One of the best ways for young students to learn is through the use of gamification apps. Gamification refers to the use or integration of gameplay to bolster interest and interaction with a product or service. When it comes to educational apps, gamification can be extremely beneficial, helping to increase student engagement, boost attention span, and ultimately enhance classroom learning environments.
In this post, we explore why gamification apps are among the most essential Educational Technology (EdTech) tools, including the many ways that these apps can improve student motivation, peer relationships, and self-confidence. We’ll also discuss various types of game-based learning programs and game mechanics that school leaders can use to create a more effective learning experience for students.
How Gamification Apps Improve Student Learning Environments
It’s no secret that kids love games. Making a game out of any task makes it more fun and gets students excited, regardless of their age.
There are numerous ways in which gamification apps can help students learn and thrive. When gamification elements are introduced into a standard classroom environment, educators are better able to capture students’ attention, increase their participation, and essentially improve their performance.
Gaming apps can be designed for any subject, including math, English, science, and history. The apps can be built for individual play, allowing students to improve upon subjects they might be struggling with at their own pace, or they can be built for group play to encourage cooperation and teambuilding skills. In order to advance in the game, the student(s) will be required to answer trivia, solve equations, collaborate with other students, and use their imagination to build things or create art projects.
Gamification apps can also be designed to include a timer for solving puzzles or tasks. Adding a timing element to the EdTech app can help improve a student’s response time to various questions and help set them up for success when it comes time to take the SATs and other important exams.
Choosing the Right Game Mechanics for Your EdTech App
There are many different kinds of gamification solutions to choose from when building an EdTech app that will be used by students in a learning environment. To increase the chance of success, EdTech gamification apps should take into account the age of the target audience (the students) and what types of gameplay they are most likely to find appealing.
Before settling on a specific game design, it’s important to understand the different types of game mechanics that are available. The term game mechanics refers to the rules that govern the gameplay and subsequent actions that a player can take. Some are more advanced than others, so it’s vital to choose the constructs of the game carefully so the app will be both beneficial to the student’s learning experience as well as enjoyable, without overwhelming them. If the app is too complicated to use, the students might feel discouraged, defeating the entire purpose.
Below are some examples of different game mechanics to help you determine the best solution for your app:
Role-playing games are an excellent way to help improve a student’s imagination, awareness of different types of jobs and skill sets, and empathy toward fellow classmates. With these types of games, students can choose different characters to represent themselves and can switch between personas for each new game if they like. Because users aren’t limited to who they can be in the game, role-playing gamification apps also help build a student’s sense of empathy toward fellow students. When designing role-playing apps, opt for a wide variety of characters that can mimic the diversity within the classroom.
The badge system allows app users to gain badges or rewards when they complete tasks or advance levels. The more the user successfully completes a task or level, the better the rewards will be. Reward-based gameplay is very encouraging because it motivates students to continue advancing in their knowledge. Students will feel a sense of achievement with each badge and can earn “bragging rights” among classmates, both of which help to boost their confidence in themselves and their skills.
Similar to the badge system, this type of gameplay allows users to advance rounds or gain extra points or boosters (level up) every time they complete tasks or progress beyond what is expected in the level. While the gaming principles behind this type of app are appealing to competitive students, they are actually extremely helpful for students who tend to fall behind in class or lack motivation. The reason being that leveling up games encourages students to work through levels faster by obtaining tokens, solving puzzles, and performing other tasks that wouldn’t otherwise interest them in a regular classroom setting.
Group play gamification apps are beneficial for students of all ages because they help encourage teamwork and participation among all students. These types of apps work best for educational purposes when they focus on building something, like a city, home, or even a farm. They can also provide great results when students need to complete group quests, such as working together to find an object or to solve a mystery. Through group play games, students can also develop or enhance critical thinking and leadership skills.
Virtual Reality EdTech Gamification Apps
EdTech is capitalizing on the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) programs to offer simulated learning environments for students. The pandemic brought to light the need to have additional educational tools available for students when in-person learning might not be possible, and there’s nothing better than VR to provide the same (or better) type of classroom experience.
Through Virtual Reality EdTech apps, students can participate and interact with each other and with instructors the same way they would if they were in a physical classroom and can enjoy an added range of benefits and activities that would otherwise not be possible. Students can take virtual field trips anywhere in the world, use different virtual tools for making craft projects, experiment with different science lab materials, and much more.
VR can also be incorporated into a gamification app easily. Educators can create digital scavenger hunts for students, virtual puzzles, music games, and even give students time to engage in physical education activities from the comfort of their homes.
Many times, students aren’t getting the motivation they need in order to succeed in school. The education system has previously been centered on teaching students in a classroom setting but given the pandemic and nuances in EdTech trends, there’s no limit to what students can accomplish with gamification apps. Anyone considering creating an EdTech app should consider speaking to an experienced app developer before getting started. There are many different game mechanics involved in these types of apps and building the right type of app for specific student needs is critical to the student’s success.