EduSpark Summit 2022: Gamified learning: the way forward?

A lot of parents are inclined to opt for gamified learning for their children as gamification for learning can be beneficial because games instil lifelong skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, social awareness, cooperation, and collaboration. At the AnimatonXpress’ EduSpark Summit’s ‘Gamified learning: the way forward?’ panel discussion included eminent speakers Creative Galileo founder Prerna Jhunjhunwala, Bigfatphoenix Interactive head of product Bhavna Padmanbhan, Quizbee co-founder Abhinav Anand, AlmaBetter co-founder and CTO Vikash Srivastava, SXILL School founder Vineet Raj Kapoor and the session was moderated by Tapas Progressive Learning founder Preethi Vickram.

Currently, India is at the threshold of change in terms of education. Vickram shared, “It is an exciting time to be part of the education system. Whenever we talk to parents and teachers we always talk about how we are teaching 19th century content and are being taught by 20th century teachers and learnt by 21st century learners who are looking forward to leading a life in the 22nd century.” Therefore it is essential to connect all of these. 

 The discussion opened on whether game-based learning or gamification is the same or not. Paddmanbhan expressed that it is true that a lot of our skills were developed through play. For example, games like Hide and Seek helped us to identify danger or how to survive/hide from danger. 

She added, “Approach learning experiences through the basic design principles that all game studios use for their games. For any game you pick up for the first time, you have to actually learn how to play the game before you actually excel at the game. There are basic principles around game design that help to learn anything; it could be math, life skills, physics or how to do the job when they will be employed by somebody. Gamification and game-based learning are two different things as per me. There are a lot of companies working really hard to create game-based experience work for a learning situation.”

Today we live in a very large country and the education system is very fragmented. The quality of education available in tier one is not really available in tier two cities. Technology today has the ability to be democratizing factors in India and gamification in education can bring just that. Today we have a 1:40 teacher-student ratio and the education system is not personalised therefore teachers are unable to know exactly the quality of the child. “Gamification personalises learning to the child’s aptitude and it personalises learning to the child’s learning curve. Second thing, gamification attracts child’s retention and engagement. The attention span of the children has become smaller and smaller therefore you can’t expect the children to co-operate with 40 mins of lecture the old school way and expect the student to be attentive in the classroom. Therefore you need that excitement in the classroom to keep the student engaged,” added Jhunjhunwala.

Jhunjhunwala also shared that the third is principles of learning where teachers introduce concepts to students. Concrete concepts, abstract concepts, and simple concepts can be introduced first and later complex concepts can be taught. “All these different principles can be packaged very nicely in a game and the students do not need to be dependent upon the skillsets of a teacher. Games can become the main support to make learning more effective,” she added.

Anand expressed that no students enjoy studying but 20 years back teachers who brought the gamification element/competitive element in the classroom or added the fun element in the classroom have helped students to study that subject more and score good marks. In fact, students interact more and engage more with these subjects and the teachers.

Anand added, “If you want to do something you don’t have to get addicted to it. If users want to compete, let them compete. Make sure they have the mental balance and are of the right age. Here you make sure that whatever they are doing, they are doing it the right way and are not stretching the time span too much, say about 18 hours; that is where the parents and teacher step in and point out that they are doing the right thing but in the wrong way.”

Over the years students have been treated in a way where if they don’t study they have to face consequences. Vikash Srivastava added, “We need to understand that our target audiences, learners, may have insecurities, they can have feelings and reasons. So we do not have to discipline them in the form of threats. Instead, we need to focus on the  perspective while we design the course, instructional design or while we are actually developing the product .”

Games help to build interpersonal skills, boost a sense of accomplishment,  and quality to perform under pressure. And games help to learn quickly and in an engaging manner.

Gamification has been there all along. Originally every education system and every institution originally was gamified and it suited that culture in due time. Today it is about tweaking the system rather than redoing it.

Kapoor added, “Gamification at its core requires choices. If you tried to gamify something involving choices, we should not add all the attributes but we should pick and choose.”

Jhunjhunwala also simplifies how gamification has been divided into two parts. “When you incorporate gamification in the classroom it is a two-part process – tech-based gamification or non-tech based gamification. Where we don’t have digitised classrooms, gamification can still be a part of learning; instead of worksheets, we can assign quests to the children, using team building games to study before the tests instead of class parties and treats and we can actually ask children to earn merit points, or points for the next class field trip and do the assignments over there. More and more activities help children to get hands-on learning.”

Overall the session was quite insightful. The panellists shared how gamification is different from game-based learning. To introduce gamification to the higher level all the stakeholders like government, schools, and teachers should come together to bring resources of gamification and make education fun and engaging.