It is well known that gamification is an engaging technique that enables the creation of a deeper bond between the user and the product. Why does this happen? How does Neuroscience explain this connection? Read the article below by Juliette Denny to learn more.
Gamification involves creating a narrative around the learning activity that describes why the task is relevant to the learner. According to University of Reading researchers, attention spans are affected by the subject’s emotional connection with the activity.
“We found that participants’ attention is affected by emotion and priority, such that they pay more attention to particularly vivid information or details that are highly relevant to them, but their retention of low-priority information is impaired” - Michiko Sakaki
The hippocampus is an area in the lower section of the brain which is largely responsible for knowledge recall. During learning, a strong hippocampal activation makes the content easier to remember and recall (Foerde & Shohamy, 2011). In clinical tests, gameplay has been shown to stimulate these conditions.
“Identifying a direct connection between the stimulation of neural circuits and gameplay is a key step in unlocking the potential for game-based tools to inspire positive behavior and improve health” - Brian Knutson, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University.
Dopamine, or the feel-good hormone, is released whenever we are rewarded for a specific action. Gamification focuses on giving learners instantaneous feedback which might not otherwise be available. By giving virtual rewards for achieving learning goals, learners begin to associate the learning with positive emotions, prompting them to try to repeat it (i.e., seek out more learning).
One of the key components of a compelling game is a good story. People tend to remember stories better than lists of unconnected facts. This isn’t just a matter of preference; it’s a physiological imperative. When we are engaged in a strong narrative, the brain releases oxytocin – a chemical that generates feelings of trust and empathy. As a result, when the brain receives information presented as a story, it recognises it as being more valid.
Serotonin is a hormone that governs our overall mood. Plenty of serotonin makes for a sunny disposition whereas a drop in serotonin might leave you feeling a bit grumpy. Aside from eating properly, serotonin release is also triggered by remembering past successes. The badge cabinet of a gamified Learning Management System lets learners get a serotonin rush on demand whenever they look at rewards they have earned.
The thrill and excitement of playing a game is the result of endorphins being released. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller but they can also lower stress and anxiety levels, and even create a sense of euphoria. Combined with other neurotransmitters,this helps create an ideal environment for focused learning.
Studies have shown that gameplay can improve brain functions. In a study conducted by BBC’s Horizon, a test group of older subjects played a popular racing game for 15 hours over 5 weeks. When they were evaluated after that period, their memory and attention span scores had improved by around 30%.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and it controls the body’s reaction to stressful situations. When it comes to learning, high levels of cortisol force the brain into survival mode, distracting from the learning in order to deal with the stress. Results of a Texas A&M International University study showed that “games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management.”
The brain can only handle a finite amount of information. If the cognitive load is too great, the learner could miss information, resulting in incomplete training. One way that gamification can deal with cognitive load is to present the learning in a more game-like, challenge-based format. Along with the other neurological benefits of gamification, this approach helps to chunk the learning into smaller pieces that are easier to retain.
The workforce is filling with people who grew up playing complex video games that require a lot of intricate coordination. By commanding a Roman army to victory or managing the facilities of a virtual city, players can gain skills like resource management and prioritisation.
“These young people may be better equipped to switch between tasks easily, adapt to new information, and modify their strategy as new input comes in.” – Judy Willis, M.D., American Academy of Neurology
With gamification and game-based learning producing some outstanding results, the scientific community is conducting more and more research into the power of gameplay in non-game scenarios.
So you have been using Kahoot! to evaluate students for a while now, but have you ever considered to implement Kahoot! when presenting a new lesson or concept?
While many people create and play kahoots for review, formative assessment or to re-energise the class, others are using Kahoot! differently in a new approach called Blind Kahoot. Blind kahoots are designed to give every learner a chance to feel success and motivation throughout the game, and with long lasting effects. In a single game, you’ll be sparking curiosity about the new topic, laying the foundations for understanding increasingly complex concepts, and giving learners the opportunity to immediately and successfully apply their knowledge.
Below are a few steps that you can have in mind while creating your own Blind Kahoots
QuizUp is an application designed for IOS and Android devices where two compete in a quiz. This means that there is a need for an internet connection throughout the game. Initially, the user creates his or her own account, uploads an image that differentiates him from the other contestants and selects the categories of interest, thus giving the necessary meaning to the game.
