We all know that the traditional model of teaching needs to be rethought and improved. The new generations (starting with Generation Y, and even more so Generation Z) do not feel stimulated by traditional methodologies, making the learning process tiring and unproductive.
For example, mathematics is one of the areas of knowledge of most concern to the authorities in Brazil. The country is ranked near the bottom in the Programme for International Student Assessment and, according to figures from Brazilian tests, just 12% of children have an acceptable grasp of the basics by the time they leave primary school.
Meanwhile, we live in a time of technological progress, in which it is ever easier to create, share and receive information. Whereas 20 years ago libraries held a large share of our knowledge, today virtual spaces take science further and open up an unprecedented array of options.
Why then do we insist on separating school teaching from technological advances?
The good news is that there are now a number of initiatives to make educational environments more attractive. One example comes from US company Little Worlds Interactive, which has launched a mathematics game called The Counting Kingdom to help young students to develop their maths skills.
Gamification to make learning easier
The Counting Kingdom is one example of the application of gamification (game methodologies) to make learning easier and more fun. By making it entertaining to solve mathematical problems, the children absorb the concepts while they engage with the adventure. In the game, the students play a wizard’s apprentice who has to defend a distant kingdom from an invasion of monsters. Several castles are surrounded by monsters, each one with an associated number.
Players have to add up these monsters to create spells and potions to get rid of them, therefore saving each castle. As the players advance on their journey, the mathematical challenges grow harder. At the end, if all goes well, they will have saved the kingdom and done many mathematical exercises. Isn’t that brilliant?
Training through Gamification
Like schools, companies can also benefit from gamification in their training, whether technical, to reinforce their values, or to reduce the impacts of major changes. MJV’s Gamification team was once participating in a change management project at a large construction company.
The company was going through the difficult process of changing its management system, which would impact more than 5,000 employees. We then developed a package of games called “Change Games” addressing sensitive topics that could potentially become bottlenecks in the implementation and acceptance of the new ERP system.
The result was that the company didn’t just get through the change process successfully, but also improved some other aspects involving team relations and wellbeing. Gamified activities can educate while dealing with sensitive issues such as cultural and process changes. When planned strategically, they aid the investigation of opinions and behaviours, promote discussion and convey knowledge in a creative and fun way.