Gamification in adult education can transform the way students learn in a huge way. Right now, much of education is static, not dynamic. Much of the current educational motivation is linked to finding a job.

As we all know, that doesn’t always happen. Learning seems to be a long gone motivation in many senses. Education shouldn’t make anyone cringe, it should make them bright eyed and willing to learn. This is where gamification can bring back that love for learning.

One of the biggest things that gamification brings out is intrinsic motivators. According to Lithosphere, intrinsic motivators are the sense of autonomy, sense of mastery, and the sense of purpose. These three motivators can change a person’s behavior towards learning. With gamification having quests, incorporating discovery, and meaning this gives a person a sense of purpose. Humans, in general, want to know they are accomplishing something when they put forth effort. They want to know their efforts are not wasted.  Adding points, progression, achievements, and levels, gives the sense of mastery. That not only are they progressing, but they are getting good at what they are doing. A person now knows their efforts have value.

How cool would it be for a student to look at their class level and say: “Maybe I need to work on this to get to the next level?”

The way it can be incorporated into adult education is by reiterating that any effort in education has worth. This later can show them in life that their efforts can bring on great success. Many educators forget that students get discouraged very easily. I was once told that I didn’t understand business, would not get into a Graduate School, and would never get an MBA. This was told by a professor I had who didn’t like me. He made me cry in class. The good news? Despite my low motivation and hatred for that teacher, I went to Graduate school and got two Master degrees. As I think back now, I really wish gamification was an option for me. At that moment, I was so destroyed by someone who was supposed to be a professional motivator. I wish I had achievements, levels, and progression status to see how I was really doing in class. I love learning and wished so many others did too. Gamification can turn a student who is unmotivated to do anything into to someone who cares about being better in the future. I think Gamification would have done that for me.

Tools for Education Gamification

There are several educational tools out now to incorporate gamification. The ones I use are Articulate Storyline and Studio. These applications create interactive quizzes, lessons, and courses very easily. Points, XP, and Badges are easily incorporated. If an educator adds a certificate to the course, a student can print their own certificate of achievement. The format of Articulate is very clean, professional, and gives a very fun feel. This is what I use to create my sample classes for the moment.

Vision of Education Gamification

Gamification can address students’ self-esteem and engagement problems. I think with achievements, points, progression, levels, and badges students have a sense of worth. They know where they stand in class and in their learning. Who wouldn’t want to get better to earn that next achievement? World of Warcraft lifted my self-esteem when it came to understanding games and my learning ability. When WoW came out with achievements, I was thrilled. I didn’t feel so worthless in the game. My friends were so good in WoW and I just sucked. I was constantly getting ganked (killed by other players), dying by MOBs, and didn’t understand the gear concept. With the progression of achievements, mounts, pets, XP, expansions, and levels I really felt a sense of mastery, sense of purpose, and knew what I was doing as a whole. Even though World of Warcraft is just game, I learned from the intrinsic motivators. It meant more to me to learn the game and get good at it, than to just quit because I didn’t understand it.

How cool would it be for a student to look at their class level and say: “Maybe I need to work on this to get to the next level?” or “I really want that assignment achievement so I can get my wolf mount!” I think gamification could make any student engaged because they like learning and are having fun doing it.

Gamification in education provides the recognition any student needs to achieve success. Remember, just give effort to get to the next level! In education, all student effort is valuable and should be recognized as so. Gamification is that key to doing so!

Written by: Tina M Gonzales

Tina M Gonzales is a Games Enthusiast, Gamification Education Contributor, and avid World of Warcraft player.

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  • SOURCE | Articulate Studio & Storyline
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Image source: Hash Milhan