When the e-learning courses are dull, learners are bored and frustrated and hence learning does not happen and knowledge transfer does not take place in the given learning environment. Traditional page turning e-learning is becoming flavorless for employees who have grown up playing video games. In a corporate world learners are preoccupied with work and hence time and attention of the learners is limited. Contemporary learner clamors for effective, interactive e-learning that engages learner in the learning process. This is where game based learning plays a vital role.
Gamification is use of game based mechanics to stipulate engaging and motivated learning. Games promote ways of knowing and ways of doing. Games do not ask you to remember any knowledge; rather they provide challenges and feedback on your decisions. This is how you learn in game based learning.
People go crazy about Video games because they are rewarding, they engage leaners in competition and achievement. In game based learning the learner works towards achieving a goal, let’s see how game based learning can be engaging.
Learners are motivated with games because they represent learners working environment, where the learners are challenged to win in order to enter the next level. Here are some of the factors that motivate a learner:
Challenge – Game evokes elements like Challenges where learner tries to accomplish a challenge which elicits a goal to learn. Games engage learner in a challenge, which is set by rules and feedback.
Competition – Gamification drives user engagement by engaging learners in a spirited competition with colleagues. Learner’s performance can be enhanced when a competitive learning environment is established and highest scorer rewarded. This is because learners gain satisfaction when they compare their performance with that of others.
Reward – People have a desire for reward; learners are rewarded with trophies or badges after reaching a milestone. As and when the learners are rewarded their performance can be posted in forums that creates an element of competition in learning environment.
According to a report by Gartner, engagement can be driven by accelerated feedback. Games provide instant and constant feedback such as scores, there by leading to better engagement and motivation.
Formative feedback in games provides safe learning environment that motivates learner to take risk and accept challenges that are impossible in the real world. This will motivate learners to attempt the games based assessments until they master the learning objectives of the game.
For example in a firefighting game, a learner gets constant feedback throughout the game on their decisions regarding tackling the fire and rescuing people.
The ability of a learner to apply skills on the job that are learnt in training depends on the confidence level of the learner to use those skills. Games based learning evoke confidence because
- It provides constant feedback during the learning
- The competition with colleagues and challenges faced in the scenarios develops the ability to meet those challenges
- There are rewards and recognition earned in the learning progress
- Scenarios with situations shown in the games resemble actual environment the learner encounters in the real world , hence the confidence and performance
Retention of knowledge is high in case of game based learning as the games evoke engagement of the learner especially when games resemble the learner’s work environment.
Learning professional must focus on providing engaging and goal oriented e-learning courses as time and attention of the learners is limited. Gaming will add on benefits to current e-learning methods. It can be seen as a tool that will help in knowledge transfer. The idea of gaming is that learners will learn efficiently when they are involved in an activity. Games, if used rightly in e-learning will increase the learner’s engagement by seizing and retaining his attention.