Is Gamification the future of innovative learning?

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Is Gamification the future of innovative learning?

As leading innovators in learning, MKC Training are always listening to the feedback of people we work with. So when some of construction learners told us they wanted to "have a bit more fun" in some aspects of their training, we set about exploring ways to make that happen. And where better to start with making learning more fun than with games?

Gamification is "the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts" and its popularity is increasing in both workplaces and education alike. A study from the Association for Learning Technology recently noted that gamification is currently one of the main trends in the design and development of e-learning. But we wondered how this would work in the traditional field of construction, given the hands-on physical learning that needs to take place.

Building something that is both educational and entertaining isn't easy. But when you combine people's increasing reliance on technology and shortening attention spans, trying gamification as a constructive learning technique felt like a no-brainer.

The benefits of gamification

A recent study by Frontiers in Psychology showed that playing games boosts motivation and learning through a positive, more relaxed and supportive environment. It can also help with stress reduction. With this in mind our design and development team probed the learners a little more and found some the classic game elements that truly appealed. Time pressure, the desire to score highly and – above all else – to score more highly than your mates were all things that make many of us want to have "just one more go" at a video game.

Building the right game

Armed with the information from our learners, our team looked for subject matter that was ripe for gamification. They didn't have to look too far, finding painting and decorating learners struggling to grasp the distinguishing features of different paint defects. Was that problematic paintwork grinning or cissing? Bleeding or wrinkling? And what would the correct remedy be?

In the spirit of finding fun, the team then looked for a setting as far removed from traditional construction as possible. With inspiration from a certain Saturday evening TV show, voiceovers, photos, animations and quality learning design all went into the mix. Just a few days later, MKC Training's "Paint Defects Ninja" game was born!

Paint Defects Ninja

The learner is parachuted into a badly decorated building and, as Paint Defects Ninja, has to navigate their way through different rooms. In each, they're challenged to identify the defect in the paintwork, find the cause and select the most appropriate remedy. They're up against the clock, with coveted Ninja Stars up for grabs!

We're really proud of the positive feedback we've received on this game", says Peter Cox, MKC Training's Commercial Director. "It's created a real buzz with learners and we've shown that gamification can be effectively applied, even in some very unlikely subject areas!"

Gamification can be a real asset to any organisation where there is a need to engage. It's being used for everything from interviewing, to leadership training and wellbeing initiatives. To see for yourself what's possible with gamification, why not take on the role of Paint Defects Ninja right now?

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you with gamification and other methods of delivering learning online.

Author: Darryl Langton, Programme Manager (e-learning)

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