“Necessity for incorporating fun in learning”

“Stop playing the entire day. Go and study! It will not feed you in the future“.

Sounds familiar? I am pretty sure every one of you would have experienced this especially if you were born after the 80’s. You probably remember it from one of your own experiences or from when your friend was being lectured by his or her parents. Trust me, I have personally been through it too. And yes, I am talking about gaming and guess what? Your parents were right.

“Whaaaaaaaat? I thought this blog was about gaming in education. Shouldn’t it be about its benefits?” If your inner mind is screaming furiously right now, I completely understand. So don’t press the X mark on your browser or start cursing me yet. When I said your parents were right, I did mean it. At least from their perspective. Read the sentence again. Do you know what I interpret from it? Let me make it easier and break it down for you.

· Limit the amount of time you spend on gaming.

· Dedicate equivalent time for your studies.

· Prioritize gaining real world skills.

Does it make sense now? As you can see, it does not imply that we must stop enjoying life but rather balance education and fun equally while not losing sight of reality. But, though their intentions were good, their belief that gaming instead of studying was a waste of time and effort had no basis. The main cause for their ignorance was the sudden generation gap which resulted due to the origin of digital technology. This singular event classified the generations as the Digital Immigrants and the Digital Natives based on pre and post digital era respectively.

Being a Digital Native, we were exposed to numerous innovative and mind-blowing technology from birth. Hence, traditional methods of education felt bland and too slow-paced. Spending hours together reading books, memorizing concepts and doing homework everyday did not even make sense to us. And we had countless questions like why is gaming considered a waste of time? Is it really just a platform for mindless entertainment? Why isn’t studying as enjoyable? Why can’t we focus while studying even though it is natural to us while gaming? The reason as to why we couldn’t tolerate traditional methods of learning and yearned for something more interactive unlike our ancestors was due to the fact that the pace and approach of how we observe, absorb and respond to information had transformed.

On the other hand, the rapid rise on the popularity of digital technology completely changed the world as the digital immigrants knew it. Most of the digital immigrants couldn’t comprehend the change in the new generation. Scenarios like studying while listening to music or watching a video while working on an assignment were alien to them. Multi –tasking while learning was just a huge no. But as time passed and the impact of traditional methods on students were being questioned they realized it was high time that the field of learning was transformed to adapt to the new generation. Hence, novel educational methods that were creative, informative and that can grab our attention were researched. As a result, methods such as Game Based Learning (GBL) and Gamification came into play.

Game Based Learning approach teaches students to work as a team, gather information from various sources, analyze the data, make decisions based on them, face the consequences of their actions and learn from their mistakes in a risk free environment. In addition, the process of gaming enhances hand-eye coordination, memory capacity, logical reasoning and multi-tasking. Hence, to tap into this potential, educators are developing games that can teach real world skills to students in collaboration with universities and gaming industries. And with the ever increasing popularity of digital games, Game Based Learning approach is being well received and serving its intended purpose successfully.

Nevertheless, educators did not restrict themselves to GBL and started experimenting with Gamification. In contrast to GBL, Gamification is a cost effective and efficient solution. Traditional classrooms can be gamified just by adding game inspired elements such as role playing, quest paths, experience points, reward systems, etc. This helps in keeping the users highly engaged and motivated in exploring various fields and improving their skills in a competitive setting. Apart from educational institutes, gamification is also being adapted to motivate employees to produce efficient results at professional workplaces.

As you can see, education and gaming were never rivals. In contrast, various techniques are constantly being researched and implemented to make learning more fun by different universities and gaming industries. RoboTamers by Center for Robolution is one such program where reinforcement learning techniques enhanced by gamification such as point systems, multiple routes, varying levels of difficulty, milestones and rewards has been successfully employed to make the learning process more interactive and effective. For more details about our program, drop by at our website.

To conclude, let me part with a famous quote elucidating the need and importance of integrating creativity with education.

Got some original and mind-blowing concepts that will revolutionize the learning experience of our future generations? Feel free to drop me an email at patricia@robolution.center

[Patricia Monica George, R.A.R.E — AI Research team and In-house mentor at Center for Robolution]