Gamification In Education: From Education To Recruitment

Why Gamification In Education Is The Future

With the introduction and adaptation of technology to nearly everything that we do in the modern era, it’s no surprise that eLearning is finding its place with learners of all ages and from all walks of life. Naturally, different eLearning methods have sprung up, and chief among them is “gamification”.

For those unfamiliar, it’s important to understand that gamification isn’t just “playing games”. In fact, as contradictory as it may sound, sometimes gamification doesn’t involve playing any games. Instead, it helps to remember that gamification is more about applying game-design principles, mechanics, and philosophies to non-game activities and applications.

Both eLearning and gamification have found a foothold not only in primary, secondary, and university schools, but also in graduate programs recruitment and even job market recruitment. Not only that, but gamification has found a place in continued employee education and performance motivation.

Hacking Children’s Learning

Writing for Forbes, Brian Rashid makes a case for gamification tech in education by bringing up a couple of important points pertaining to engagement and accessibility. He points to a study out of Babes-Bolyai University in Romania to warrant his claim:

“...elements [of engagement] include a way to personalize profiles and use avatars in order [for students] to create their own version of themselves,” he says, “create chapters that divide up the action (and learning) to build in interest and help with retention; and create some type of incentive to continue like accumulating points, earning badges, or reaching some status.

Rashid continues by mentioning that the availability of mobile devices and the prevalence of games on said devices make children and adults alike receptive to gamification in ways that they may not have been before. This type of engagement may be exactly what people like Carl Hermanns of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University are looking for to spark to systemic change in our public schools. He makes the contention that systemic inequalities are harming learners in some primary schools--perhaps the falling costs of technology and gamification implementation mixed with the right leadership will help realize further equality.

Gamification in education has been around for awhile, however. I remember doing the “Accelerated Reader” program when I was a kid, an early desktop-based (and later web-based) software program that rated books by how difficult they were to read and then provided a test for kids who had read them. Prizes were provided to kids who had the most points, under the assumption that this would engage and improve readers. Now, with better hardware and a variety of eLearning options, gamification can be applied to more subjects than just English and reading, boosting engagement across the board.

Gamification In The Workplace

Gamification has followed graduates out of their schools and into the workplace with them. Dr. Amer Wigmore Álvarez, executive director of career services at IE business school, writes that without tapping into eLearning and gamification, students are are left at a disadvantage to other, more digitally literate students.

It is important that university students across the board are made aware of such platforms as a mixture of game-based assessments are being implemented in a diverse range of industries, including the legal sector, banking, advertising/media, rail/engineering, technology companies, retail, property/estate agents and construction,” says Dr. Wigmore Álvarez. “They are in use across several functions across these industries: human resources, IT, supply chain, finance, R&D, etc. If universities do not equip their students for the way recruitment is changing, they will be doing them a disservice.”

Dr. Wigmore Álvarez makes a good point. Digital IQ is often taken for granted, to the point that many career advice websites don’t even list it when talking about skills you need to land a job anymore. We all have smartphones and mobile devices, so we naturally assume that everybody enjoys around the same level of digital IQ as ourselves. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true.

eLearning In An Ever-Changing World

One of the biggest problems with the rapid amount of disruption that has affected society in the last ten years or more is that the learning curve is steep--and it’s growing exponentially. As we’ve seen in the very recent past, our connected computer systems are extremely vulnerable and susceptible to cyberattacks. Not everybody is well-versed with computer security, as the recent, global “WannaCry” ransomware attacks show.

Fortunately, as Sara Barker reports, some security experts believe that gamification can educate employees (as well as the common person) on effective security methods. By taking the two-step approach of first developing exciting and engaging training exercises for employees, and then including incentives and rewards, PWC and Palo Alto Networks believes that everybody can effectively learn protective security measures.

The gig economy is another disruptive arena that’s benefited greatly from gamification--even if not many people know it. Uber’s come under fire quite a bit recently, but, as Zeev Braude, writing for GeekTime, points out, not everything the company has done has been bad.

Uber has been testing various gamification techniques that subconsciously influence driver decisions”, writes Braude. “These techniques range from setting earnings goals for drivers and sending notifications on their progress to providing badges for things like having great conversations with riders or being ranked highly on a regular basis.”

According to Braude, this increases driver engagement and teaches drivers how to perform better, which could potentially save lives on the road.

No matter how you cut it, gamification and eLearning are the wave of the future. Companies looking to implement excellent, successful gamification and eLearning tactics can look to Nike+ and Duolingo. Appnovation developer Makan highlights how these two apps are able to tackle two very different types of instruction (kinesthetic vs. auditory) using similar tactics.

eLearning and gamification are inescapable. The inevitable collision of technology that we need to learn with the society that we already know and love means that more children will be using these learning tactics in school, and more businesses will be implementing them in training programs. Make sure your organization isn’t left behind.

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