Gamification in Teaching

When fun and learning come together, the result can be better retention, more...

Gamification in Teaching

When fun and learning come together, the result can be better retention, more engagement, motivation, and often a positive attitude towards understanding a new concept within instruction. Pursuing improved student engagement and creating immersive experiences are essential elements for the gamification movement. During gaming, students actively evaluate and analyze new standards and ideas, while benefiting from the reinforcement and absorption of information. 

The same students who did not have an interest in picking up a pen in the classroom or raising their hand to add to a discussion are the ones, when gaming is introduced, often stop at nothing to succeed when they are immersed in a game. Students who might not have enjoyed memorizing flashcards might find themselves more motivated to win a challenge or participate in a board game that uses the same, previously dull, flashcards. This change in direction benefits students who are not motivated to engage with concepts through reading a textbook or memorizing flashcards, while also introducing more fun.

One of the most significant benefits of gamification in the classroom is within cognitive development. According to a 2022 Journal of Educational Research meta-analysis, games that included critical thinking and problem-solving skills improved a student's processing and retention abilities.  It was also noted that students’ spatial abilities improved visualization skills from multiple points of view.  A study within Perspectives on Psychological Science (2019) also supported these skills and found abilities. This study found that the skills derived from video games are lasting and transferable to other domains and subject areas; an example of this can be seen in STEAM pathways.  

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Halbrook, Y. J., O’Donnell, A. T., & Msetfi, R. M. (2019). When and how video games can be good: A review of the positive effects of video games on well-being. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(6), 1096-1104

Mao, W., Cui, Y., Chiu, M. M., & Lei, H. (2022). Effects of game-based learning on students’ critical thinking: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 59(8), 1682-1708

Kirriemuir, J., & McFarlane, A. (2004). Literature review in games and learning.