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Leveraging Gamification for Digital Education and Corporate Learning

Sergei Diadiura

Head of Content Practice, EPAM
Blog

In the past decade, we’ve seen a surge in gamification in both K-12 and higher education, as well as corporate learning. The same gaming principles that make Ms. Pac-Man or Fortnite fun are increasingly popular in eLearning because when education is collaborative and entertaining, it works.

A recent report forecasts that the gamification market is expected to grow by $17.56 billion from 2020-2024, in large part due to the increased demand from eLearning. While COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation of the education industry, the push for creative ways to engage consumers has driven the gamification of eLearning. To effectively deliver concepts, both schools and learning and development (L&D) departments should continue exploring ways to integrate gaming into the learning process.

Gamification enables learners to discover patterns and relationships within the material, apply new knowledge in practice (which is the best way to remember something new) and get prompt feedback on their performance as they work toward measurable goals. Additionally, it provides valuable data for educators and L&D departments on how to update and enhance materials.

While improving retention and boosting teamwork, gamification has proven itself as a powerful, reliable and often cost-cutting approach to transforming the entire learning process for both students and workers. 

Driving Better Learning Outcomes in Schools and Higher Education

Educational games quickly followed the advent of affordable PCs, so using technology to teach is hardly new. Children respond well to educational gaming because it’s a creative, collaborative and fun environment where they can learn at their own pace.

A key component of gamification is to provide an effective framework for motivation through incentives like badges, high scores, leaderboards and winner announcements. Prizes and rewards spur healthy competition that is designed to be developmentally appropriate for any given grade level.

Higher education thrives on a competitive atmosphere and gamification adds a new way to engage college students outside the traditional grading system. Classes and courses that use gamification have shown better academic outcomes than those that don’t.

By tracking data while learners interact with each other, educators gain valuable insight into what’s working and what areas need more attention. Educators benefit because they can manage their time more efficiently and focus their attention on those who need it most.

Today’s students are digital natives who have come to expect education to be engaging. To best serve their needs:

  • Make content interesting and interactive. Creative characters, colorful backgrounds and intriguing images are a big draw for younger students, while high school and college students often appreciate more technically complex components.
  • When concepts are particularly challenging, divide content into "digestible" bites and be creative in the presentation.
  • Adapt language and information to the target audience, taking into account that reading skills and vocabulary vary by grade level. 
Fostering a Continuous Learning Culture in the Workplace

With the pandemic, L&D departments have had to quickly adjust to remote working models, which has forced companies to take a hard look at their digital capabilities. For companies that weren’t offering much professional development and training online, the learning curve has been steep.

Employee engagement is a must for effective learning and real behavioral change. Fortunately, gamification offers valuable tools that engage and motivate employees, facilitate team building, integrate reinforcement and provide just-in-time feedback to learners.

Gamification also helps L&D teams adjust lessons as data analytics reveal what skills trainees are mastering and how they best learn.

Whether the goal is reskilling or upskilling, gamification can accelerate learning by delivering higher completion rates and improving recall and retention. To effectively integrate gamification into your L&D planning:

  • Equip games with consistent feedback and an intuitive interface for easy navigation.
  • Build in personalization features to tailor content for the needs of each learner.
  • Invest in backend programming that delivers robust, data-driven analytics so learning can evolve and adjust as needed.
Game on for Students and Workers

For both students and professionals, game mechanics can also be used outside of traditional games to create simulated educational environments where learners can practice a skill they want to use in the real world.

Gamification is a smart way to improve outcomes in both education and corporate learning. By providing a sense of achievement, learners are engaged and motivated, which is necessary for behavioral change. With measurable goals and data analytics, gaming can provide learning that is tailored, efficient and effective.

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