The process of learning is essential to our existence. It is necessary to develop critical thinking skills and discover new ways of connecting with other people and cultures. Having that in mind it is vital to understand that learning should not be a task or considered as work but that can not be avoided because most of the educational institutions are stuck in a vicious cycle.
When most of the teenagers think about the school they think like it is something that they have to do not because they want to. But how does that happen? Most kids in kindergartens cannot wait until they go back to the place and learn something new. Most of the primary school students are excited about the first days of school. How does it change so drastically? The answer is that it becomes no longer fun.
Why Learning Should be Fun?
In this digital age filled with engagement crisis issues, it is critical to be able to keep your attention as long as possible to something important. While our attention span is slowly decreasing we need to find ways of making learning fun.
The reason why learning becomes no longer pleasant is that the traditional education system puts everything in certain frames that cannot be exceeded. One of the biggest mistakes in school is that students are constantly told that learning is deadly serious and fun is the complete opposite of it. When a certain activity becomes boring, students try to entertain ourselves with other things like looking at their mobile phone, playing games or just counting dots on the ceiling.
It should be taught that having fun while doing something serious is not bad. Fun activities should be embraced because that is where the full potential lies. Creativity and imagination are fundamental for students because it is the only way how students can get from point A to point B without educators help.
How to Make Learning Fun?
Keeping students engaged in a task can be a tough challenge even for an experienced teacher, therefore, it is crucial to find new ways to keep students attention. One of the most critical elements in making education interesting is a variety of activities and information. If the lessons remain the same every day eventually it will get boring even for the keenest students. Here are some suggestions on making learning fun:
- Give control. As some of the psychological studies suggest, people like to feel in control of what they are doing, this is why it is important to offer the students to choose what or how they will be doing or studying that day. The scholars will choose the task that seems the most fun and not boring so the engagement and motivation to do it will be a lot higher.
- Make it practical. One of the most common questions among scholars is “where am I going to use this”, “why do I need this information?”. The biggest mistake would be telling that they need it, but not explaining why. While making learning fun, giving practical examples could increase interest in the subject simply because it will become more relatable and understandable.
- Make breaks not only between lessons but even in the lesson itself. As already mentioned above we live in an age of engagement crisis and expecting that the students will keep their attention throughout all lectures could be one of the biggest mistakes. This is why it needs to be reset more frequently. Just a minute or two for students to have a quick bathroom break, refreshments or take a sneak peek at their phones can lead to not being distracted during the lesson.
- Gamify it. Gamification in learning has the biggest chances to make the learning process fun. To make it so it is needed to put game elements into a place that is non-game related, in this situation - learning. Achievements, leaderboards, badges, and levels can significantly increase interest in the subject.
Having all these methods it is pretty clear that making learning fun is not a hard idea to execute. The important note to take from this is that educators need to pay attention to their audience and react to it. Once there is a mutual interest between the teachers and the scholar then it will be a lot easier to reach the needed goals and the easiest way to do it is through gamification.
How Gamification Will Make Learning Fun?
For starters, gamification is one of the most innovative technological ideas in modern education. Game elements are used to increase their users' involvement and make the whole process more fun.
Gaming activities follow human beings throughout their whole lives. Since the very first steps, they start to understand their surrounding nature while playing games, exploring, and mostly - having fun. That is why it is so essential to understand the meaning of gamification.
Gamified versions of learning interact with the user and use many elements to make the process more interesting. Let’s have a look at some of them:
- Leaderboards. Everyone likes to compete to a certain level. Healthy competition between friends, colleagues, classmates can help a lot while making learning fun embrace them to work harder to reach the top of the ladder.
- Levels. The most common game element that is used to describe how much effort does one has put into the process of doing something. Having a certain level can motivate the user to continue what he started, and to reach for bigger goals. Either way, levels work in a sense of achievement which causes the user to be proud of himself.
- Daily missions. It works in a way of a challenge to a user. This is a great way to let the user know that he can come back to the activity every day and find something to work on.
- Rewards. It is a lot more motivating knowing that there is a reward by the end of the activity. Rewards are highly appreciated whether they are super useful or not. Virtual goods that can be used to improve the making learning fun process are very valuable and retain the users' involvement even longer.
- Avatars. Customizing your profile, channel or a virtual character leads to a certain attachment since you are creating something from a scratch and it feels like you have complete ownership of it. Automatically, the desire to improve your character grows, so it is a good motivational and fun system to engage the users to stay or keep coming back to activity even more.
All of these elements that can be found in modern games bring huge benefits and should be taken into serious consideration of every educational platform.
Why is Gamification in Learning Effective?
Every specific game element is used to have a certain impact on the user. Since every student or scholar cannot be categorized by the same amount of talent or capabilities it is important to acknowledge the fact that everyone needs a special kind of treatment. Of course, in public schools or universities, it is extremely hard to do so. While making learning fun, this is why gamification is so important because:
- It gives full autonomy to the student. Autonomy or the free will to act is very important, especially to teenager students. Having a certain goal and boundaries will help to control the free will so it would not get out of hand. Nonetheless, having the autonomy to act whenever a person desires naturally raises the feeling of responsibility.
- It gives a feeling of mastering. Games are well known to perfectly describe when the user masters something. Imagine the feeling when you suddenly realize that you just mastered a certain topic in any kind of subject like science. Feels good, right?
- It adapts to every student's needs. As mentioned slightly above none of us are the same. We see and understand the world through different colors and it takes different methods and periods to learn something. In this case, gamification in learning allows choosing the difficulty level so that the ones who are having a hard time understanding the topic could progress as slow as they need to.
Making learning fun is an easy task to execute if you use the correct methods. It is important to understand that different kinds of scholar generations require different types of education. Having fun is what drives us and makes us feel more engaged in the activity, so with the help of gamification in learning it is plain sailing.