Want to banish boredom and eradicate low motivation in your classes? Genially has tons of resources to help you implement educational gamification, a strategy that enhances learning and teaching. Check out these tips we’ve put together to get you creating great gamified content!
Read on to find several examples of gamification in the classroom using our awesome templates. They’re perfect for gamifying the classroom in any learning environment, whether it be in-person, online, or blended.
What is gamification?
Gamification involves applying elements of game-play to any other context to achieve certain objectives. The objectives can vary but, in general, it’s about achieving a certain behavior or action. For example, gathering survey responses, facilitating the assimilation of complex concepts, or simplifying tasks.
This methodology is used in different fields, and increasingly in education.
The power of games is something we should never underestimate. Gamification seeks to use this power as leverage to achieve certain goals, and has been proven effective in improving the learning experience for people of all ages.
Is gamification a product of the digital age?
No; it has been practiced since ancient times and it is impossible to pin down an exact date of the origins of gamification.
Reward-based loyalty systems are an example of gamification, and while there are many examples of gamification that are completely analog, the relationship between gamification and technology is evident.
Technological advances offer many more possibilities for developing this strategy: as well as enabling us to create impressive content, numerous tools now exist which allow us to connect people and share.
Why use gamification in education?
If educational gamification is new to you, you may be questioning its effectiveness in the world of education. Games are for fun and entertainment, right? Yep! And for the same reason they are also a powerful educational resource.
The explanation lies in our brains: when we play games, we produce dopamine, a substance related to learning and memory. When we experience pleasant sensations like solving a problem or getting an answer right, we release dopamine. That’s why we tend to repeat any action that provides some kind of satisfaction or reward.
Beyond the reward, games are appealing to us because they are set in a fictional environment. Players can more or less control the situation, and also decide if they want to play or not. The structure of the game and the way rewards are achieved also draw us in. There is an artistic aspect and a scientific aspect involved in gamification.
Science will back us up when we say gamification fosters learning and teaching. And what’s more, it allows your students to have lots of fun and increases their curiosity and desire to learn.
What are the objectives of educational gamification?
Loyalty, motivation, and reward are, in essence, the objectives that gamification in education helps to achieve, enabling improved results in teaching and learning. In practical terms, this means:
- Facilitating the assimilation of complex concepts
- Improving students’ skills
- Rewarding certain behaviors, actions, or achievements
Gamification can cover a topic, a subject, or an entire course. And as well as helping students assimilate theoretical knowledge, it is effective in strengthening team dynamics and values such as collaboration and altruism.
And how are the goals achieved?
In playing games, children seek to obtain validation of their abilities and competencies, build relationships, and make autonomous or independent decisions. In order for gamification to succeed, you need to design the experience with this in mind.
Making the most of this strategy involves developing a complete system. It doesn’t mean creating a single game, but an entire environment that combines different game mechanics: rewards, feedback, levels, and even a little competition among students.
A structure with effective mechanisms that meet needs such as self-expression or seeing their achievements recognized will engage students and make them want to continue playing.
Similarly, it is important to design feedback messages so that they reinforce the right answers and encourage them to try again when they get it wrong.
How to create successful gamified teaching content in 5 steps
- Set your objectives. Create a list of your teaching goals; what do you want your students to learn? What values would you like to promote?
- Use your storytelling skills. To do this, think about your students: what do they like? What are their hobbies? The key is to connect with the students and make them feel like the protagonists.
- Define the mechanics of the game and the motivation. Setting a series of exercises for them to calculate the answers is not gamification, however much the aesthetics of the game may be based on their likes or hobbies. How can you engage them and get them to keep playing? When will you provide the feedback?
- Find the tools and elements you want to use. You need a tool that makes your job easier, and with which it is easy to create an engaging story, with resources to illustrate and structure it as quickly and easily as possible.
Enter Genially. Genially has everything you need, including over 70 templates specifically designed for teachers who want to create gamified content (quizzes, board games, escape rooms…), as well as tons of resources to make it super simple.
- Make it fun! Once the whole system is created, try to look back over it through your students’ eyes and make sure you have built a fun learning experience.
Want more info on how to implement gamification and game-based learning? Check out our Genially Academy course ‘Have fun learning’. In no time you’ll be an educational gamification whizz. 😏
Best templates and examples of gamification in education
Now all that remains is to take a look at the gamification resources we can use in our classes. In Genially we’ve divided them into four categories:
- Educational breakouts
- Escape rooms
- Board games
- Interactive games
Each of these activities develop different skills or reinforces certain content. Do you want to know how to get the most out of them and make sure they’re a resounding success in your classes? Let’s go!
Present your students with a motivating story! Invite them to overcome challenges, unlock boxes, or uncover surprises. To do this, they’ll have to accumulate correct answers by solving questions and math problems, translating words or phrases, placing events in chronological order, and more!
