Games and playing games are as old as civilisation itself and at some stage in life, be it adult or child, we have all played games. Whether this is playing football in the park, a board game at home or simple word games on a long journey, playing games is part of what makes us human. The ‘gamification’ of learning allows us to take the concepts of games, with the associated fun and enjoyment and combine this with the instruction, practice and feedback that is necessary for effective learning to occur. Gamification results in learners becoming more engaged and, importantly, heightens their enjoyment of the learning process.
Crucially, when students are engaged and enjoying the learning process, they are typically able to focus on a learning task for longer, and are likely to demonstrate improved retention of the content they are attempting to master.
Harnessing the excitement and fun of games to aid learning is the fundamental concept behind the gamification of learning. This involves incorporating and integrating game elements within the learning environment to maximise the enjoyment and engagement that learners experience through playing games in order to support specific learning objectives.