What is The Difference Between Gamification and Game Based Learning?

It is a common misconception that gamification refers to game based learning. There is a very fine line between the two and they have their own similarities and differences.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the process in which you transform or use mechanics of a game to make your learning activity sound like a game. It is not based on a game but it is rather a learning process made gamely. A good example would be using leaderboards, quests or achiever badges in the classroom to motivate the learners to improve on their learning ability.

What is game based learning?

Instead of turning a learning process into a game, we are here looking to have a game designed to teach the concepts clearly. We are not changing the mechanics of the learning, but we are changing the entire mode of instruction. The content is made to fit into the game so that the learning becomes more fun and the students do not even realize that they are learning when they are playing. It is the way the academic content is packaged to make it more appealing.

How different are they?

While the objective of both the concepts is to improve and encourage learning, the approach, the strategy and the instances are completely different. They have quite a lot of similarities and very subtle differences.

  1. Gamification is more about motivating the students in a particular train of thought. On the other hand, the game based learning is more about the game and the cognitive knowledge students gain from its content. For instance, games like “The Universe Sandbox” can easily build on the collaborative and strategic skills of the students.
  2. Gamification like achievement badges help to track the performance of a set of students by the instructors or by themselves. Game based learning is more towards sparking that interest in both the struggling and the straight “A” students to do what they always love to do.
  3. When you use both of them effectively, you are designing the best course for the students, which is not classroom like, making it more appealing to the younger generation.

Tips to design the best strategy with gamification:

  1. If you are opting for gamification as your strategy to promote learning, it is important that you keep the mechanics of the process quite simple. Do not have too much of rules and complicated guidelines to read through. It should be easy to understand and follow.
  2. It should match with the objectives or goals of the learners in the course. Creating a badge system is well and fine but having it for each of the subject or skill set will make it more competitive.
  3. Noticing the efforts and applauding the same is the best strategy to follow in a classroom. As humans, we strive for a better recognition every day.

Tips to design game based learning strategy

  1. Games should help the learner to get involved deeply in order to impart the desired knowledge onto them. The game should be interactive and keep the learners on their toes to help them feel related to it.
  2. Many e-learning games fail in the fact that on the way to become challenging they often end up frustrating the player. Research your target group well before designing the game.
  3. In order for your game to provide any real value to the learner, you need to make sure that the objectives are clearly instilled in the game.

Both the options aim to provide an effective instructional medium. Choosing and deploying the right medium is the key for success.

 

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