Gamification is defined as “the process of creating opportunities for interactions and game experiences that have the potential to motivate and engage users for non-entertainment purposes.” (Kronisch, 2016). In other words, the use of gamification is not intended to entertain the user, but to offer or provide certain unique learning opportunities that allow the understanding of the subject through the game.
The benefit to learning is also because gamification offers instant feedback, showing progress during the class and recognition for having completed a mission. (Kapp, 2012 quoted in De Rocha Seixas, De Melo Filho & Sandro Gomes, 2016). This manages to generate a high commitment and motivation in users.
Several researchers have tried to figure out what keeps users concentrated and engaged in the game. One of the possible reasons may be the combination of fantasy together with curiosity and challenges (Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004 quoted in De Rocha Seixas, De Melo Filho & Sandro Gomes, 2016).
Dynamics and Mechanics
There are two possible variables to understand this and they are: the dynamics and the mechanics of the game.
The mechanics of the game are related to the control you have over the levels of the game and the actions that lead to it. These are practically the rules and properties that compose it (Bunchball, 2010 quoted in De Rocha Seixas, De Melo Filho & Sandro Gomes, 2016).
Some of the features that highlight the game mechanics are:
- Points: Points are the rewards given to users, stimulating competition and user participation. (Werbach and Hunter, 2012, p.74, Chou, 2014 quoted in De Rocha Seixas, De Melo Filho & Sandro Gomes, 2016).
- Levels: Players move up a level when they complete a goal or have completed their participation.
- Achievements, challenges and medals: For each challenge completed, an award or medal is given as a distinctive symbol that the test has been passed and the next level reached.
- Virtual Goods: With the points you have managed to accumulate during the game, you can exchange them to buy items or clothing that will help you personalize your avatar.
- Classification table, Ranking, and Scoreboard: These types of tables encourage competition among users by showing the accumulation of points that each player has achieved during the game.
On the other hand, the dynamics of the game will be the intermediary between the game experience and the rules of the game, so the game mechanics will work by the dynamics, which integrates the following variables:
- Reward: This will present itself after an action as a stimulus for a certain pattern of behavior to be repeated.
- Status: One of the human needs is to be recognized.
- Achievements: By seeking challenges and setting goals, the user develops a sense of accomplishment once the goal has been reached.
- Self-expression: The personalization part of an avatar can be a great way to express yourself by trying to make you look like yourself.
- Competition: When the player knows that the winner will be rewarded, he tends to reach high levels in the game, and comparing his performance with that of other people generates some satisfaction.
Gamification in the classroom
Video games can become a determining factor in children’s education, as they offer a huge amount of stimuli that can help develop the socio-emotional part, which is very important at an early age. In addition, several studies have shown that learning through play is possible, so adapting video games to a more friendly and educational content will help them to reinforce all the knowledge they have already acquired in class, all while having fun and practicing values such as perseverance, motivation, responsibility, competence, etc.
In order to integrate video games into educational planning, it is important that games are selected according to the topic and objectives of the class to avoid completely losing focus.
If you are looking for a site that is reliable and fully adapted to the curriculum of the school year, we recommend TAK-TAK-TAK, the free educational video game platform, aligned to the national curriculum of the Ministry of Public Education (SEP). It contains a wide variety of games that cover topics such as Math, Spanish, Science, Civics and Ethics, Art Education, History and Emotional Development, so you don’t have to worry about finding the ideal game for your class.
Kronisch, C. (2016). Gamification. Concepts and Theories [Ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/24042745/Gamification_Concepts_and_Theories
De Rocha Seixas, L., De Melo Filho, I., & Sandro Gomes, A. (2016).Effectniveness of Gamification in the Engagement of Students [Ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288174854
Maseda, H., & García, R. (2020). Dinámicas de juego: ¿Por qué no hablamos más de ellas?. Retrieved 28 May 2020, from http://www.startvideojuegos.com/dinamicas-de-juego-por-que-no-hablamos-mas-de-ellas/