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Gamification: Collaboration

Collaboration has become a serious buzzword in education over the past few years. Teachers are encouraged to collaborate with one another, and foster collaboration among their students. Project-based learning, collaborative classroom environments, and collaborative tech tools are becoming increasingly popular. Is this intense focus on collaboration just edu-jargon? The research says no.

In a three-year study conducted by the UChicago Consortium, researchers found that social relationships within the school community had a significant impact on learning outcomes. They studied how teachers, administrators and parents worked together to transform their schools. "In schools characterized by high relational trust, educators were more likely to experiment with new practices," and "were also more likely to demonstrate marked gains in student learning."

Blended-learning games offer a unique approach to collaboration. Players don't have to be physically present at the same time to participate or communicate with one another. This type of "collaboration on demand" is similar to the type of communication that takes place on social media platforms.

So how does gamified learning foster collaboration?

  • Certain activities may require working with colleagues/partners.
  • Participants share a common experience (playing the game).
  • Games with points/leaderboards promote friendly competition.
  • Games may incorporate a social component.

Because most gamified learning is self-directed, players may turn to one another as a resource, embracing learning through teaching.

“The best answer to the question, ‘What is the most effective method of teaching?’ is that it depends on the goal, the student, the content, and the teacher. But the next best answer is, ‘Students teaching other students.’”

— Wilbert J. McKeachie