Gamification is a recipe for fun and engaging learning that uses game mechanisms. The main idea of gamification is to take the engaging elements of gaming, like the challenge, the element of chance, the competition, the cooperation, the feedback, the rewards, the winning or the progression, and implement them into the teaching process. Let us look at five typical game mechanisms in more detail:
- Interaction and feedback: Games are interactive experiences and every action of a player provides some form of feedback.
- Risk-taking and failure: Feedback in games is non-threatening because it is “risk-free”. Negative feedback (e.g. dying in a video game) is not perceived as a big issue because the player can easily start again or load a previous saved game.
- Customisation: Many (video) games have different difficulty levels, thereby allowing the player to customise their experience.
- Ownership: Most games allow for multiple strategies to succeed, giving the player ownership of the path to take.
- System thinking: Games require the player to understand a system’s rules and relationships, rather than focus on isolated facts, events, or skills. A player must consider their strategy in the context of the system.