Content Gamification: Theories & Instructional Strategies

Kavita Dhami June 23, 2020
‘’From school desks with inkwells and scratchy nibs on paper to sweaty finger prints on a tablet… technology progresses.’’  This quote summarizes the journey of learning from the static environment of a classroom of four walls, around fixed tables and chairs to a digital classroom with smart boards, epubs, educational videos, and online assessments. But, today in this digital era if we ask a question ‘In which activity learners are engaged more?’ The answer would definitely be games, with more engagement and yes deep involvement. These factors stimulate educators to find an alternative way where they can effectively integrate learning into a gaming environment which is widely known as Content Gamification. But, effectively integrating learning into a gaming environment necessitates a strong instructional designing skill. They are the key player in designing and creating a learning pathway that is personalised and upkeeps the emphasis on learning in a gaming environment. Theories and ID’s role in Content Gamification
  • Episodic Memory: Emotions are directly associated with our nervous system, our thoughts, feelings and behavioral responses. And when strong emotions are tied to the memory of the learner, it gives a vivid picture when recalled. 
Creating this memory within a gaming environment, matching the sketched story with the content logically is the base and it requires a strong instructional designing skill. They are responsible for carefully designing content with the game, considering the pedagogical and learners characteristics, ensuring logical flow of content and progressive learning in a well sequenced and structured manner.   
  • Extrinsic Motivation: Learning is an active process where involvement and attentiveness of the learner is required. It can be self initiated or sometimes needs stimulation by adding motives like awarding rewards. 
Now, it is the role of an Instructional designer to identify the structure of rewards and its integration with games to ensure learning happens, keeping learners motivated. This decision is based on several factors like the content complexity, content type and learners interest. Sometimes learners are rewarded just for completing an activity, sometimes how well they completed and sometimes the extent of activity completion.  
  • Distributed Learning Practice: Cramming information just into the learners brain doesn’t last long, it creates confusion. To make learning last long distributed learning practice is proven to be the most effective as it uses multiple short sessions.
And here Instructional designers defines these short sessions from the content provided by SMEs. They are responsible for dividing the whole content into multiple short sessions, ensuring systematic and iterative flow of content. The decision is based on factors like audience knowledge, interest, content complexity, cognitive domains etc.  They also ensure its effective integration in a gaming environment which constructs a learning that lasts long.   Content gamification has significantly shown its presence in the education sector, by providing an environment that excites, engages, and motivates the learner. And Magic EdTech believes in matching the pace of learning supported by a skilled, creative and experienced workforce.  

Kavita Dhami

Kavita is a part of Magic EdTech, EdServices division and is actively engaged in the design and development of immersive learning solutions for our leading K-12 publishing clients.