Gamification and Simulation Learning Software: Benefits, Risks, Examples
Table of Contents
Modernizing schools and advancing corporate training with simple but innovative software solutions
Let’s start with the definition of gamification. Gamification in learning is the approach incorporating elements of games, gaming techniques, and thinking strategies. It provides a learner with the opportunity to take a training course as if it were a game. Gamification is a part of a larger trend of mobile learning. Our recent article can tell you more about mobile learning as the 2021 ‘must have’ for edtech.
There are two types of gamification:
- structural gamification,
- content gamification.
Structural gamification means the content doesn’t undergo changes. Only the structure around it does. By contrast, content gamification presumes both content and structure are game-like.
An app used to learn traffic laws before a driving test is an example of structural gamification. The app’s content comprises actual traffic laws, while the structure is organized as a quiz.
Meanwhile, there also are examples of content gamification in educational contexts. For instance, a language learning tool for young kids where they discover a new language as a story. Both content and structure differ from a traditional programming course.
The common elements of educational games include:
- Game levels
- Badges and point-based rewards
- Signposts and hints
- Progress bar or a limited number of steps
- Community interactions
- Story plot
- Non-player characters and a player character
- Mystery boxes or other surprising elements
Simulation in education is a game-based learning approach recreating real-life scenarios. A learner gets a real touch of the studied subject without breaking anything or hurting anyone.
Simulations involve such gamification concepts as:
- Freedom to make mistakes
- Practice and repetition
- Collection of achievements and awards
Simulations model a certain segment of reality essential to the learning problem. For example, it can model an activity, a community, or a phenomenon. These models have to copy reality to the tiniest details.
Unlike games, simulations must include the following elements:
- Realistic tasks organized step-by-step
- Multiple workable outcomes
- Technical accuracy and high fidelity
Apart from simulation and gamification, there are some other interesting trends in edtech. Check our recent article “5 Major Technology Trends in Education in 2021” to learn more.
Let’s Review the Benefits
Here go the main benefits of simulation and gamification in educational settings.
Gamification and simulation allow educators to bring fun into a traditional classroom. And not only fun! AR/VR solutions, AI tools, and other innovative techniques are to follow. The epoch of the boring and monotonous “drill and test” routine is over. The school which doesn’t want to change its approach to teaching is bound to lose the competition. Both student admission and performance drop.
Advancing corporate training
Games and simulations work not only in school settings. Simulation and gamification platforms can also be an important part of corporate training. People use gamified learning tools in healthcare or manufacturing. These are the fields that leave no place for errors. Professionals working in the hospitality and restaurant industry also use such tools. They don’t want to spoil the customer experience with trainees’ mistakes. Moreover, fitness coaches can use simulation software for education as reference material.
Improving attention and memory
The idea behind gamification and simulation is to keep learners aroused. When a person is alert, excited, or stressed, their brain can easily store new memories. And if people experience positive emotions, it’s doubly easier for them to stay focused. They spend more time learning without getting distracted.
Challenging skills and knowledge
People get tired of simple monotonous tasks. Challenging learners to do a difficult but achievable task. It will keep their motivation in learning on a high level. Educational technology tools make the challenging system simple. Each level is a small challenge to take. Games and simulations challenge users to solve problems and make decisions. They stimulate learner intellect. At the same time, such apps allow for making mistakes without actually hurting anyone or anything.
Letting students set their own pace
Each student has a different background knowledge. They memorize new material at a different pace. Making a group of students study in the same way is ineffective. Some of them will feel bored, while others will fall behind. As a result, frontrunners will lose motivation to keep on learning. Weaker students will feel pressured. And high learning pressure, in turn, translates into lowered academic performance. With gamification and simulation, you let each student learn at their own pace.
Saving time, costs, and effort
Developing a gamified learning app or simulation for one learner is not cost-efficient at all. Yet, developing it for a school or an organization is an investment that will pay off soon. By buying a ready-made solution for school/corporate training or developing a custom one, you automate or at least augment an entire learning course. It means you save on time, costs, and effort when preparing and conducting the course.
And What About the Risks?
And now, it’s high time to check the risks of gamification in learning and education.
If you gamify everything, you risk losing in learning results. Educators should deliver different aspects of learning via different methodologies. Along with gamification in education, there are classroom instruction, webinars, and e-learning courses.
Forcing everyone into games
You cannot expect that each student or trainee will enjoy gamification or simulation. There are people who treat learning seriously. Making them play instead will result in adverse learning experiences. Students may feel dissatisfied, confused, or skeptical.
Over-focusing on fun
While focusing on making your course fun, don’t forget about the purpose you pursue. Gamification and simulation help you achieve the learning goal. They are not the goal themselves.
You have to track the performance and productivity of your students. Don’t forget about regular outcome assessment while pursuing other gamification techniques. Otherwise, you risk failing the essential purpose of learning and training.
Our Favorite Examples
Gamification examples in education are much closer than you think. You surely have heard about Duolingo or Busuu. Let me show you some other examples of gamification apps for education you haven’t heard about.
- Quiz your English
Quiz your English is an app for studying English by taking quizzes. It’s suitable for learners who already know English at the A1–C1 level. This app is available for both Android and iOS.
- Let’s Start Coding
Let’s Start Coding is a desktop app for children who want to learn to code. It’s one of the game-based learning solutions we have developed. Let’s Start Coding allows children and parents to personalize their learning path and reach the highest results. Check the reviews to make sure.
It may seem that the examples of business simulation software for education are harder to find. That’s because simulations are harder to develop compared to gamified apps. Nonetheless, there are plenty of vivid cases we’d like to share.
- Dental Simulator
Dental Simulator is one of the best simulation software we have ever encountered. This app introduces an entirely new approach to learning dentistry. Available for both iOS and Android, the app is targeted only at individual users. Yet, the university version may come soon.
- Cosmic Watch
Cosmic Watch is an Android and iOS learning simulation app letting users learn more about the Solar System. By simulating the celestial sphere, this app offers a unique insight into the extraterrestrial world.
- Crazy Machines
Crazy Machines is a desktop simulation game for children and adults teaching the basics of physics. By moving around different elements and mechanisms, the user has to make a certain machine work. The third edition of this gamification training software is now available.
Do you have an idea for an educational simulation or gamification platform?
Learn more about the quality education software services we offer and the challenges we solve.
Let’s Sum It Up
Nobody can decide for you whether to use gamification techniques in your training or learning process. You know what others will tell you. Of course, “take a pen and write down a list of pros and cons.” And today, we are here to do it for you. Let me remind you of some advantages we suggested earlier:
- Modernizing schools
- Advancing corporate training
- Improving attention and memory
- Challenging skills and knowledge
- Letting students set their own pace
- Saving time, costs, and effort
Don’t forget about potential risks. Careful project planning will help you avert them:
- Forcing everyone into games
- Over-focusing on fun
- Neglecting assessment
We hope that your discussion will help. If education software development seems like the right choice, get in touch with our team to discuss the next steps.