Gamification to help stretch and challenge in online learning.

Developing learners based on their skills and ability is nothing new; this level of scaffolding has been used purposely within teachers’ instructional coaching methods for years. However, applying that level of development and growth in a student can be a new and daunting concept when institutions and training centres are moving into blended delivery approaches.

Before we look at what gamification is online, we have to break the styles of online delivery into the following categories.

A – Online live demonstrations (MOOCs, Zoom Webinar classes)

B – Recorded / Pre-made online sessions

Option B can be an easier route in the ability to challenge a learner and increase personalisation and differentiation in their learning. Pre-made courses and the ability to use tech to move a learner up and down their levels from games can be developed with even the most boot-strapped organisation. Sure, gamified learning can also be something hi-tech. Still, in its simple form, it can be an area of activity and development that creates a competitive edge over the skills and knowledge developed from the learning.

High-tech versions of gamification in education can include immersive experiences. Games such as educational versions of Mindcraft achieve this; Outcourse worked on similar products, including developing STEAM activities within historical courses. The content of such a programme included digitally crafting a boat that supported the course’s engineering and maths output. The next stage in development for such a concept would be to have the same activity but with levels of ability incorporated. 

Live classes on Zoom or Teams (option A) use the breakout rooms method. For example, a group teaching experience could be taking place in the main room; this could follow on to digital assessment that could make full use of the chat area. Results would then spread learners into breakout rooms for activities with mentors for synchronised support. 

In pre-recorded lessons, always think about how the engagement with the learner could still be synchronised with an educator. For example, think of a chatbot or live connection to a messenger service; from here, the educator or bot could suggest a range of additional activities based on the learner’s level. For example, such tasks could include a link to a simulation activity that scores the learner on behaviours and skills or a game-based assessment.

Whichever route you take, whatever budget you are on, the use of gamified learning to support levels, scaffolding and the areas to stretch and challenge a learner can be achieved. Use a vision-board or brainstorming activity to support discussion with the broader educational team in your institution or speak to Outcourse