Gamification in assessment and psychometrics presents new opportunities for ways to improve the quality of exams. While the majority of adults perceive games with caution because of their detrimental effect on youngsters’ minds causing addiction, they can be extremely beneficial for learning and assessment if employed thoughtfully. Gamification does not only provide learners with multiple opportunities to learn in context, but also is instrumental in developing digital literacy skills that are highly necessary in modern times.
What is Gamification?
Gamification means that elements of games, such as point-scoring, team collaboration, competition, and prizes) are incorporated into processes that would not otherwise have them. For example, a software for managing a Sales team might incorporate points for the number of phone calls and emails, splitting the team into two “teams” to compete against each other on those points, and winning a prize at the end of the month. Such ideas can also be incorporated into learning and assessment. A student might get points for each module they complete correctly, and a badge for each test they pass to show mastery of a skill, which are then displayed on their profile in the learning system.
Gamification equals motivation?
It is a fact that learning is much more effective when learners are motivated. What can motivate learners, you might ask? Engagement comes first—that is the core of learning. Engaged learners grasp knowledge because they are interested in the learning process, the material itself, and they are curious about discovering more. In-contrast, unengaged learners wait when a lesson ends.
A traditional educational process usually involves several lessons where students learn one unit, and at the end of this unit, they take a cumulative test that gauges their level of acquisition. This model usually provides minimum of context for learning throughout the unit, so learners are supposed just to learn and memorize things unless they are given a chance to succeed or fail on the test.
Gamification can change this approach. When lessons and tests are gamified, learners obtain an opportunity to learn in context and use their associations and imagination—they become participants of the process, not just executors of instructions.
Gamification: challenges and ways to overcome them
While gamified learning and assessment are very efficacious, they might be challenging for educators in terms of development and implementation. Below you may check some challenges and how they can be tackled.
|Interactive lessons containing gamified elements demand more time and effort from educators, which is why overwhelmed with other obligations many of them give up and keep up with traditional style of teaching. However, if the whole team sets up the planning and preparations prior to starting a new unit, then there will be less work and less stress, respectively.
|Gamified learning and assessment can be difficult for educators lacking creativity or not having any experience. Senior managers, like heads of departments, should take a leading position here: organize some courses and support their staff.
|When developing gamified learning or assessment, it is important not to get distracted with fancy stuff and keep focused on the targeted learning objectives.
|Gamified learning and assessment cannot be unified, so educators will have to customize their materials to meet learner needs.
Psychometric tests have been evolving over time to provide more benefits to educators and learners, employers and candidates, and other stakeholders. Gamification is the next stage in the evolutionary process after having gained positive feedback from scientists and practitioners.
Gamified assessment is applied by human resources departments in the hiring process like psychometric tests evaluating candidate’s knowledge and skills. However, game-based assessment is quicker and more engaging than aptitude tests due to its user-friendly and interactive format. The latter features are also true for computerized adaptive testing (CAT), and I believe that these two can be complemented by each other to double the benefits provided.
There are several ways to incorporate gamification into assessment. Here are some ideas, but this is by no means exhaustive.
|High fidelity items and/or assignments
|Instead of multiple choice items to ask about a task (e.g., operating a construction crane), create a simulation that is similar to a game.
|Candidates win badges for passing exams, which can be displayed places like their LinkedIn profile or email signature.
|Obviously, most tests have “points” as part of the exam score, but it can be used in other ways, such as how many modules/quizzes you pass per month.
|Subdivide a class or other group into teams, and have them compete on other aspects.
Analyzing my personal experience, I remember how I used kahoot.it tool on my Math classes to interact with students and make them more engaged in the formative assessment activities. Students were highly motivated to take such tests because they were rewarding—it felt like competition and sometimes they got sweets. It was fun!
Obviously, gamified learning and assessment require more time and effort from creators than traditional non-gamified ones, but they are worthy. Both educators and learners are likely to benefit from this experience in different ways. If you are ready to apply gamified assessment by employing CAT technologies, our experts are ready to help. Contact us!