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Benefits and Challenges of Gamification in Education: Argumentative Essay

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1. Introduction

Games have become popular and prominent in everyday life. The reason for this is because games contain elements and mechanics that create engagement, collaboration, best learning experience and this hence motivates people to continue to play games more (Al-Azawi, Al-Faliti and Al-Blushi, 2019). (stats for playing games). Being praised for providing the best learning experience, it is now becoming popular in education. Educational games have the sole purpose of teaching students about content and skills. They have been seen as an aid to the current teaching method. The traditional method of teaching and learning is now not as effective as it was before. With students saying that they would rather play games than attend class. This digital world has also had an impact in the education industry. From e-textbooks and e-learning making learning possible to be done anywhere in the world. Educators have come up with the term gamification. Gamification is the application of gaming elements in a non-gaming environment. Examples of gamified platforms include Kahoot and others which are being used in classes today. This allows for international collaboration of learning and encourages students to participate in learning and motivates them to learn more. The elements points, badges, avatars. This paper looks into discussing Gamifcation in education, the benefits and challenges of gamification in education. Technological developments.

2. Review of literature

2.1) Gamification: a new way learning

Zichermann and Cunningham (2011) posited in their article that there is problem that many educators and schools are facing , whichis that students are lacking the motivation and intererest to learn. If given a choice, many of them would prefer to play video games rather than reading a book or completing a homework assignment. They say that students would prefer to play video games rather than doing an assignement. This shows us the impact of how the education systems is in that students generally do not want to learn. This can be because of the way the content is being presented to them. This can also be because maybe they made the wrong choice of study, it became too difficult for them that they start failing tests and therefore lose interest in their studies. This has an impact on the motivation and willingness of students to learn and results in low engagement with their studies. Prensky (2001) suggested that the merging of education and entertainment may pose as the solution to help with this problem. Prensky (2001) confirmed that there is no magical recipe to teaching students, but it depends on the context and that educators perfectly combine education and entertainment to suit the students needs. This is where gamification comes into play, in that students love to play videos and since its mechanics provide a great of learning and motivating students to play more, educators can use this for their course. The traditional methods of learning requires students to complete a task in order to earn grades in the process based on their performance whereas in gamification the effort is rewarded, with badges or points even when the objective is not completed: “that [is] what gamification does, it rewards the effort [emphasis added], not the winning” (p. 7).this tells us that the gamified environment encourages students to engage in the learning process, even if they do not successfully complete a task, they would have learnt something and this is bttee than learning nothing and they get rewarded in the process. This shows that the game components can be used as an effective tool in education to motivate students to engage in their studies. Folmar (2015) argues that gamification creates a long-term effect on engagement and motivation as compared to other instruction methods such as GBL where engement and motivationis shortlived when playing game. Game-based learningis when you use a game to teach content and learn new skills where as gamification works by adding gaming elements to a non-gaming context which is in a classroom environment for this instance, for the purpose of increasing motivation, engagement and promoting desired learning behaivours among students. According to Brooks et al. (2012), motivation is linked to psychological elements that drive behaviour and choice-making. Engagement, in the view of Russell et al. (2005), is an “energy” linked to different actions and tasks (p. 1). Appleton et al. (2006) highlighted the importance of both motivation and engagement in learning but emphasized their separation as independent constructs.

Some researchers explained this connection between gamification, on one hand, and human psychology and behavioural science, on the other hand, as gamification “rests on three primary factors: motivation, ability level, and triggers” (Dale, 2014, p. 85).

The Gamification is used as a to promote learning and make the learning the process more attractive to learners. Motivation and engagement in learning are the possible effects of gamification. The important digital game mechanics, which include, but are not limited to, avatars, badges, points, levels, leaderboards, virtual rewards, and storyline or quests. The dynamics of gaming that focus on these elements al Third, there is a reference to game dynamics, which are focused on game elements that allow for social interaction between players and this interaction allows for collaboration and interactive learning for student. If friends participate, the students are intrinsically motivated to join in with their friends and so the students then become involved in the learning process.

