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How Gamification Is Changing EdTech

  • Why gamification is growing in EdTech
  • What the future has in store for interactive learning

Gamification has been a buzzword for years, but educators and EdTech companies are looking at the strategy from a new perspective. As more students have adopted hybrid learning, educators have expanded their technology toolsets to make learning more interactive, such as via gamification.

In fact, industry experts predict the education gamification market will grow at a compound annual rate of 29% from 2021 through 2027 (starting at just under $700M in 2020). By comparison, the overall EdTech market is expected to see a 19.9% CAGR in the same time frame (nearly $320B by 2027).

The pandemic propelled schools to improve access to educational technologies, particularly for students in remote and hybrid learning environments. Engaging students is especially important in such situations, where there’s less direct interaction with teachers and classmates. These are just some of the reasons educators have an increased interest in gamified learning.

To learn more about how gamification will impact EdTech, we asked EdTech experts for their opinions and predictions. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Educators are becoming more comfortable using interactive tools and game-based learning in classrooms
  • Competition and interactivity spur engagement
  • Games link lessons to the real world
  • Gameplay can be both a lesson and a reward
  • Gamification relieves stress and improves teacher-student relationships

Educators are becoming more comfortable using interactive tools and game-based learning in classrooms

Companies like Kahoot! and CoolMath Games have given educators a look into how gamification can make learning fun, said Tessa Luzuriaga, CEO of OdinXR. But, she added, EdTech companies need to take responsibility for training teachers on the proper application of gamification. She went on to say:

"Educators are seeing how effective the video gaming industry has been in capturing young minds and now are interested in employing gamified elements in the classroom. While commendable, it can be difficult to introduce gamified elements while maintaining a compelling learning environment. It is therefore important that EdTech companies help educate instructors on proper employment of their systems and explain how to balance fun elements with class content."

Tessa Luzuriaga, CEO of OdinXR

Competition and interactivity spur engagement

Nancy Martin, SEO Manager at online course review site FTKnowledge, said gamified learning platforms add a competitive element to learning that increases student engagement.

"Students get challenged when they see a particular colleague of theirs doing much better than others, creating a competitive yet fun atmosphere during class."

Nancy Martin, SEO Manager, FTKnowledge

Now virtual reality companies like ClassVR and Sama Learning have added a "hands-on element" to immerse students in their educational material, Tessa Luzuariga shared. She added:

"Increased accessibility of VR headsets also leads to better learning opportunities as EdTech companies can now offer natural, hands-on learning mixed with gamified elements to create holistic and industry-practical learning environments for all ages."

Tessa Luzuriaga, CEO of OdinXR

According to Felix Ohswald, CEO and co-founder of GoStudent, games help educators teach skills like concentration, cognitive stamina, and problem solving in a way that’s more fun, less abstract, and more applicable to real-world situations.

"Learning is all about inspiration. When you are fascinated by something, you want to learn more about it. Technology allows us to teach STEM subjects in a more innovative and engaging way. You can use gamification to illustrate how the concepts learnt in subjects like mathematics or physics can apply to the real world, and this triggers a fascination for the subject—inspiring kids to want to know more."

Felix Ohswald, CEO and co-founder, GoStudent

Gameplay can be both a lesson and a reward

EdTech companies should consider that students need to be kept to a manageable amount of screen time, according to Jozef Raczka of Twinkl. Games should, therefore, be used to maximize value during students’ limited time.

"An important thing for educators to consider is the valuing of gamified elements as a reward for pupils' work. If work is completed satisfactorily, they can earn gaming time, and using opportunities to convert that gaming time into an educational benefit means that you can do the learning equivalent of hiding vegetables in cakes. They think they're just getting a treat but it's actually good for them."

Jozef Raczka, Twinkl

Gamification relieves stress and improves teacher-student relationships

John Failla, Founder/CEO of Pearl, an online tutoring platform, explained that gamification not only helps students learn new concepts, but it can also mitigate the stress of standardized testing, as well as strengthen the student-teacher relationship.

"Students need to be assessed in the beginning of any educational relationship so that a personalized learning plan can be put in place. But students are taking these tests while under immense amounts of pressure (think: SATs, state tests). This layer of stress creates test-induced anxiety which affects the way the student performs. By bringing gamification to assessments, we should be able to limit the impact that stress or anxiety has on the student and allow for educators to get a true baseline of the student's academic ability."

John Failla, Founder/CEO of Pearl

Nancy Martin added:

"Students learn best when they enjoy the learning process and one way to help them is to turn to gamification. Students primarily benefit from it since it helps students be more relaxed and proactive, allowing them to just enjoy the process and not worry about committing mistakes or failing."

Nancy Martin, SEO Manager, FTKnowledge

What is the future of interactive learning in EdTech?

As experts predict that gamification will grow in EdTech, there are questions about what forms it will take and how big of a role growing technologies will play. But gamification is not the only form of interactive learning educators care about, as evidenced by the growth and success of companies like Stukent, an EdTech company that provides marketing simulations for students. Interactive, activity-based learning in general is likely to see expansive growth in the coming years.

Modified on Sep 07, 2021