Gamification and game-based learning are two terms that are increasingly becoming popular in the education world. While they both sound quite similar, they are not exactly the same.
Gamification is the process of applying certain game elements to a learning situation not related to gaming. The elements can be anything, such as points, competition, badges and others. For instance, a student can be rewarded with points for consistent good behaviour in the classroom. Similarly, a student can get negative points for picking up a fight with a classmate. Thus, students can be encouraged to behave well and follow all the rules by bringing in this process of gamification in the classroom.
Game-based learning is all about enhancing the learning process by incorporating games into it. Unlike gamification, here there is an actual game and that game is used for either teaching a particular skill or for teaching some content to the students. It takes them into a virtual world where they are allowed to make mistakes and learn as well.
Unlike what some feel, game-based learning is not a new concept. Games such as chess have been used in the process of learning since time immemorial. Like they say, playing chess improves strategic thinking in students. So, in a way, they get to learn a particular skill while playing it.
Now, let us know more about why schools need game-based learning, or in other words, let us know more about the benefits of game-based learning!
1. Engaging and motivating for students
The biggest problem that a student faces is to stay engaged in a boring class. No matter how important the topic is, if the students don’t find it interesting enough, they would lose concentration within fifteen minutes. Introducing games into education takes away this boredom and students are motivated to go deep into the topic. To put it simply, game-based learning is actually fun-based learning where the students sometimes don’t even know that they are learning more on a tough subject-matter. It’s all fun and plays and by the end of it, they also get to learn new things. From their memorization techniques to their use of creativity, everything can be worked upon and improved with game-based learning.
2. Develops a number of essential qualities
Book-based learning can teach students the content inside. It can help them gain knowledge about several important concepts. However, game-based learning, along with helping them gain knowledge can also develop certain essential qualities in them, such as self-control, patience, better focus and determination. To become successful in life, all of these qualities are as or even more important than bookish knowledge. Also, multi-player games help them to improve their communication skills and make them more confident as individuals.
3. Increases a child’s cognitive abilities
When students play these educational games in the class, they need to constantly remember certain rules and also the sequences. If they don’t, they know they will lose the game. So they try to pay as much attention and remember everything as perfectly as they can. This easily increases their memory power in the long run. Also, while playing, they need to take certain decisions at different points in the game which improves their decision-making skills as well. They become more equipped for solving problems later in life. It also boasts their presence of mind and they learn to see the world far more creatively.
4. Helps them to work better in groups
Many of the educational games played in class are played within or among groups. For a child to be a part of a group and to be able to play alongside them, he/she needs to know how to get along well with everyone. Thus, it develops the spirit of brotherhood and the sense of belonging to a community within them. It also makes them more socially confident and they aren’t so afraid to converse with new people they meet anymore. Social skills are a must for everyone to succeed in life and by allowing game-based learning in class, schools prepare them for social interactions right from the very beginning.
5. Students get to know where they stand
Game-based learning lets the students know where they stand in the class. With this kind of learning, they get immediate feedback and they don’t have to wait for days to know how they fared in the game. Thus, they are easily able to understand where they went wrong and where they made the right decision. It also enlightens them about their weaknesses and their strengths, as compared to their peers. It gives them the necessary push to work even harder in certain areas so that they can improve more with time. Also, since they now realize their strengths better, they would be able to use those even more effectively in the future.
Game-based learning has a number of advantages for growing children. It improves their memory, their reasoning ability, their willingness to learn and most importantly, it makes them confident as persons. In this article, we have tried to explain what game-based learning is and why every school needs to incorporate it in the classroom. We hope you will find it useful and along with the traditional form of learning, you will introduce game-based learning in your school as well!