Learning through gaming

Here’s a fact to impress your friends: The gaming industry is worth more than the music and film industries combined. Current computer games bring immersive, engaging and complex storylines along with powerful social experiences all in glorious high definition, a far cry from clunky 2D gameplay days of yore.

But how can we use these technologies, and more importantly the principles of gaming, to learn and develop? Well, human beings are hard-wired to learn through play. Think back to your childhood – from dress-up to Monopoly, some of the most powerful learning experiences come through games.

You might have heard the term ‘gamifying’ applied to all manner of industries and platforms; its central ideas, built on philosophies of play, are simple:

  • It’s all about the story. A good narrative stimulates the creative side for the player.
  • Continuous feedback. Let players know how they’re doing. Encouragement goes a long way.
  • Reward learners often. This keeps them enticed, and more likely to keep playing.
  • Aesthetics matter. The more immersed a player is, the more likely they’ll invest themselves.
  • “Gotta catch ’em all!” Let learners unlock badges, new levels or tools to help them on their journey.
  • Gradually add complexity to keep things interesting. A feedback loop keeps things fresh while also giving a sense of progression.

Psychologists have studied the many types of human learning in depth. They found that gamified learning has distinct benefits:

  1. Gamification lessens students’ fear of failure – failure is integral to learning, but in the classroom it can be a source of shame. Gamification is proven to encourage failure and reattempt learning, without embarrassment.
  2. Gamification makes learning visible – allowing players to stay orientated to their progress and goals.
  3. Gamification increases motivation – bringing focus on a sense of achievement, social interaction and deep immersion.
  4. Games are familiar – unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway, we’ve all probably played some sort of digital game.
  5. Gamification can make learning a personal experience – allows learners to take a sense of pride, ownership and identity over their development.

So when you’re next considering how to best tackle a complex task, develop a new set of skills, or even get into teacher mode, why not think about how you might gamify your approach?

PS: At Lunebase, we’re using the principles of gamified learning in our plug-and-play digital campaigns for teams. The learning experiences promote competition, remote social interaction and increase with engagement with a slice of fun on the side. Want to learn more? We’re but an email away!

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