|Toddlers love to learn. That being said, youngsters will choose playtime over learning any day of the week. Knowing this to be true, tech companies have incorporated the principles that make playing games fun into their learning programs. It’s called gamification. Pew Research Center describes gamification in the following way:
“The word ‘gamification’ has emerged in recent years as a way to describe an interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action—these include virtual rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts, and ‘free’ gifts; and status indicators such as friend counts, retweets, leader boards, achievement data, progress bars, and the ability to ‘level up’.”
It’s important to note, technology utilizes gamification to engage both adults and children. While you may be concerned with how these principles apply to children, neuroscientists are finding gamification techniques release feel-good chemicals in the brain resulting in higher levels of learning, participation, and motivation. The question becomes, how can caregivers, teachers, and parents use gamification techniques to motivate youngsters to learn outside of using technology?