The use of game-based learning in education is not a new concept, as it has been present for decades. What is needed are modern approaches, methods and appropriate tools that can be used outside conventional teaching (that focuses on information transmission and memory) within virtual learning environments. In the international Game4Change (Erasmus+) project, DOBA Business School, together with our partners, will develop a course on Next Generation Entrepreneurship, which will use gamification elements to put experiential learning at the forefront, and teachers will be the creators, agents and facilitators of change, nudging and nurturing attitudes, skills and behaviours that will prepare students for the realities of tomorrow’s world.
As pedagogical paradigms are continuously evolving, in response to the shift in socio-cultural, economic, and technological landscapes, students are expected to be more independent and active in the way they create and navigate their learning experiences. Technologies will be ever-changing and evolving, thus requiring a more holistic and human-centred approach for students to develop inter- and transdisciplinary skills towards becoming active lifelong learners. The educational landscape will continue to change and evolve, as pedagogy is shifting from traditional didactics to more hands-on activities and from more hands-on activities to highly connected experiences.
Gamification of learning is an educational approach that seeks to motivate students by using game elements in learning environments to capture their interest and inspire them for further studies. Gamification is most simply defined as the use of game elements (e.g. leaderboards, badges, points – e.g. quizzes, achievements, levels, challenges, narratives, avatars, virtual goods, etc.) in contexts that do not involve games per se. An example of such a situation is when students have to read an article as instructed by the instructor in order to prepare for the next lecture (e.g. flipped learning). In line with the design of gamification, students who read the article and discuss it in a relevant way receive an additional incentive for participation in the form of points. We can speak of gamification only when the visualisation of progress encourages the student to engage in a desired behaviour that resembles that of playing games (e.g. showing a percentage of progress and suggesting further activities to the user to make the percentage higher). The power of gamification lies in the effect it has on student motivation.
Some of the most distinctive elements of gamification that are already being used in the pedagogical process at DOBA Business School are:
By integrating gamification into the study process, DOBA Business School aims to use game elements to increase interest and motivation and to improve student learning outcomes. Gamification increases student activity and engagement in the learning process, encourages collaboration and enables feedback, integrates change easily and without delay, provides a safe environment for students who might have difficulties sharing their opinions in a large group of people, and provides rewards for quality work.