Learning organizations within enterprises have constantly grappled with the need to justify expenses towards training and learning. As a result any learning strategy that delivers significant improvement in the learning impact definitely creates a buzz in the market. The same is true in the K12 and higher education industry. Gamification of training and learning is one such concept that promises to have a big impact on learning.
Gamification of learning delivers a better impact because its brings in the element of group interaction, competition, rewards, recognition into learning. So what are the essential traits of gamified training or learning? According to Ozma, a Swedish consulting company, there are four key dimensions:
1. Attraction: Create interest and make sure the training or learning is not considered as a burden or something that needs to be done because the teacher wanted it or the boss asked for it.
2. Loyalty: Create stickiness and reward people to come back for more.
3. Activity: Get people to contribute voluntarily and not just be a passive consumer of training which does not help in retention.
4. Circulation: Create enough excitement so that there is always something to share with their friends and thereby create stickiness and buzz about the program.
One example that comes to my mind is the 3D Game Lab. Sify has built this platform for the Boise State University some time back and its in closed beta at present. What makes 3D Game Lab interesting is the quest based approach to learning. Students have quests as opposed to “boring” lessons. Completing a quest can ensure bragging rights in the form of awards and status. Students can collaborate and comment about quests. Each quest has a bunch of learning activities tied into it and everything is tracked or administered by the teacher on the backend. This is definitely the way forward and promises to make learning fun, interesting, and interactive.
A research report by Mats Wiklund titled Going to School in World of Warcraft has drawn some interesting conclusions based on research done in Sweden. The results described in this paper indicate that commercial, unmodified games can be effective as learning tools in the classroom. You can read the entire report here.