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Gamification in e-Learning: 3 great cases.

BIMO waivingIn the past decade, Competentum saw a boom in Gamification and a diversity in the forms it can take in education. Today we are keen to share our expertise with the community. We have collected some of our recent cases to demonstrate what Gamification can look like and why it is so useful.

There is a long history of using technology to teach kids: for about as long as there have been affordable computers, there have been educational games to put on them. It turns out to be an exceptionally effective teaching tool.

Kids respond well because it’s a creative, collaborative and entertaining environment where they are in control of their own challenges, which can be many.

Although there is a group in the community who sees gamification as a facilitation of the inner class competition, a more significant group sees gamification as a usage of any game elements in non-game contexts to increase motivation and enjoyment of activities. In this way, cool vivid graphics and interactions are indeed an applied gamification.

Excited kids with iPadsTo us, gamification is a way to transform the learning process into an experience. Our aim is to create a product that will put students on the edge of their seats and drive greater motivation. It is a fantastic opportunity to provide this bright generation with the knowledge and skills they will really need in the future.

Higher education thrives on the competitive atmosphere. It gives new order to the old marking systems and adds a fundamental human incentive layer to it. As in all other cases, the main idea behind gamification here is to provide an effective framework for motivation. It means badges, high scores, leader boards and winners announcements. Winners get prizes and rewards for doing good work in a manageable, yet competitive, environment.

School education, on the other hand, massively benefits from the attractive looks and sounds. Competition here has to be softer – considering the tender age of the contestants.

We have been making e-learning solutions for different stages of K-12 for a while now. We have also had groups of kids of different ages do beta testing for us on these products.

Based on our experience, we are here to share the top tips that the Competentum team considers when creating an e/m-learning program for a specific age category.

  • The first and most important is to make content interesting and engaging. Yet it is pretty challenging to convert some complicated concepts into a way kids will actually appreciate and enjoy. We are dividing content into "digestible" bites and trying to be creative on the presentation.
  • Second, we are adding interactions whenever appropriate. For example, surreal characters, colourful backgrounds, and over-the-top images are something kids love to see. whilst models for the High School and University students are much more technical and increasingly less colourful. This is one of the greatest e-learning selling points over video lessons – interaction helps establish the communication to drive better motivation and education performance.
  • At Competentum, we are adapting languages to the consuming audience. If you look at our work, you can actually distinguish the verbal style of Grades 1-3 from Grades 4-6. For instance, a character for Grades 1-3 only says no more than 2 simple sentences at a time. We know that the students from those grade levels are beginners in reading with a limited vocabulary.

To illustrate everything that we had said so far, here are some examples of our work that were particularly helpful to the teachers, students and parents.

EducationCity

We will start with the eLearning tool for the kids who are in their first years in education - EducationCity . It is a successful kit to drive students’ enthusiasm; it consists of engaging online games for kids and many helpful resources for teachers and parents.

The bright layout and friendly characters help kids to navigate. Constant feedback helps to engage the shyest in the group. Its success is proven by the impressive amount of schools which are using the program: the program is applied in more than 15,000 schools in the UK.

Resources cover most subjects from the curriculum to the pace that suits each of the students, due to the built-in personalization feature. In the end, we were not surprised to learn that EducationCity led to an improvement in educational performance and an overall satisfaction from the product.

 

 

 

 

Illuminations

When we are creating projects like Illuminations we are always grateful for working in this particular age – because projects like this change schools and make them a better, exciting place to be. Illuminations is a platform for teaching and learning mathematics, including interactive tools for students and instructional support for teachers.

Designed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and supported by the Verizon Foundation, Illumination contains over 600 lesson plans and more than 100 activities like virtual manipulatives, applets, and games.

Supported with mobile apps, e-newsletters and some great features like a global players’ community, the resource receives excellent feedback from its users.

 

 

 

 

PhET

The third project we would like to show is called PhET, a collection of research-based science and mathematics simulations. They are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to the PC.

An award-winning education instrument that helps students engage in science and mathematics through fun, interactive activities. Models are equipped with an intuitive interface and are very easy to navigate.

Users get immediate feedback about the effect of the changes they made. This allows them to investigate cause-and-effect relationships and answer scientific questions through exploration of the simulation.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids playing iPadAs you see new simulations—or game-like learning spaces—deepen learning by placing students in complex environments in which they can track data while interacting with others. This engaging experience helps to:

  • Discover patterns and relationships within the learning materials;
  • Motivate learning outside the class;
  • Encourage pupils to develop a critical approach to the information;
  • Apply new knowledge in practice, which is the best way to remember something new.

Studies have confidently stated that the classes using the game had significantly higher academic results than classes not using the games.

Moreover, there is a number of teachers documenting their overwhelmingly positive experience using gamified solutions. Most of us would agree that Gamification is a win-win tool for everybody in the industry: learners are lucky to experience benefits first hand, while teachers are able to manage their time more efficiently by giving more attention to those who needs it most. In addition, management receives valuable data, and a marketing advantage with a potentially cost-cutting solution.

Now, the question might not be whether or not we should use games in school – but rather how far do we go?

Toy housesGame designer and advocate Jane McGonigal in her book Reality is Broken describes a school that does not use games but is a game, where every course is designed by borrowing key mechanics from the most engaging multiplayer games. Admittedly, we are pretty far from that point, but we are definitely able to see more and more success stories regarding gamified learning.

Just remember, it is important to research and test multiple avenues of training and learning for your students. Providing a different technique of a high quality will only benefit your students, both big and small.

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