Game, as we all know, is all about fun and engagement. But you might be curious about terms such as gamification and serious games, that you keep hearing all the time when it comes to gamified learning or game-based learning. Let me try to explain things in a simple way.
Gamification is about introducing game elements into any non-game contexts, to improve motivation. Simply, the purpose of Gamification is always to enhance human motivation in doing a mundane process. Period.
Gamification, particularly in the online learning space is mostly about introducing course completion badges, reward points for completing an activity, leaderboards to compete with others in a quiz, and so on. The objective of introducing these game elements is to improve motivation to initiate and complete the course.
On the other hand, Serious Games are actually games, with a focus on learning outcome or skill enhancement, along with loads of fun and entertainment. Though they are called ‘Serious‘, they have lots of fun and engaging gameplay. Serious games also do have badges and leaderboards just like gamification, because naturally games have those, but they differ from gamification in their purpose – as they are designed for teaching a theory/principle or some learning concept or skill.
Both Gamification and Serious Games motivate people to learn and improve engagement, provided they are designed well to cater to human needs/drives. But serious games can also help in assimilating learning objectives effectively if designed the right way.
Serious Games based learning is really a new way of teaching. It is a change in pedagogy/andragogy that promotes effective learning. And gamification is NOT a new way of teaching, and it is a catalyst that makes existing learning methodologies, a little more encouraging.
About the Author
Senthil Kumar G, is a human skills trainer, serious game designer, and the founder of MADIEE Games. He is a mechanical engineering graduate from College of Engineering Guindy, and holds in Masters in Thermal Energy storage. He is a recipient of the prestigious Young India Fellowship, and has since then become an evangelist for liberal arts education. He writes about mental models, serious games, gamification, lifestyle design and is an avid reader of Thirukkural.