Educational breakouts are a fantastic tool for gamifying the classroom because:
- They can be adapted to any kind of content
- They’re perfect for activating prior knowledge, and also for revising
- They promote collaboration and teamwork
- They teach students the value of persevering in the face of challenges
- They help develop skills like problem solving and critical thinking
- They activate higher-order cognitive functions, such as analysis and evaluation
- And they’re really fun!
Take your students on an adventure with an educational breakout like this one. Their mission is to find the 4 gems to activate the sword which will slay the fearsome dragon of the dungeon.
To enrich the learning experience even more, you can combine it with other activities before and after the breakout. For example:
- We can open the session with a learning trigger which will generate curiosity. In the dungeon breakout, the protagonist must pass all the tests until they obtain the powerful sword to defeat the dragon. But what if before the breakout, we play an audio message from the mysterious person who forged the sword? As well as capturing students’ attention, the audio can contain clues which will help them resolve the challenges in the breakout.
- Once they’ve completed all the challenges, pose some questions to help them auto-evaluate their performance, such as:
- Would you have resolved any of the challenges differently?
- In which challenge do you think you helped out most (or least) and why?
- How would you change the story of this breakout?
- What 3 new things have you learned about your classmates (or yourself) in this challenge?
And don’t forget to make note of their responses! They’ll help you create the next breakouts so they’re even more successful with your students.
Though escape rooms and breakouts are very similar, they’re not the same. In breakouts you have to open or unlock something, such as a box or a padlock. But in escape rooms the main objective is to escape from somewhere.
Their benefits as gamification activities are also very similar. And even more so if played in teams, as this promotes cohesion in the group and each team member’s strengths can be valued.
Education escape room
As you can see, the possibilities for personalization in this escape room are endless. To keep your students hooked from beginning to end, start by writing a text or story in the introduction. Edit the characters and include clues and information. All the characters can be suspicious!
Finally, you just need to edit each of the tests or challenges. Want to make it more exciting? Set a time limit in which to complete the mission and escape.
As with breakouts, you can make your escape room more immersive by drawing on prior learning, surprising them with extra objects or resources to set the scene even further, and including reflective questions at the end.
Wouldn’t it be nice to bring the fun of your favorite board games into your class and have your students learn at the same time?
Gamifying your class with board games is possible and has lots of benefits:
- They promote observation, concentration, and imagination
- Depending on the age group, using board games in class can help students consolidate concepts and content such as vocabulary, numbers, etc.
- They invite students to solve problems, make decisions, and strategize
- They teach students to respect rules (acceptance of the game rules will translate to house rules, school rules, and other real-world contexts)
- They improve communication and cooperation
- They help students to control their impatience and tolerate frustration (they can’t always win!)
Everyone has a favorite childhood board game. Maybe yours is one of the classics, like checkers or 4 in a row, or maybe you prefer to discover new games with more original and adventurous rules or boards, like this awesome Jumanji-inspired board.
Board games are so adaptable that you can use them to teach or revise materials from any subject. Even gym! In this Jumanji example, we can work on cross-sectional content related to sustainability, for example, such as getting to know the flora and fauna of our planet and their environmental importance. We’ll show you how.
- Start with a video that introduces the theme you’ll be working on and whose protagonists are the most representative animals of each continent. The aim of the game will be to get to the end and reunite all the animals. But to do this, they’ll have to overcome obstacles!
- Try different kinds of tests or challenges in each interactive square: riddles, topic-related questions, physical challenges, and whatever you can think of! Include text, images, gifs, or videos to illustrate it and make it more fun. An example of a physical challenge could be: ‘If your turn you don’t want to lose, hop 10 meters in a kangaroo’s shoes’.
- We get to the final square and… JUMANJI! Don’t forget to say the code word aloud to get all the animals back together.
That’s what happens when you open the Jumanji board… you can’t stop playing until you finish the game!
Are you a fan of game shows and competitions with a grand prize at the end? Take the excitement to your classes with one of our interactive games. Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, the list goes on!
These games are great because:
- They transform typical revision activities into something that’s much more fun and exciting
- They boost students’ desire to achieve, by awarding points for each correct answer
- They downplay students’ errors and encourage them to keep trying
- They improve students’ self-confidence
- They allow you to easily identify the content that needs revision
Want something simple, but super fun and motivating? Gamify your classroom with Wheel of Fortune. You and your students will enjoy every spin of the wheel and adding more and more points for each correct answer. The grand prize awaits! What will it be?
Genial Wheel Quiz
You can adapt the Wheel of Fortune with questions and answers on any topic. But, if you’re in a face-to-face class, you can also give them tests to work out in the classroom before coming back to the genially to select the correct response. For example, if it’s a geography question, you can ask them what the 3 longest rivers in Europe are. To find the answer, they’ll need to work with a physical map to find and select the correct answer.
It doesn’t matter if you play individually or in teams, in a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid… When you gamify your classroom there’s always one clear winner: MOTIVATION!