The pedagogical component in Kapp’s (2012) definition is the emphasis on critical thinking skills, which are essential in learning and could be partially promoted through gamification.

Extrinsic motivation is relevant to elements not related to the task value such as rewards, grades, “performance and competition or evaluation by others” (p. 419). Task value is the perception and the value of the task by the learners and whether it is beneficial for them or not. Finally, expectancy for success is how the learners expect to perform in the future as they engage in a specific task (Wigfield et al., 2006). Intrinsic motivation, according to Ryan and Deci (2000), is essentially and inherently present in every human being driving the desire for exploration, overcoming challenges, creativity, and most importantly, learning.

The success of a gamified application depends on many variations among students which includes readiness and willingness characteristics, prior experiences and exposure to video game elements, and willingness to engage. (Alsawaier, 2018)

A novel learning experience that increases student motivation can be created in a learning environment that includes competition. Motivation is an important element leading to student success in most learning designs, including gamification. Thus, a more effective learning process can be produced if gamified designs that consider the element of motivation are added to learning spaces [3].

The fact that traditional methods of providing motivation are no longer valid has been made evident through published psychological writings and self-help books, and by research studies [4]. What makes the gamification method more attractive is that it causes an internal trigger by changing perceptions [5]. In Daniel H. Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (2012), the method by which games affect our internal motivation is clearly explained. Games are successful because they encourage users by focusing on social, cognitive, and emotional results [6]. There are games in which generally humorous elements are interspersed [[7], ad- dressed personally, designed elaborately, and which include increasingly difficult questions.

It has been argued that computer technologies are convincing for permanent changes in human behaviors, they may have an effective role combining with motivation [12, 13]. Gamification applications may be justified as necessary for students to think, create alternative atmospheres, and for creating a competitive environment [14].

In other words, a gamification application in which all these components are used could facilitate a needs-oriented learning process in the classroom. Letting students choose their own ways and get their lessons from the trial and errors has been reported as very important.

Advantages: The answers given by the students regarding the advantages of using a gamification method are as follows: It was fun, and it made me study before coming to the class, which made me feel self-confident. Getting a higher score than my friend led me to study harder and actively participate in the competition (f= 53, 82%). It was exciting (f=57, 88%). The competitive environment created many positive feelings, including excitement, desire for class participation, and an eagerness and willingness to come to class (f=51, 78%). As competition- and race-containing games are preferred, these activities led us to become more active in the classroom (f= 47, 72%). Its improved thinking skills and reduced answer response time (f=60, 92%). I felt like I was in a competition. I had the feeling that I could do it and that I could achieve a higher score (f= 46, 71%). It made us become more ambitious and feel like we were in a competition. It gave me the feeling that I must win. And therefore, it made me feel better (f=56, 86%). We had a good time with friends. It facilitated learning (f=61, 94%). We had feelings of winning and losing (f=58, 89%). It enabled us to consolidate what we learnt (f= 55, 85%). In other studies, students have similarly stated that they were pleased with the gamification method, with comments such as ‘I like the activities that were performed during the class. It made us consolidate what we learnt until now’ [40]. Johns (2015) wanted university students to evaluate Kahoot in his study, due to interest in the application. He found that students generally came to the class with their own smart phone’s tablets and laptop computers and he had frequent opportunities for evaluation at the end of the class [41]. Gamification is a popular learning method from the perspective of students, because it allows them the opportunity to monitor themselves and engage in an enjoyable competitive environments. Gamification improves students’ willingness to come to class; students who do not have their own devices can use other computers in the classroom.

As a popular student response system, Socrative, is a free, cloud-based SRS that can be accessed on phones, tablets and laptops [42, 43]. This system provides teachers to evaluate small oral exams, personal fast quizzes and team games [44]. Like self- prepared exams, the others are also accessible as asynchronous at cafés, restaurants or places which has Internet access [45]. Kahoot is a game-like student follow-up system that would be used for making exams, discussions and questionnaires [39]. As multi- media tools such as video clips, music and images can also be added, this system is more dynamic than some other quiz generators. The students using Kahoot can save their time and take an exam so that they can compete with each other [46]. The total time needed for the right answers and their provision, is used in participant students’ grading and sequencing [47]. This system has been reported as user friendly, entertaining, attractive and motivating for students [39, 46, 47].

