The landscape of education changed dramatically since the coronavirus pandemic. With more online and home schooling, teachers and parents are looking for new ways to help students actively engage with their education. Could applying the same principles of game design to the curriculum be our best opportunity for effective learning?

What is “gamification”? 

Professor Karl Kapp describes gamification as the process of taking elements from games and integrating them into instruction. This makes educational content more engaging and fun for all learners. It can maximise children’s motivation, achievement and positive attitude towards learning.  

Does gamification work? 

 Many studies have shown that game-based learning has a positive impact on student achievement. Learners who are inspired and involved in the learning process have better retention of new information compared to learners who endure “boring, static content”. The author of Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes how children who played games that demanded their full attention showed a sustained improvement in their control and non-verbal intelligence over time. 

5 benefits of gamification

Although there are many more reasons why gamification is effective, here are the top five:  

1. Builds Cognitive Skills 

Digital worlds allow learners a safe space to target buildable skills that require repetition, such as times tables and spelling rules. Adding a plot, mystery, goals and challenges to this content makes it more engaging than traditional styles of instruction. Gamified elements, such as points, leader boards and badges are what keeps them motivated! 

2. Increases Problem Solving 

Games do more than increase memory and recall – they help learners apply their skills to solve real-world problems that are meaningful to them. Goals, rules and competitions give players a purpose and parameters to tackle challenges in exciting settings outside of the classroom.  

3. Builds Resilience 

Making learning more game-like, helps children learn that failure is an important part of the learning process. Placing learners in environments, where they feel comfortable taking intellectual risks, helps them cultivate a growth mindset. 

4. Provides Instant Feedback 

Feedback in online games is much faster than can be delivered in traditional learning environments. Letting the child know they’ve moved up a level, received points or rewards, helps the learner know understand their progress better. 

5. Makes Learning Fun  

Integrating game elements to the delivery of the curriculum makes learning fun. Children love playing games! Competition, cooperation, levels, characters and challenges all come together to ignite the learner’s enthusiasm and love of learning. 

How did we do it? 

First, we began with research. We knew gamified learning was the way forward, and we wanted to do it correctly. We read books and articles, talked to consultants and teachers, game designers and gaming professionals. Slowly, we made sure to tick all the boxes. Cosmico is now a curriculum-aligned educational game that puts an emphasis on fun to engage your child and help them fall in love with learning.  

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Guido, M. (2019, February 5). 5 Easy Steps for Gamification in Education. Retrieved from Prodigy: 

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  

Kapp, K. (2014, October 9). Gamification of Learning. Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, United States of America: LinkedIn. 

Mahanta, P. (2019, July 31). Gamification And Its Effectiveness In Schools. Retrieved from Prodigy: 

Nisbet, J. (2021, June 21). Understanding Game-Based Learning: Benefits, Potential Drawbacks and Where to Begin. Retrieved from Prodigy: 

Prensky, M. (2003). Digital Game-Based Learning. Computers in Entertainment , 21. 

Yildirim, I. (2017). The effects of gamification-based teaching practices on student achievement and students’ attitudes toward lessons. The Internet and Higher Education, 86-92.