Gamification in e-learning is a futuristic approach that fosters experiential learning and gives the learners an interactive and engaging learning experience. In Part-I of our article on the application of gamification in e-learning, we wrote how gamification is applied in the field of e-learning as per the demands of the field. In this article, we take a look at the challenges associated with gamifying e-learning, and how can these issues be eliminated with a structured approach.
Overcoming Challenges with Gamification in E-Learning
E-learning is an emerging concept that is entirely different from the traditional classroom learning experience. It poses several challenges for teachers as well as learners who become a part of this process. Gamification helps overcome these challenges in a smooth and effective manner. Some of the important challenges can be found below:
I. Intriguing Environment
Continuously cramming theory or textbook information is tiresome and can make knowledge impartment seem monotonous. Gamification helps in eliminating this boring experience by providing means to engage learners in an active gaming environment. This environment is full of excitement and interesting experiential learning.
II. Learning Impulse
Motivation is a crucial factor to push learners to achieve the desired levels of learning. Motivating students to complete a course becomes the biggest obstacle in e-learning contexts. Unlike in a traditional classroom, neither the teacher nor the students are physically present in a virtual classroom. Therefore, the job of the teacher as a motivator is restricted. In this case, gamification works in favor of the instructor and provides the required amount of motivation, which is induced by the gaming situations the learners are put in.
Learners proceed further when they are pushed to compete in a healthy environment. However, unfair competition kills the learning impulse and may result in some students dropping out of the course. Gamified lessons ensure that the learners’ efforts are recognized in the form of awards, badges, leader-board rankings, and so on, which provides a level playing field for the learners to compete and learn in.
IV. Positive Outlook Towards Failure
A learner might fear failure and lose motivation to proceed with a lesson in a traditional classroom learning scenario. Gamification in e-learning provides a stimulus for learning by positioning failure in a positive manner. This impels the learner to move further and to produce better results, rather than completely opting out of the course.
Playing it Safe with Gamification
Although gamification is arguably a better alternative to traditional classroom teaching, it requires a well-structured approach for its effective conduct. A gamified lesson requires several professionals to develop such lessons and to deliver it to learners in a virtual classroom. Some of the focal points that impact the learning outcomes are:
i). Neglecting Learner Efforts
Awarding the learners that take part in gamification activities motivates them to proceed in the course. Conversely, not giving them due recognition has an adverse effect on the learning and motivation levels of learners. For this reason, there’s a requisite need to recognize learners’ efforts.
ii). Transient Approach
A game becomes boring over time if it does not involve evolving challenges that excite learners at various levels. As a result, gamified lessons require a long-term learning outlook.
iii). Entirely Competition-Oriented
Not all learners thrive in a highly competitive environment. This emphasizes the need for creating accommodating lessons, where all learners get equal opportunity to compete and master lessons.
Effective Professional Strategies for Gamification
Gamification in e-learning requires certain strategies to develop lessons for achieving the specified objectives of learning. These strategies improve over time with practice and experience. The effective professional strategies for gamification in e-learning include:
The content is the heart and soul of a lesson. If the content lacks a crucial element and is not presentable, the application of gamification will not be fruitful. Gamification enhances the learner experience only when the content is exciting and new. Therefore, an impartial review of the content is important.
Some learners are good at game-related activities and might complete their tasks earlier than others. Thus, gamification requires a long-term strategy to engage varied learners with interactive activities to obtain the desired results of learning.
Similar to any other technology, gamification also requires time before implementation.The need for gamifying an activity/field requires recognition at the right time. The application of gamification takes place only after a thorough analysis of the field it is being applied to.
It is necessary to determine the expected outcomes of a gamified e-learning course. The designers accordingly plan the development strategies for an e-learning course.
Just like other forms of learning, gamified learning also depends on certain strategies and carries its own shortcomings and challenges. In-depth knowledge and mindful application of gamification in e-learning can facilitate the effective conduct of lessons and render the desired results to its users.