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Gamification and How It Can Help Students Learn

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My two girls, Aarah (7 years) and Saraah (5 years), hate drinking milk but I know a way to get them to do it, as I know it’s good for them.

The pleasure of winning isn’t just a great motivator for kids, but adults too. Last weekend, I discovered from my colleague that to top the ‘Step Tracking Weekly Leader board’ amongst her friends, she paced up and down her living room just before midnight, when the leader board resets. Don't you agree that a small competition and the pleasure of winning, has even motivated a person in her mid-thirties to walk more?When I say, “Let’s see who finishes the glass first?”, the glass is empty within a flash. This is not just me, I am sure all parents do this. These things make it easy to motivate kids to do things they dislike.

So, here’s the big question - what gets my daughters and my colleague to complete these smaller tasks which they generally don’t like? What is it that gets them to accomplish a broader objective, in this case, a ‘Healthier Diet’ and ‘Physical Fitness’ respectively, with smaller milestones?  

The answer is Gamification!

Gamification refers to use of game design and elements in a non-gaming context to drive the desired behavior. In simpler terms, it is about using the system of points, levels, badges, or leaderboards that are common in games, in real-world scenarios. 

Doesn’t it make a perfect case for gamification to be used in learning to make it fun and effective? 

It does! However, learning methods at school or even at home, face a huge engagement crisis today. The learning of today only involves learning by rote and then producing those in the exams, causing boredom among st young learners. According to a Labster study, about 60 percent of students mentioned that they love Science, however, only 24 percent among them, said that they love Science classes. See the difference? When a parent can get a child to drink milk with gaming principles, why shouldn’t parents and teachers use the same method to impart learning to kids?

Ed-tech startups have identified this need, which is why online learning tools such as Khan Academy, Quizizz and our own app, QuizNext have started using game elements to deliver learning objectives to students. At QuizNext, we are focused at gamifying the revision experience for CBSE and ICSE students by providing detailed chapter-wise quizzes for delivering formative assessments, making practice fun and engaging. 

It offers two type of revision quizzes:

  •        Practice Quizzes, which are chapter-wise solo quizzes 
  •        Challenge Quizzes, where students compete against other online users on different chapters and concepts.  

So, which one do you think has more adoption among kids? Challenge Quizzes? Are you sure?  You are right, but not completely! I will come to that shortly!  

Just going by the numbers, ‘Challenge Quizzes’ completely outnumber the ‘Practice Quizzes’, accounting for about 68% of the 300,000 quizzes taken over on QuizNext over the last five months. However, it is interesting to see the pattern in which students take quizzes. Students first take ‘Practice Quizzes’, ensure that they have understood the concepts before they go on to challenge their friends in ‘Challenge Quizzes’. 

Further, it has been interesting to see students expect stronger opponents in Challenge Quizzes. In the initial versions of the app, we would randomly pick opponents (both real users and Bots) in Challenge Quizzes. When the learners got used to winning every time, mostly against Bots, they would ‘leave feedback’ asking if they could choose opponents on own including friends.  

So why does this work? 

To understand this a little bit better, let us understand how Intrinsic Reinforcement works. Whenever you challenge yourself, however big or small, and complete that challenge, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which is a pleasurable chemical that makes the challenge achievement feel good.

Further, the more you do this i.e. the challenge-achievement-pleasure loop occurs more often, the brain secretes more dopamine and testosterone, making you want to do it repeatedly and succeed, which is also called the Winning Effect. So, in a student’s context, winning a Challenge Quiz after a stiff competition creates a good feeling and further motivates them to take more quizzes, to replicate the Winning Effect every time. 

We’re constantly observing our users’ activities on QuizNext to derive insights on what works in Ed-tech and what doesn’t. Here's what we’ve learnt so far about Gamification:  

•    Recognition motivates learners to practice more: Learners who have been among Top 15 positions on the leader board, take nine times the number of quizzes every week, when compared to other users.   

•    Virtual Badges and Points trigger intrinsic motivations: Though badges and points have no financial value, it motivates some learners to earn and accumulate them. We ran an experiment, where 50 percent of a ‘user subset’ were offered additional coins for completing practice quizzes, while the other 50 percent of the user set were offered no additional incentives. At the end of the experiment, the user group which had additional incentives had completed 24 percent more quizzes than the other group.  

•    Extrinsic triggers drive learning: Triggers such as ‘Challenge Invites’ work exceptionally well with some set of users. Grouping users based on learning objectives and placing them against each other for a challenge gets users to complete quizzes and move closer to learning objectives.  

•    Breaking a larger goal into smaller milestones makes learning less overwhelming: Breaking down a chapter or concept into smaller quizzes, keeps students motivated as they can earn rewards for every quiz and work with smaller bites of information.   

