Gamification Elements in the Virtual Classroom

Written by April Willis

April 14, 2022

In this article, we will explore a few examples of using gamification in the virtual classroom. We hope you will have a better idea of how you can incorporate gaming elements into your virtual instruction techniques. 

Timed Quizzes

Timed quizzes are one of the most effective tools in student learning.  Timed quizzes are effective for the following reasons:

  • Teachers set the tone in terms of question difficulty, content covered, and question order.
  • This formative assessment allows teachers to gain a general sense of concepts needing to be retaught without students feeling singled out or behind their peers.
  • Competition is an essential component of the game and oftentimes a motivational factor for students. Visual designs including bold letters, easy-to-understand language, and catchy graphics draw students in and encourage them to be more inclined to play the game.
  • The timer allows students a little time to think, but at the same time, they can feel a sense of competition.

Use of Badges

Many effective games include challenges, rewards, badges, and feedback.

  • Badges are a free, digital reward that extrinsically rewards students for a job well done
  • Badges create a sense of pride among students as they conquer levels or challenges
  • Badges encourage students to progress through the game as they will be rewarded and can use that badge to identify their level or their accomplishments.

Scenario Based Learning

You can take a simple gaming method and apply it to a scenario-based approach. This makes a simulation environment that allows for realistic learning techniques:

  • The game includes competition with a sense of urgency. Since this is relevant to the subject, you can imagine real-life events that are fast-paced and full of positive energy. Consider a simulation in a Spanish class where students are visiting an outdoor marketplace in Spain and are required to interact with the locals to make purchases, ask for directions, etc.
  • The student is the controller. This gives them a sense of autonomy and empowerment. It also allows them to learn by example when the stakes aren’t as high as in a real-life scenario. Consider a biology classroom that allows students to dissect a frog in a simulation before actually dissecting a frog in real life.
  • From The Sims to the Game of Life to Oregon Trail, students have been engaged with simulation games for decades. Feeling connected to characters and gaining a sense of responsibility for the outcomes in the simulation not only support content learning but also support social-emotional learning. Students may develop empathy, resiliency, and a positive growth mindset through the experiences of their avatars.

Conclusion

The gaming mechanics of having a timer on the game, points, rewards, badges, levels, visual designs, etc. will allow your learners to stay more engaged over the course of the game. We hope you implement a few of these strategies as you diversity your instructional delivery in the virtual classroom!