Gamification’s Useful Skills for Students
Playing games has always been a part of my experience growing up. From playing physical board games to virtual games on consoles and PC, each has its own unique sense of achievement and marvel. Yet, after playing all sorts of games over the years, there was a constant thought that ran through my mind. Somehow, the actions and experiences we undergo in the process of playing games conceals a deeper purpose.
Moreover, as a college student who has spent a considerable amount of leisure time playing video games, the nagging thought that games could possibly have some impact on my learning experience became even more apparent. Aside from the standard way of learning through formal education, could games mechanics observed in games and thinking through the lens of games actually help us in unforeseeable ways? Surely there is something more to video games than just playing it for fun?
Long story short, I had my Eureka moment as I stumbled upon the idea I was looking for, thanks to the combination of air transit waiting and TED videos. To my amazement and astonishment, the concept already had a name, which many of us today still have a love/hate relationship with, gamification. After attending last year’s GSummit and 8 months of having the opportunity to intern at GCo, I look back now and realized how gamification offers students and soon to be prospective workers a wholly different perspective in both the learning field as well as the world we inhabit. These benefits serve only as the tip of the iceberg in which one may gain from understanding and applying gamification.
Making Sense of Complex Ecosystems
Regardless of whichever field one student may intend to specialize in, it is of the utmost importance for them to understand how systems interact and coexist with one another. Often times, problems are seemingly impossible to be resolved as individuals are confounded by the complexity which lay in front of them. However, gamification and more importantly, game thinking enables practitioners to make sense of complex, interconnecting ecosystems by breaking down and identifying the individual components which forms the larger part of ecosystem. With such an ability to decipher intricate structures, no obstacle would seem too large to overcome.
Identify and Fulfill Needs
In the process of understanding individual components that form complex systems, gamification practitioners learn about the underlying nature which surrounds the ecology. In doing so, they are practicing to identify a specific group’s needs and demands which remains unfulfilled to allow the system perform effectively. While organizations have long emphasized for prospective graduates to develop problem solving skills, the information-rich environment of the 21st century demands a complimentary skill set. With the growing amount of readily available data on consumers and markets, the new workforce needs to be able to recognize subtle market demands and grasp the opportunity to realize that need. In other words, there is a new place for problem-finding skills and gamification enables one to do just that.
Quantify and Constant Reiteration
Through gamification, there exists many forms of game mechanics. What is most surprising to most people is that many of these game mechanics serve the primary function of measuring and monitoring our progress. Actions that were taken over a period of time could now be recorded and quantified. By paying attention to the data collected by these mechanics, we are able to learn more about our strengths and weaknesses than one could never have imagined. With these quantifiable data to look back upon, this in turn facilitates a form of self discovery and more importantly, underlines the core theme of continuous improvement. Whether in education or work environment, such a principle would no doubt serve any individual or organization well.
As students, we can learn a vast amount of concepts and theories in class but are given a limited boundary to grasp the application in the real world. Likewise, one could talk about the limitless possibilities of how gamification and games could change the world but without the chance to put into practice of what has been discussed, it will all be for naught. Thus, GSummit is akin to TED, where great ideas are shared by people who underwent trials and tribulations to achieve their goals through the use of gamification. Not only will these individuals share their wisdom and past experiences, they inspire others by showing why gamification matters as a cause that is larger than any organizations and individuals.
If you want to see the insights from the 60+ engagement experts at GSummit 2013, purchase video access and learn how gamification is revolutionizing businesses and organizations around the world.
Flickr Image by Somerset College