Gamification in the classroom: 3 easy ideas to improve learning
Gamification in the classroom means taking regular everyday class activities and adding some game-like elements to make them more fun and enjoyable. You might also hear the terms ‘game-based learning’ or ‘play-based learning.’
Play, the crucial element of gamification, increases motivation and motivation is the key to learning. Simply put, if something is fun, we want to do more of it. But if something feels like ‘work’ we sometimes have to force ourselves to do it.
We’ve all been students once and we know that learning becomes more engaging when we get to ‘play’ instead of reading textbooks. And when we’re engaged we actually learn more.
Research into gamified learning found that learners remember up to 90% of what they learn in an interactive gamified task. In comparison, they remember 10% of something they read and 20% of things they hear. In fact, studies show it also increases performance on tests, even in adults, so it’s clear that gamification is effective in teaching.
Gamification in the classroom
Educational games and apps have become a huge trend in the classroom. It’s a trend that is expected to continue growing by 14% by 2025.
Teachers can use this technology to gamify learning by bringing fun and engaging games into the classroom. That’s better for the students because they’ll be more motivated and it’s also great for the teacher because it saves time on lesson planning.
Using technology for gamification in the classroom, teachers can easily add goals, levels, rewards and badges to learning to make students want to keep playing the game. Another motivating gamification feature is a leaderboard so students can compete with each other.
Collaboration can also be an element of gamification as not all games have to be about winning. Working together helps students communicate better with each other and, naturally, leads to practicing speaking and listening. Introducing collaborative games is especially important if you want a class to be inclusive and suit the different types of personalities in your group.
Ideas to gamify your class
- Team activity
If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, you’ll recognize the idea of ‘house points’ where students receive points individually that go towards their house.
This way of assigning points works well because it takes the focus off individual learners and gives them a group goal to work towards.
So, divide your class up into groups and let them choose a ‘house’ name, color, and a symbol or shield. Create a leaderboard and award points for any classroom activity you want.
- Setting a time limit
Including a time limit is so simple we forget it also turns any activity into a game-like experience.
In an English class, you can set a time limit to increase motivation to complete even the most boring of grammar activities.
- Use ELSA in class
If you’re looking for a fun, tech-based gamified activity for students, ELSA Speak is the app to use. Learners can practice pronunciation, intonation, listening, word stress, and conversation using different game types within the app.
For example, ELSA’s new game, ‘Unscrambling words,’ challenges learners’ English vocabulary knowledge by solving a scrambled word. Saying the answer out loud with the correct pronunciation to be able to pass a level.
As well as being fun, ELSA includes gamification features, such as learners moving up through harder levels and earning points and stars as they progress. ELSA’s built-in leaderboard and badges also allow students to compete with their classmates or other classes. And it’s all viewable through the ELSA dashboard, so teachers can monitor live progress updates on each student, class, and the whole school.
6000+ gamified lessons
Our partnerships with leading publishers like Pearson, teachers can easily use the power of gamification to enhance learning and boost student attendance and engagement in their classroom. For example, students can join the ELSA Weekly Leaderboard to compete on their English learning tasks like vocabulary and pronunciation.
Another game, called ELSA Race, is designed for online classes. After the lesson, teachers assign the target vocabulary from the ELSA dashboard and students complete the practice activity. The student who finishes first with the highest score wins. You can play it in offline classes too but it might get a little noisy!
These games can provide a significant boost to student attendance and engagement:
- ELSA language learners report significant improvement after 3-6 months using the app. 90% improved their pronunciation while 95% felt more confident.
- A study based on 113 students over eight weeks showed students attended classes four times more than before using ELSA and doubled the time they spend studying. Learners also practiced speaking eight times more than without ELSA.
Teachers can use ELSA’s dashboard to create their own games and lessons using their curriculum and learning materials.
ELSA saved one school 359 hours of teacher preparation time (for 113 students). It is expected to save schools $400-800 per student, per year.
Gamify your next English language class!
The research backs up what every teacher knows: the more fun and engaging a class is, the better students learn. And a proven way of motivating students is through lessons that include elements of gamification precisely because games are fun.
If you want learners who are more motivated in class AND more confident when speaking, request a demo and find out how you can use ELSA at your school.
Learn more about how AI and tech can help teachers in class.