This video allows to get a good understanding of the benefits of gamification for Education:
This is a website only about Games: Games for Change
What I Have Learned about Gamification
Everything I have learned about gamification, I have learned it from this course (forum discussion and research on the topic).
Games and Courses are composed of the same elements: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation. I have never thought of that and I find it is fabulous!
Games trigger natural desires in human beings: Competition, Achievement, Status, Altruism, Community Collaboration and many more.
Many games can be played in collaboration with other players therefore the common critique that games creates isolation is wrong. It doesn’t create more social isolation than regular learning (a part is done individually, and only in good courses, a part is done in collaboration with other learners). Therefore games can be used to develop social skills as well as cognitive and emotional skills (for example, accepting failure is easier in a game and it is a good skill to have).
The fact that games provide instant feedback is ideal for the learning process. We all know that in any course, the faster we are able to provide feedback, the better it is for the learner.
I think it is important to make a distinction between video games used for learning (educational games found by the instructor) and games introduced in the course and maybe developed by the instructor. About the latter, whether they are on the computer or not, they don’t always have the following characteristic found in video games: you can get to the next level (higher skills ability learning) only if you have passed the current level. This is also very positive for learning since we know that it is important to build new knowledge on good foundations.
The consequence of this level strategy is that assessment and learning are not really separated in gamification of education; at least if we consider that kind of video games. I believe that it is also very accurate for learning since assessment for learning is recognized as a positive strategy for learning. In addition the stress caused by regular assessment is probably diminished in games. Although that can be a source of discussion since excitement (often triggered by a high level of motivation while playing) is also a kind of stress.
At last, one have to admit that gamification of education is helping students’ engagement to increase and this is a very important point. I disagree with the fact that games provide only extrinsic motivation so this is a question of debate for me. Students can very well be aware that they are learning through games and that can be their motivation; there is nothing wrong about being proud of succeeding to reach your learning objectives even though you do it through a game.
However, gamification of education doesn’t imply that everything in a course has to be a game. Gamification is one more learning strategy. Even though it appears to be efficient, it doesn’t have to be the only learning strategy used in class. If we consider assessment, for example, assessment of learning can still be developed using regular components.