There are a number of categories from which the user can choose, some of them are of educational content and others are simply less connected to the learning process. These categories include topics from history, technology, literature, science, geography, mathematics, business, film, and even video games. The categories are given beautifully and clearly for the user, while the database of available quizzes is huge, with new quizzes being added daily. It is worth mentioning the ability of the user to compete in two types of play modes. The Single Player Game is a mode where the player is playing alone, essentially struggling without an opponent. His goal is to advance as far as he can in the selected category. The second mode is called Random Opponent Game, where the player faces other players from around the world. Both players have to deal with 7 questions, gathering points according to the answer and the speed that the correct answer was given. Winner is the one who has collected the most points during the session.
One of the most important elements that enhance the player's interest is that in QuizUp he participates in a quiz on topics he already knows enough, as opposed to a more classic knowledge game that puts some random questions to the contestants. QuizUp also differs from other similar applications as it allows the player to communicate with his opponents, start debates, follow others, challenge friends, win achievements, and connect their Facebook and Google+ devices. The experience of the user is also enriched by the fact that regular tournaments are offered in the application. Thus, it can be said that it creates an active community of practice by promoting communication and interaction with other people who share common interests, ultimately leading to the establishment of new knowledge. Whenever a user wins a QuizUp, he wins points that are called experience points. The motivation is also increased because of the engagement that is developed through the option of Rankings, which are the game’s leaderboards. There the player is ranked according to the experience points he has collected in each category of interest.
According to researchers (Vandercruysse, Vandewaetere, Cornillie & Clarebout, 2013), the competition cultivated on videogames will then lead to greater enthusiasm, which will ultimately lead to more concentration and desire for improvement in the subject.
After the Quiz is over, the player receives in-depth feedback on his own and his opponent's selections, and in case of a winning outcome, he is rewarded with specific badges that are visible in his profile, thus further enhancing the gaming feature. According to Prensky (2001), uninterrupted feedback provided in a variety of forms rather than one-dimensional is responsible for establishing knowledge in the mind of the user, leading him to alternate his mistaken choices and ultimately to success.
However, a drawback is the existence of Gems and Coins that are either earned through the application or purchased with real money. Those items allow the user to accumulate more experience points or redeem them to be able to participate in some tournaments while having certain advantages compared to other competitors.
The design of the application is surprisingly good. It is bright and colorful but at the same time well-organized and ergonomic. Players will have no problem navigating in the application, finding the topics they like or participating in a game. During the quiz, the screen is properly designed with minimal distractions. The only thing the player can see is the score, questions and answers along with each player's name and profile picture. This helps the player immerse in the game by placing it in a state of flow. As Gee (2008) has highlighted, video games such as QuizUp offer experiences to people in a virtual world using the gameplay mechanics that it integrates to solve problems in an attractive and fun environment.
QuizUp is a great game that is worthwhile recommending to your students to use either at home or in the classroom through appropriate guidance. Besides, people find learning pleasant under the right conditions, which are often not those found in traditional school. As various scholars believe, schools will surely benefit from the use of videogames in the classroom (Gee, 2004). After all games like QuizUp do not give gamers information that is unrelated to their context, but only those that are necessary, while providing purpose in creating the person's participation in social life, through groups that provide meaning to goals, interpretations, practices, explanations, feedback, and the prerequisites for deep learning through experiences (Gee, 2008)
Gee, J. P. (2008). Learning and games. The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and learning, 3, 21-40.
Gee, J. P. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (8), 15-23.
Prensky, M. (2001). Fun, play, and games: What makes games engaging? In Digital game-based learning. (pp. 11-16). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
Vandercruysse, S., Vandewaetere, M., Cornillie, F., & Clarebout, G. (2013). Competition and students’ perceptions in a game-based language learning environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(6), 927–950. doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9314-5
The integration and exploitation of technology in in recent years takes place through pleasant environments of learning, collaboration and authenticity. Such an environment is the Quizizz. It requires the student's active engagement and the emergence of a learning experience that no longer relies on the sterile knowledge of the content. The use of such tool keeps students' interest and commitment to acquiring new information (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017).
Quizizz is a free learning application designed for mobile phones that uses wireless handhelds to collect student responses and then show the results in the classroom while collecting direct feedback by answering questions posed by the educator (Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). The teacher selects a quiz that has been structured for the particular subject of interest and then provides a pin for the students. Students then use the pin and the questions appear on their mobile devices. They are required to answer a timeframe predetermined by the teacher. Questions appear randomly to each student, and then the learner observes the results of the choice he/she made (Boulden, Hurt & Richardson, 2017). The total results are also shown at the interactive whiteboard with the help of the teacher’s computer and a projector.
