Games and play
have long been viewed as being anathema to education. There’s no denying that the historical attitude that educational content must be somewhat dry in order to be truly
educational has been a pervasive one. But this view is being challenged.
A new approach to learning has been gaining momentum over the last decade or so – gamification.
The name might make you think at first that this means teaching a lesson with a PS5 or a Nintendo Switch, but what it actually means is the inclusion of aspects of games and competition such as scoring, racing against the clock, teamwork, leaderboards, and much more into unexpected contexts to maximise learning.
In recent years, research into gamification has dramatically shifted the perception of the topic. Far from being an aimless distraction, researchers have found that game mechanics actually have the power to improve an individual’s learning and understanding of a subject by tapping into areas of human cognition and psychology that traditional schooling often overlooks.
Karl Kapp, professor at Bloomberg University and a leading light in the study of serious games and the integration of games into employee training, believes that “…By integrating game mechanics into learning experiences, we can tap into our natural desire to play and compete, and make training more effective."
Kapp has authored numerous books and papers on the subject and is a major proponent of making gamification a commonplace teaching tool in the corporate sphere.