While students’ energy levels naturally decline as they age, most learners will have a naturally high energy level. However, when it comes time to do serious homework or study, their attention span decreases. They give in to their more primary psychological needs and get creative with the way they avoid working.
That’s why it’s essential to bring an element of fun into your classroom, whether you’re teaching kindergarten or grade 12 students. Gamification is a great way to maintain the attention span of your learners and really make them want to do the activity they dreaded before.
Let’s take a look at three of the most critical gamification principles for a gamified learning environment.
Principle # 1 – Rewards
Everyone appreciates positive reinforcement, regardless of their age – generally speaking, of course. However, it is a necessity for students. You shouldn’t reward them just for the sake of rewarding them, but having small, constant positive reinforcements will boost their confidence as they learn.
This is called a rewarding gamified learning environment. The rewards can be quite simple, like a points system, and you don’t have to limit yourself. You could reward your students with thousands of points for completing a learning activity.
In conjunction with a points system, this could be a ranking, which adds some friendly competition to the class. You will need to make sure that your learners are prepared for this reward, as some might become more confident in their learning when they go up against themselves the day before.
Principle # 2 – Levels of progression
You will notice that almost all games have a gauge for your progress. As you play, you’ll need to refill the meter, and when you level up you’ll be rewarded and, more importantly, you’ll want to do it again.
Your lessons are also based on your students’ progress, so it’s relatively easy to combine the two concepts. When your learners know their progress on their learning journey, they will feel empowered and will engage more with the material.
You have to consider that when you design these levels of progression, you have to start with the simpler things and gradually make the lessons more difficult. If your students fail on the first try at a learning game, they will likely lose interest, but if they win early on, they will be motivated to stick with that winning streak.
Principle # 3 – Feedback
When we say feedback, we mean instant variety. At least, almost instantly. Answering three different questions from three different learners is a challenge, and you’ve probably been faced with this challenge before. However, most games let the player know exactly what they did wrong and when.
Especially with your online gamified learning activities, you can incorporate instant feedback. If your learners know where they went wrong, they can figure out how to improve next time and avoid making the same mistakes.
If they don’t get feedback, they will keep making the same mistakes and develop wrong knowledge or missing pieces.
Gamification is becoming more and more popular and has proven to be one of the most effective approaches to learning. If you are looking to create a high quality gamified learning environment, be sure to follow the principles above.