The Use of Gamification in Higher Education

Gamification is a relatively new strategy. It's recently begun to be used in different areas of education. It's implemented in order to increase the frequency of certain behaviors. In today's article, we focus on the potential that this set of strategies can have in facilitating learning.
The Use of Gamification in Higher Education

Last update: 15 January, 2022

Gamification is a learning technique that was first used at the beginning of 2010. Although it’s still relatively new, its development is progressing rapidly. This is thanks to the good results it produces in the world of training.

In this article, we’ll focus solely on gamification in the field of higher education. However, we should mention that gamification applications go beyond the educational world. In fact, the business field also takes advantage of its benefits. More particularly, in the areas of marketing, human resources, and communication.

University students using the process of gamification.

Gamification

Gamification involves “using the design techniques of the world of video games to lead the user through predefined actions and maintaining high motivation” (Contreras Espinosa and Eguia, 2016). However, what techniques are these?

  • Basis of the game. The main idea of ​​the game. Its purpose. In addition, the knowledge it transmits, the challenge of the game, and its rules. Also, feedback on progress learning.
  • Mechanics. How the game is structured. What levels act as motivators and rewards?
  • Esthetics. Attractive and well-developed graphics.
  • Ease of play. The implementation of clear and simple instructions to facilitate engagement with the game. In other words, not to cause frustration in the student who wants to access knowledge.
  • Motivation. Challenges that are accessible to the player. In fact, the levels of difficulty should be gradually increased. In this way, feelings of boredom or frustration are avoided.
  • Problem-solving. To overcome the levels or obstacles of the game. For example, different challenges are proposed to achieve learning.
  • Promotion of learning. Making use of psychology techniques for learning. For instance, positive or negative reinforcement (assigning or withdrawing points), instrumental learning, feedback, etc.

It’s important to highlight the fact that gamification doesn’t concern the use of video games in the classroom. In fact, it involves using the techniques that make video games attractive and applying them to teaching.

The multidisciplinary process of gamification

In order to implement gamification, the entire educational institution must be willing to collaborate. That’s because a teacher who takes on the gamification process alone won’t be able to respond to all the demands it imposes in the long term.

In fact, institutions, universities, and faculties must be totally committed to the process of gamification. Without this commitment, it’ll simply remain an innovative experiment with an expiration date.

Furthermore, parents and teachers should also be involved, along with certain other professionals who are able to play an important role:

“Gamification for education should be concluded by multidisciplinary working groups made up of video game designers, neuropsychologists, and pedagogues, capable of generating a complete vision of all the implications of the process and of how to correctly approach its management.”

-Contreras Espinosa and Eguia, 2016-

Videogame brain.

The advantages of gamification in higher education

There are many advantages of implementing gamification in university classrooms. Furthermore, they don’t only concern students. Indeed, the universities and colleges themselves also benefit from this innovative teaching method.

Although it may sound like a bit of a novelty, the strategies used in gamification are based on the classic ideas of positive reinforcement or punishment. They also involve constant feedback. In addition, gamification tends to have positive effects on students.

As we’ve already mentioned, the use of gamification in education is relatively new. However, the results of studies done to date suggest that it’s extremely useful for enhancing learning in the classroom.

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