Gamification has been identified to have huge benefits in many industries. It can be an innovative way to enhance products and processes and make them appeal to a certain market. Education is one area where gamification can be most beneficial – and 11 Plus Success has been exploring the possibilities of gamification to increase learning potential and engagement with 11 plus preparations.
Like Anu, the founder of 11 Plus Success, and many other parents, we already know the number of educational programmes and apps that keep our children engaged for a long time are minimal. Unlike video games and gaming apps, most educational apps don’t keep our kids as engaged, unfortunately.
So, what if both education and gaming could collide into one, delivering educational apps that keep kids interested in learning and motivated to learn more? 11 Plus Success understands that this must be the goal of future exam preparation if we want our children to reach their maximum potential.
What Is Gamification?
So, what really is gamification? And how would it work within educational software and apps?
First, gamification is a way of incorporating things mostly associated with online/offline gaming to make people engage with a product or service. It has been done by marketing teams countless times. One famous example is McDonald’s when they annually release their Monopoly game. This game is where buyers of their food can collect tokens and win prizes or free food. In the end, more people go to McDonald’s because of the game they have introduced.
But gamification can also be used in educational technologies to make learners engage with the content more effectively. The ways to introduce gamification into apps may include, but are not limited to:
- Rewards with virtual coins which they can then spend on more virtual items or prizes
- Unlocking new questions and quizzes
- Gamification badges that they must collect
- Levelling up on subjects
- Leaderboards and competitions
- Online trophies and certificates
- Touchscreen technology
Naturally, we would not want educational apps and EdTech turning into another video game. There must be a balance between providing educational experiences and learning opportunities with gamified aspects of the technology. Too much old-fashioned learning or too much gamification can inhibit learning and the potential of your child.
11 Plus Success has been implementing ways of increasing engagement of learners – but aims to do even more in the near future. While preparing for a very serious 11 plus exam, our online course has been designed to be more engaging and interactive, with hints of gamification along the way. This is why our course is getting results and helping parents keep even the most disinterested students engaged with their 11 plus success preparations.
Gamification Will Maintain Our Kids’ Attention
Research into children’s brains and how they work has already told us that when they stop enjoying their education – dare we say it stop ‘having fun’ – then learning also ceases. Students of all ages must be engaged with what they are learning, but also the way they access new information. With high engagement and minimal stress from learning experiences, information flows freely, and children can make connections between information effortlessly. Ultimately, they experience more EUREKA moments when learning is engaging.
Building on this, learning can be supercharged if it is not just engaging – but it is also pleasurable! What we mean by pleasure is that the brain will release Dopamine. When Dopamine is released by our brain, it feels nice and we start to crave more Dopamine. But in order to get more Dopamine release, we must first repeat the activity that gave us it in the first place. In this case, children must continue to study, which they will want to!
Yet, there is even another benefit of Dopamine. Its release stimulates the release of something else called acetylcholine. This other substance is what increases our attention, leading to an improved retention of information.
Other Ways of Striking the Balance with EdTech
Believe it or not, even some kids become disengaged with video games. Why they do this is also an important lesson for those creating educational technologies. The majority of the time, children disengage with gaming because the games they play are far too easy or far too difficult. Therefore, game developers need to strike the perfect balance and make games challenging but achievable.
This balance in game development needs to be present within the concept of educational programmes. Those that design technologies to prepare for exams must get the balance correct. Even if education software has the right balance of gamification aspects, if it is too challenging or too easy, children will not engage.
Is There Another Side to Gamification? Feelings…
Most people who already know something about gamification will tend to focus on the functionality, i.e. those points you can score and virtual trophies you can win. But gamification can also be the way using the software makes our children feel. Do they feel that while they are learning they are unravelling a mystery and uncovering information or clues – maybe with a detective character? The different parts of gamification should also make children feel excited to be using the technologies. After all, this is what will release Dopamine and achieve its associated benefits.
How Our 11 Plus Course Increases Engagement
We want to keep improving our online 11 plus course, and one way of doing that is by introducing more aspects of gamification. This is not something we will rush because achieving the right balance is essential.
At the moment, we have already made sure our course keeps children engaged. Instead of providing dull online lessons, we have already:
- Made lessons animated
- Introduced interactive lessons
- Included interactive video tutorials
This helps us target the same principles as gamification – some people may even consider these things gamification already – by making learning fun and enjoyable. But you can expect 11 Plus Success to investigate the gamification potential of our services to make sure your child reaches their full potential.
Staying Engaged with 11 Plus Exam Prep
If your child does not feel motivated to study and prepare for their 11 plus exam, don’t worry. We have already written a dedicated blog on the dos and don’ts for parents in this situation.
Parents can also boost their engagement by considering our interactive online course, merging the benefits of an aspect of gamification and serious 11 plus learning.Speak to our team for more details!