Gamification consists of using elements of the games in non-ludic environments to make appetizing and motivating, certain actions that without them could be tedious, to improve the performance or behavior of people in some objective. The game is not an objective in itself, but only the means of choice for that goal to be fulfilled. In the field of adult neurodidactic training in which we focus this blog, we write this post to publicize the clear advantages that gamification presents, not only on a motivational level, but also improving the formative effectiveness.
It is almost impossible to learn something if we are not motivated. Either because we consider it boring or because at that moment other things distract our attention. When we participate in a game voluntarily, we get that motivational push necessary to pay close attention from the start, to do well their mechanics and get points, badges or overcome levels, thus taking more advantage of the training. If participation is not voluntary, this motivation is not achieved. Formative gamification has been made available to trainers with training video games in mobile apps. These can be used in the classroom during a course, without the need for expensive computer infrastructures. The user can choose the time and place where he wants to play, in order to dedicate the required attention.
Not all people are interested in the same factors of video games
It is said that 80% of players are motivated to interact socially with other people (known or not). A 9.5% enjoy exploring the possibilities of the game itself while another 9.5% are interested in achieving personal achievements. Finally, there is a 1% who only enjoys if he wins, so he does everything possible to get it. When the game has a social dimension, which adds to the climate created by positivity, emotion and fun, it invites us to imitate the behavior of the best in results and rankings. It tempts us to surpass ourselves, and to challenge our own limits reached so far, to verify that better scores were possible, leading us to analyze how to progress in our strategy as players.
But if we approach gamification in a blog called Learning to Remember, it is because it has been shown that playing the long-term reminder of learning is significantly greater, so it is a strategy that all trainers must consider in order for their students to achieve the desired practice transfer of what you need to know.
Interaction in a virtual world
The games are very interactive formats, which simulate a real environment under the security of the virtual world. These make us make multiple decisions to choose the best possible solution to each challenge. They are very active learning strategies, categorizable at the base of the famous Dale pyramid. It indicates that we remember 90% of what we do after analyzing a situation or teaching others. A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of 65 training games and almost 6,500 participants, concluded that by simply adopting the game format when delivering content, an average increase of 9% is achieved in its reminder, and the amount of knowledge acquired is a 11-14%.
But what seems to me most important in this study, is that people who learned with games felt 20% more skilled than the control group that received traditional training. The games are an excellent way for students to perceive that they will be able to transfer the received training to practice. This same study also determined that games are 17% more effective than a class, and 5% more than a debate, even enjoying this second format of a well established educational prestige.
A personal anecdote:
The games generate a compulsive challenge-dopamine-achievement loop. The trainer can take advantage of it to get attentive and addicted people to increase their knowledge. Players will be willing to spend more time than necessary whenever it is a time they enjoy. I experienced it with my children of 8 and 9 years old when we did a cruise by the Baltic capitals. Each afternoon, when returning to the ship of beautiful long morning walks through Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, … they took the tablet and spent more than 2 hours learning the capitals and flags of the whole world. They did it with a video game, arriving to countries of difficulty level 5, some of which were islands that I had never heard before.
They returned home with a very good level in capitals worthy of taking them to the TV show “The Incredibles”. At the Christmas lunch, we proposed to the family to ask the children the capital of any world country. Under our amazement and blush, they didn’t remember even 50% of those who asked them.
My personal conclusion is that games are excellent tools to facilitate the learning of many concepts in a short time. I admit the fact that their active nature improves the aforementioned 9% retention of new knowledge. But don’t exclude the need to maintain the level achieved in a short time, with a strategy of consolidating learning through periodic reviews.
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