Disadvantages: The answers given by the students regarding the disadvantages of using a gamification method are as follows: Problems with the internet connection caused problems in active participation. We remained behind because of the questions we could not answer (f=44, 68%). We could not answer some questions due to inter- net interruptions, although we knew the correct answers (f=43, 66%). The only problem we encountered was the internet (f=54, 83%). Sometimes the telephones were frozen (f=34, 52%). We had problems associated with the time limit (f=42, 65%). It has been argued that the only disadvantage associated with using the Kahoot application in a flipped classroom is that students can have problems connecting to the inter- net reliably at all locations [40]. There are also disadvantages that need to be recognized by educators and the students: there isn’t any limit related to the number of character that you are going to use for questions and answers and the educators cannot ask end-to-end questions or cannot get open ended answers (this feature seems to be release very soon) [25]. 4.5 (Bicen and Kocakoyun, 2018)

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On a basic level, gamification techniques tap into and influence people’s natural desires for competition, achievement, recognition and self-expression. Gamification appears to be making a leap from game-play to the workplace at a great pace. A growing number of organizations are adopting gaming techniques and game- style rewards in order to motivate and incentive employees and customers [17]. We could define gamification in a simple way as it is the use of game design elements, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. This is the main function that gamification could provide to enhance a situation through the use of gaming mechanics, the benefits of gamification include: a) increased engagement; b) higher motivation levels; c) increased interaction with the user (customer or employee); and d) greater loyalty [18]. Young learners gain skills and a method to learn using games in their everyday life but however they have to use other methods to be successful in school or at university. Somehow this situation can be put into question although teachers and researchers have recognized this fact for almost five years using the term gamification. [5].

Educational gamification proposes the use of game-like rule systems, player experiences and cultural roles to shape learner’s behaviour. In the previous research study [19], researcher found that many children used a trial-and-error strategy through the games. For this reason, gamifying a course would be a great help to primary students by taking advantage of the motivational power of games and applying it to the motivational problems in education so that successful learning can take place [20]. In the classroom, gamification has been integrated in a more authentic manner as some classrooms have become a living, breathing game. Gamification systems

like ClassCraft add an adventure game layer on top of the existing course infrastructure. Students create a character, play as part of a team, and gain experience points and rewards based on class-related behaviors. Students are rewarded for helping other students, producing exemplary work, etc. Likewise, students can receive consequences for behaviors that are inconsistent with the desired learning environment [21]. Another popular interest in gamification is also reflected in an academic context: the number of papers published on gamification is growing. This suggests that gamification is becoming a more popular subject for academic inquiry [21]. Gamification has been defined as a process of enhancing services with (motivational) affordances in order to invoke gameful experiences and further behavioural outcomes [21]

The key advantage of gamification is the low cost of development and the possibility of making learning content more delicious or interesting using game elements. In traditional instructional methodology where the lecture classes are perceived to be boring by students, the gamification technology has a great advantage to solve the problem [30]

2.2) Benefits of gamification in education

Video games have great positive potential in addition to their entertainment value and there has been considerable success when games are designed to address a specific problem or to teach a certain skill. Video games can clearly attract the attention of children and adolescents. For over twenty years researchers have been using games in education, providing the following reasons as to why games are useful tools in teaching and learning concept. For instance [11]-[16]: ? Games can be used as research and/or measurement tools.

  • Games attract participation by individuals across many demographic boundaries (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity and educational status).
  • Games can assist children in setting goals, ensuring goal rehearsal, providing feedback, reinforcement, and maintaining records of behavioural change.
  • Games can be useful, as they allow the researcher to measure performance on a very wide variety of tasks, and can be easily changed, standardized and understood.
  • Games can be used when examining individual characteristics such as self-esteem, self-concept, goal- setting and individual differences.
  • Games are fun and stimulating for participants. Consequently, it is easier to achieve and maintain a person’s undivided attention for long periods of time.
  • Games also allow participants to experience novelty, curiosity and challenge. This may stimulate learning
  • Games may help in the development of transferable .

