back in the real world. Games give students the opportunity to see themselves achieve progress through a series of levels, and students get rewards and feedback immediately. Games bring the joy of competition, the fun of “unreality” and feeling of a flow (Olson, 2010).

 

Furthermore, games are usually a free problem-solving course, because there is a task and you have to find a solution by your actions. Gamification projects offer learners the opportunity to experiment with many things such as rules, emotions and social roles. They grant students freedom of expression and the joy of achievements.

 

However, gamification has its fair share of critics. Gamified learning might seem less serious than traditional learning, students may experience issues of failure and teachers’ resources are usually limited.

 

Games for learning

 

If we look at a typical school system, someone might notice that it is organised based on a gamification rules: there are also assessments and levels (students complete their tasks and advance to the next grade after accomplishing their goals). “However, pupils more likely would not describe classroom activities in schools as playful experiences. Probably because the existence of game-like elements does not mean directly the existence of engagement” (Lee & Hammer, 2011).

 

Is it because our chocolate is just not enough to cover a huge piece of broccoli? I will explain, but let’s examine the terms first.

chocolate broccoli GiLE

Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (Deterding et al., 2011, p.10).

 

Meanwhile, “serious games are games primarily focused on education rather than entertainment” (Miller et al., 2011, p. 1425).

 

Of course, the terms “Chocolate-covered broccoli” or “Edutainment” have also been bandied about to describe some educational games. Mainly those who use such terms are talking about those cases when the entertainment element is poorly integrated into educational one and it leads to the erroneous conclusion that learning cannot be fun

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Author:

Ekaterina Beglova

Article Writer & Content Contributor

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The opinions expressed in this article/publication are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of GiLE or its members.

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