Why the Gamification of Learning Became so Successful

August 20, 2012

in Education, Ideas, Learning Technologies

Why the gamification of learning became so successful

Who could have predicted that the gamification of learning could have yielded such continued success, for students of all ages? If twenty or so years ago you were to tell an educator that the future of learning exists in digital gaming, you’d probably be laughed at. Not too long ago games were viewed almost universally as a deterrent to education—the word “videogame” had nothing but the most negative connotation to many parents and educators. Games weren’t viewed as sources of learning, but ones of distraction.

Of course that has all changed in recent years. Technological advances—particularly with mobile devices—have made gaming a much more viable platform for educators who want to provide interactive and engaging learning materials. But why specifically did education games take off so wildly, why are they acceptable now when gaming in generally wasn’t accepted by the majority of educators twenty years ago? I have some thoughts on the matter.

Modern technology enhances the learning experience
Educational games have been around almost as long as the video gaming industry. But the problem was that none of the educational games designed up until recently offered a quality education experience. They were merely action or adventure games thinly disguised as a learning experience. And besides, there was no real business to be made in educational gaming back during the video game console boom of the 1990’s—gaming companies made their money on titles that were made for pure entertainment.

But the advent of the smartphone, and more recently the tablet have made educational gaming a real and vibrant industry. These mobile devices have practical purposes that weren’t expected from previous gaming consoles that specialized in entertainment. Apps made for smartphones and tablets have real-world uses meant to optimize the user’s everyday lives. Education is just one hotspot in the app world, but it’s one that has seen a huge boom because of the massive response to them. But why are kids responding to educational games all of a sudden?

Kids don’t have an aversion to new educational games
Today’s educational gaming app doesn’t read for kids as a boring and rueful exercise. App designers have put their heart and soul into producing gamified learning apps that keep kids entertained and intellectually stimulated simultaneously. Ideally, a child playing an educational game doesn’t even realize that they’re learning when that’s exactly what they’re doing. Best of all, these educational apps cover all facets of primary, secondary, and even college-level education: spelling and grammar apps, apps that build vocabulary, those that teach math and science, and apps that teach a second language are among the most popular offerings.

Education game designers can innovate for a brighter future
Unlike with traditional learning techniques, there’s no end to the possibilities of educational gaming. A gamified learning app can be as imaginative and engaging as the developer wants it to be, the only limit being the imaginations of the designers. Students can now interact with learning materials in a more immersive experience than ever before. The classic school textbook can now be supplemented with educational games designed to enhance and deepen a student’s understanding of a subject on a level never thought possible. In other words, it’s a good time to be a student right now.

Author info: A freelance writer and blogger hailing from the great state of Texas, Melissa Miller specializes in writing about the education field. If you’re considering pursuing an associate degree online, Melissa’s many posts on the subject can help light the way. Email her at melissamiller831@ gmail.com with any feedback.



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