IT skills

Games can act as simulations. These allow participants to engage in extraordinary activities and to destroy or even die without real consequences.

  1. Better Learning Experience
  2. Better Learning Environment
  3. Instant Feedback
  4. Prompting Behavioral Change
  5. Can Be Applied For Most Learning Needs

2.3) Challenges of applying gamification

Although most studies found that gamified learning has a positive impact on student engagement (Barata et al. 2013;Hamari 2015; Kuo and Chuang 2016;Sanmugamet al. 2016), the discovery from Hanus and Fox (2015) contradict this finding. Hanus and Fox (2015) found that over time, students experiencing gamified learning showed a decline in their motivation thus affecting their final exam scores. The researchers attribute this decline to the expiration of novelty of the method used as the research was conducted over the period of 16 weeks. This led to the conclusion that any gamification undertaken must be considered with great care as to it not being a detrimental to the students as opposed to helping them in their learning.

Stott and Neustaedter (2013) critiqued Sheldon’s gamified design for “implementing game components by simply trading out the parlance of pedagogy for that of game culture” (p. 1).

The effect of gamification. Sheldon (2011) overly focused on points and levels in his experiment as manifested in the multiple syllabi he presented for his courses. Lawley (2012) stated that going beyond surface characteristics of gamification, in reference to points and levels, is essential in the game design. She advocated creating an interactive game design which is aligned with pedagogical principles and conductive to collaboration. She added that a faulty or superficial gamified design can “damage existing interest or engagement” (p. 16) (Alsawaier, 2018)

Gibson and friends work (2015) on ―the use of digital badges in education‖ too, reached to the conclusion that using these gamification elements encourages students to demonstrate positive behaviors, reveals the progress in the learning and content, and has triggering effects in learning and success (Gibson, Ostashewski, Flintoff, Grant and Knight, 2015).

But these results must not be taken as granted for all cases. Unfavourable results are present too. Hans and Fox‘s study (2015) which evaluated the effects of gamification in the classroom on students in terms of motivation, social comparison, satisfaction, effort and academic performance; find out that, students using gamification elements in their classes were less motivated, less improved and collected less examination points compared with the classes that haven‘t used gamification (Hanus and Fox, 2015). Thus, it can be said that, with suitable gamification software and using strategy, students can become more active and participating for challenging complex and difficult tasks. (Çeker and Özdamlı, 2017) (Affluent Gaming Experience Could Fail Gamification in Education: A Review)

3. Conclusion

We have noticed that creating an effective educational game entails much more than simply creating an engaging game and building in age- appropriate educational content. Through gamification, we can not only create a mindset that encourages students to try new things and not be afraid of failing, but also can enable students to engage in enjoyable experiences for the purpose of learning. In addition, gamification is an innovative approach to learning, as new technologies and applications are continuously emerging, it is still developing. Further studies shall continue to examine the new mechanics and new applications associated with emerging gamification technologies [20]. However, the most important goal of any digital game-based instructional material is to increase learning. Compared with traditional lectures, digital game- based approaches can indeed produce better learning effects, which underscore the need to develop appropriate instructional materials [6]

The next generation of jobs will be characterized by increased technology use, extensive problem solving, and complex communication. These are skills that go beyond typical reading, writing, and arithmetic of years past. It’s not only what students need to learn, e.g. shifting, but also how and when they learn. Students are growing up with laptops, tablets, cell phones, and video calls, and they expect to use this technology in their daily interactions [10].

The key advantage of gamification is the low cost of development and the possibility of making learning content more delicious or interesting using game elements. In traditional instructional methodology where the lecture classes are perceived to be boring by students, the gamification technology has a great advantage to solve the problem [30].

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