Educators hardly need any evidence that games are extremely attractive for school-age children, as their classrooms daily surge with non-stop conversations about the latest video games. The struggle, however, is how to harness the thrill of games to further your academic goals. Like a mid-day shot of espresso, gamification can facilitate increased learning and deeper levels of content retention in K-12 students. Trade out the power struggle for the sounds of engaged learning with these 6 keys for successful gamification. 1. Integrate Competition With the World Cup just recently on our news radar, the thrill of competition is evident for everyone. Wise educators can harness this excitement by integrating competition into their gamified educational environments. When students engage in healthy levels of friendly rivalry, either with a classmate or against their personal bests, they are driven to push their learning ahead and excel in their field of knowledge. Astute gamification designers will utilize this drive for competition in several formats resulting in engaged students and increased understanding. 2. Keep it Fun! In the beloved children’s classic Mary Poppins, the titular character played by Julie Andrews sang “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and ‘snap’, the job’s a game.” When students are engaged in their learning in a fun and dynamic way, instead of convincing them to work on the material, educators will be working to convince students to take a break instead! When Magic EdTech built a gamified learning experience for a client, deliberate steps were taken to ensure that the mathematical content was fun and exciting during the student experience with the gaming platform. This model of gamification enables students to enjoy the game experience and motivate them to participate in further learning activities. 3. Instant Feedback 4.9% of students in America ages 5-11 have been diagnosed with ADHD, significantly impacting the environment within a classroom. The propensity for hyperfocus that these students bring to everyday life is a perfect opportunity for gamification within the educational environment. When students with learning disabilities such as ADHD encounter instant feedback, their natural desire for success is triggered while accommodating the need for subtle behavior modifications for increased learning. 4. After Hours Access At this point, over ninety percent of students ages 13-17 have daily access to a mobile device that connects to the internet. When students can access an educational gaming platform remotely, this increases their content interaction and allows for educators to facilitate deeper learning with their students. A gaming platform that is accessible from a mobile device encourages students to take charge of their education, and work on material when they are no longer at school. Working on academic content after hours is a critical element of successful students, and should be a top priority for gamification creators and educators. 5. Recognition is Vital Leaderboards, badges and unlockable content is a driving force in commercial video games and are vital for successful gamification in the classroom. Just as a factory worker will continue to do their best by being acknowledged for their work with non-monetary achievements such as an “Employee-of-the-Month” award, students want recognization for their accomplishments within a gamified environment. Educators do not need to wrack their brains trying to think up ways to create these recognition systems though. Gamification experts have libraries of established game-based simulations that can be crafted to create a new and engaging platform to help educators meet their educational goals. 6. Milestones are Essential Ask almost any post-graduate student who is working on their thesis if they have ever felt discouraged during their thesis writing process, and the answer will be a resounding Yes! Humans are hard-wired to look for milestones to make an overwhelming journey into smaller, attainable goals. In the same way, students need milestones in their educational experiences to help maintain their motivation and encourage them during periods of low excitement. When a gamified environment presents these smaller, achievable goals to students, they are motivated to keep working, always keeping their eyes on the next goal instead of getting bogged down by the immensity of their long-term goals. Integrating these 6 keys into a learning experience can give you the edge you need to create a successful gamification platform. The gamification experts at Magic EdTech can help you achieve your gamification in learning goals. Click here for more information on how you can take your learning experiences to the next level.