Students play together, but each at their own pace. Gamfication elements like avatars, leaderboard and funny memes add to the fun. At the end of the game, the educator receives detailed class and student-level reports to understand where the pupils need help.
It is a tool based on behavioral learning theory as learning through quizizz is done with specific activities to achieve goals that are designed by the teacher (Learning Theories, n.d.). Thus, the student is not in control of the application since the teacher is the creator. As far as the evaluation of the learner is concerned, the behavioral patterns are also followed, since the results of the quiz appear at the scoreboard.
Effects on the learning process:
By studying the positive results in the learning process, many pedagogical benefits are attributed to Quizizz. Students perceive commitment and acquire a different perception of learning as their motives multiply (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). Studies show increased collaborative learning and engagement as well as increased learning outcomes (Boulden, Hurt & Richardson, 2017). Then the concentration of children in the process increases as well as their active engagement (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). As far as the teacher is concerned, the contribution of the tool is to control the level of understanding or lack of knowledge through the feedback system provided at the end of the process.
In conclusion one could imply that the inclusion of games and technological tools offers all the resources to students for communication, contact and collaboration. In the context of teaching, the tools that technology has provided us, ensures a more extensive and cost-effective exploratory work on the subject of teaching (Cardet, 2013).
Create your own Quizizz at http://quizizz.com
Boulden, D. C., Hurt, J. W., & amp; Richardson, M. K. (2017). Implementing Digital Tools to Support Student Questioning Abilities: A Collaborative Action Research Report. I.E .: Inquiry In Education, 9 (1), 1.
CARDET (2013). Authentic Learning. Report within the project Developing Authentic Learning Environments through School and Business Collaboration. Nicosia: CARDET Press.
The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz and Google Forms on student perception in the classroom response system. (2017). 2017 International Conference on Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), International Conference on, 178
Games in education are the teacher’s weapon to try and involve students in activities that combine the element of fun and learning with a meaning. Mobile devices have reshaped the way of teaching and have created new opportunities towards this approach.
This article will present one of the most useful tools, Kahoot! which combines beautiful graphical representations and sounds, turns the classroom into a playroom, with the teacher being the "show" coordinator and the students to be the contestants (Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016). Students are asked to give the appropriate answer to the current question they are dealing with using their mobile devices and according to their responses they earn points that rank them in a rating scale (Wang, 2015).
A Kahoot! is a collection of questions on specific topics. Create a fun learning game in minutes – called ‘kahoot’. The format and number of questions are entirely up to you. Add videos, images and diagrams to your questions to amplify engagement and make learning so fun that your students will literals beg to be assessed
The benefits that Kahoot offers! in the learning process are many, but in summary, one could claim that it transforms the learning process into a more efficient and productive one (Katyshev, n.d.). The ease with which students receive feedback individually on their devices promotes self-evaluation, while the teacher's report on the distribution of student responses gives him the opportunity to identify potential gaps, make further analysis as well as explanation of the right choices (Katyshev, nd; Wang, 2015; Dellos, 2015; Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016). Besides, as Dellos (2015) points out, creating the conditions for a comfortable environment for feedback in their responses without the stress of evaluation is critical to assimilation of knowledge. The user-friendly interface is also enhanced by the fact that there is no need to download a separate application, although there is such a possibility, since the game can be played through any web browser (Katyshev, n.d.). Even the existence of the scoring system exploits the innate tendency of man to compete, effectively giving players an incentive to improve the position on the ranking board (Katyshev, Wang, 2015; Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016)
Being a system of responding to student choices in a pre-created game of questions by Professor (Dellos, 2015) and according to the foregoing, it is concluded that this application is largely a behavioral tool in which the right options have been set beforehand and students are asked to identify them, ultimately leading to the reward of this desirable option. Of course, if used in ways other than the above, it has the potential to become a tool of social constructivism
If used properly, It has the potential to create a social, fun and game-like learning environment.
Visit http://create.kahoot.it to make your own quizzes using Kahoot! or discover Kahoots! made by others
Dellos, R. (2015). Kahoot! A digital game resource for learning. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 12 (4), 49-52.
Fotaris P, Mastoras T, Leinfellner R and Rosenally Y (2016). Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gaming Techniques to a Computer Programming Class. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 14 (2), 94-110.
Katyshev, V. (2005). Effective Educational Use of Kahoot. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://meantechtools.wikispaces.com/file/view/Kahoot%20description%20of%20use%20new.pdf/541271970/Kahoot%20description%20of%20use%20new.pdf
Wang, A. I. (2015). The wear out effect of a game-based student response system. Computers & Education, 82, 217-227.