How Gamification Is Evolving

a statue of a woman reading a scroll

Gamification is evolving, and game-based learning (GBL) has gained enormous popularity in the past decade. That popularity has grown at an accelerated rate since 2020 as many scholastic and corporate training programs have moved online. Online participants gravitate towards learning experiences that are more interesting and engaging rather than a typical virtual course.

But when did this trend begin?

Early Games

According to researchgate.net what we now think of as gamification began with board games that are prehistoric like Kalaha, Xiangxi and Chess. There are also African board games that were created more than 5,000 years ago.

a silver chess board showing only the corner of the board.

What is interesting about this study of the history of gamification is that learning games have always been held in higher regard than games that are purely played for entertainment, or gambling. And learning games have always been viewed as a means of balancing a curriculum that is heavy with abstract and theoretic lessons, especial if these games are motivational and concrete in nature.

Modern Games

The current era of gamification came about with the adoption of home computers and computers in schools. Who could forget Lemonade Stand as a business simulation game on Apple II, released in 1979, or Oregon Trail released in 1982?

As researchgate.net points out, these early computer learning games spawned more popular games like ClueFinders and Reader Rabbit and SimCity. And today major corporations are producing highly profitable education games such as Brain Age and Minecraft. ranker.com’s top three games list includes ClueFinders, LittleBigPlanet, and Treasure Cove! + Treasure Mountain!. All three of these games are highly interactive, and are as much fun to play as they are educational.

So what does the future hold for learning games? Where do we go from Brain Age and Minecraft? 

The Future of Gamification

To truly understand how gamification is evolving beyond the present, we need to look closely at the current trends and extrapolate the current trajectory. Doing so, we see that education games will become more engaging through the use of visceral effects such as 3D immersion, and highly customized dialogues.  They will stimulate and engage the player on a very personal level. Organizations that want to educate their members will do so very effectively.  Whether these organizations are businesses or schools, they can deliver highly targeted language through the game dialogue. The lesson they teach will be reinforced each time the player plays the game. These lessons will also be remembered long after the game has been played.

Have we reached the pedagogical zenith that Piaget and Comenius envisioned with the right blend of intrinsic motivation (3D game thrill) and external motivation (organizational expectations)? 

Have a conversation with P2L and find out!

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