Monthly Archives: November 2015

  • Gamification: Pros and Cons


    Gamification becomes an integral part of e-learning today. The world's best banks require cartoon characters and funny poems to teach employees to cope with their duties. Distributors agree to acquaint themselves with the product line only if they get some bonuses. Even government officials want to receive the instructions only in the form of games, otherwise it becomes incredibly boring. It seems that the majority of students just want to have fun and this trend become a commonplace in our society. Since learning is the most difficult type of mental activity, the implementation of gamification may be considered as the way to avoid such kind of difficulties. But the client's wish is above all else, so we must to entertain our adult users. That's why they hunt for bonuses and trophies, choose characters and pass levels. In fact, such attributes of gamification are meaningless and have no positive effect.

    What is gamification?

    The concept of gamification is not limited to computer games, most of which are completely meaningless and useless for adults. Gamification in learning is a way to use game thinking for solving didactic problems. The key word here is "thinking". The game promotes development due to the logic. Chess, by the way, is also a game. The use of gamification in e-learning may be described as a construction of a specific game logic. Gamification is motivation, but such motivation is some kind of special, since appeals to the receiving of encouraging awards. The most motivating elements are complex tasks, creative work and the process of training others.

    The mechanism of gamification

    If you're going to use gamification to create e-courses you have to understand its mechanism.

    Learning is a conscious process, which involves the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. The game directs by the subconscious mind. That's why the game is fun: there's no need to force your consciousness to work.

    During the learning process information enters the brain as a continuous stream, until the consciousness shuts down for self-preservation. During the game the information is given in small doses. Thus consciousness is involved occasionally and subconsciousness has a dominant position. This phenomenon actually describes the mechanism of gamification. It's necessary to split information into the blocks, to alternate known / unknown components, to use different kinds of tasks, to regulate learning material, to allow user to feel the state of enlightenment and success.

    Learn from your mistakes

    Another feature of gamification is an ability to repeatedly make mistakes without negative consequences. Mistakes and failures which were made in game are not considered as something shameful. Moreover, the more unsuccessful attempts were made, the faster you'll go to a higher level. Use it in e-courses. Allow user to make mistakes giving tasks at different levels of complexity until he mastered the required skills. And please, remember: learning is a conscious process that requires efforts. It's necessary to help our students to go through this difficult path, but do not fully transform learning into child's play.

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