First off: What is gamification?
“It is an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning.”
(Kapp, K., Lucas, B., & Rich, M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. John Wiley & Sons.)
The idea is that gamification will make learning fun, students will have increased motivation and participation, and better scores. But my one concern regarding gameification of education is knowing for which audience it would be appropriate to use, particularly in an adult learner setting.
I can see that this would be very appealing and likely very successful teaching strategy for young college students. However, I am not convinced that a middle or older-aged adult would be very amused if the course they were taking was simply turned into a game. This might give the learner the the impression that the course material isn’t serious or worthwhile, particularly if they are taking the course for job-related reasons. Additionally, knowing the struggles that some older learners have with technology, gameification may be a big turn-off, as they don’t feel confident in their technology skills. I also feel like learners might feel that they are wasting time playing games when they feel like they should be doing something more academic.
Maybe I’m not completely sold on this because I was never really into video games as a kid…? (My thumbs were always quite clumsy) 😉