The concept and connection between learning and playing games has been around long before the digital era and technology advancements, (i.e. puzzles, crosswords, board games) just that it isn’t in the form of a digital tool or portable device.
So, what is the difference between gamification and game-based learning you might think? Well it’s quite simple; game-based learning is the integration of interactive gaming into learning experiences and curriculums designed to balance subject matters.
Gamification is almost the reversal of this, where it contains similar gaming mechanics like levels, points and badges to non-gaming, real-life scenarios; encouraging and rewarding learners each step of the learning experience. Gamification can be applied to any activity, not exclusive to learning.
In short, gamification is turning the process of learning into a game, while game-based learning is using a game as part of the learning process.
How does Games-Based Learning and Gamification work?
Games have a number of common characteristics that can be used to create effective learning environments. These include
- Complex environments where players are expected to make decisions and problem-solve in increasingly difficult circumstances
- Experimentation and risk-taking in encouraging players to try out alternative courses of action and experience a range of different outcomes
- Narrative and thematic threads which encourage players to take on the identity of a range of characters, to build a story around these characters and interact socially with other participants
Benefits of Games-Based Learning and Gamification
- Boosts motivation
- Develops non-cognitive skills
- Choose what to learn
- Collective potential
At the end of the day, gamification and game-based learning have relatively the same goals, the purpose of both are to either solve a problem, motivate a person or promote learning using these methods and techniques.
Whether you decide to implement a discrete learning game to teach a specific skill, or to gamify your entire learning process, hopefully, the end result is a more engaged and successful learning audience.