•    Time-bound quizzes improve student performances: We have seen that time bound quizzes improve the speed of students by at least 50 percent while maintaining the same accuracy levels for questions of similar difficulty and understanding levels for concepts.  

With these insights, it’s safe to say that Gamification might hold the key to a world of better education that’s been locked behind books for many parents and kids for a long time now. 


Authored by Chaiitanyaa Naik, Product Manager at QuizNext. When he is not working, you will find him reading about behavioral interventions and behavioral economics.

posted Apr 26, 2019 by Sopanha

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+2 votes

The promise of technology in the classroom earns high grades with students, teachers and administrators surveyed. But that digital education revolution is not an easy battle to win.

It's spring break, and high school students are eager to put away their books, binders, pencils and... iPads?

High school classrooms, teaching techniques and the very way students learn may receive a tech infusion in the near future. Already some schools across the country, most notably the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), are bringing in tablets and other technology.

"Technology is becoming pervasive in the classroom and playing a strategic role," says Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA.

CompTIA surveyed teachers, admins and students late last year and found that the idea of technology in the classroom is exciting for everyone. All tallied, 58 percent of schools with 1,000 or more students use some education technology, compared to 45 percent of smaller schools.

Putting Tech to the Test

Three out of four teachers believe technology positively impacts the education process. Many teachers are under duress from the pressure of raising test scores, April says, and so they see the use of technology helping them hit their goals and improve student achievement.

Three out of four principals and vice principals believe technology plays an important role in recruitment, particularly among millennials holding newly minted teaching credentials. April says young teachers who grew up with technology simply expect to work with tools such as tablets, not so many chalkboards.

Most importantly, nine out of 10 students believe the use of technology in the classroom will be crucial in helping them get jobs down the road. It'll also change the way they learn. Technology can remake the classroom experience from listening to lectures to learning interactively.

When most people think about technology in the classroom, they think about the tablet or, more narrowly, the iPad. Indeed, Comptia's survey found that the tablet is the number one technology that schools plan to invest in within the next few years.

Educational Technology Is More Than Tablets

But it's important to note that the tablet is only the tip of the iceberg, especially when considering the many cloud services in the education market. There are classroom management software and online curriculum for teachers, game-based learning software for students, and wireless network infrastructure and backend software, such as mobile device management, tying everything together.

Technology in the classroom isn't easy to do, and early adopters have had a rough learning curve. Educators across the country who dream of iPads are surely cringing as they watch missteps in the massive iPad rollout at LAUSD.

In the summer of 2013, LAUSD began a $1.3 billion effort to put an iPad in the hand of every student, teacher and admin. Since then, there have been rumours of stacks of iPads collecting dust, students using iPads inappropriately, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy resigning under pressure over his close ties with Apple and Pearson, (which provided the online curriculum) and, most recently, the FBI seizing documents related to the contract bidding process, Los Angeles Times reported.

Then there's this alarming stat from an outside firm hired by LAUSD to assess the project's progress last fall: Only one teacher out of 245 classrooms visited was using Pearson's online curriculum, Los Angeles Times reported. Four out of five high schools reported that they rarely used the iPads.

Apparently, the rush to get iPads in people's hands outpaced what teachers and students should do with them. Development and training lagged behind a common problem in large scale technology deployments. In fact, CIOs say change management and user training are often the biggest hurdles in a project.

You Can’t Stop the March of Tech

Nevertheless, the troubled LAUSD iPad project hasn't dampened enthusiasm to bring technology to the classroom.

"I don't think this one case is going to stop the march of time when it comes to different types of devices in the classroom," April says, adding, "If you're seeing pushback, it's because [teachers] are being handed a bunch of tools but not taught how to use them... that's not a technology problem."

This story, "Can tech help teachers teach and students learn?" was originally published by CIO.

in EdTech
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In this era of digital learning, technology plays a crucial role in the process of knowledge dissemination. Though there are thousands of applications/technology tools available in the market, only a handful of them is popular among the students and educators. We bring you five digital learning tools that can be used by teachers and students to expand their knowledge and make learning easy and fun.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a free web service designed for schools to help them with drafting, mass distribution and grading assignments in a paperless form. With Google Classroom, the learning process becomes extremely easy and is streamlined by way of sharing files between teachers and students. Here the students can post their queries on the lessons taught in the classrooms and receive answers from teachers and other students. Teachers can also post study materials for students to review at home. Google Classroom combines Google Drive for assignment creation and distribution, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for writing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for scheduling.


Seesaw is a user-friendly learning portfolio tool that empowers students to independently document what they are learning and perceiving at school. Students can use photos, videos, drawings, text notes, links and also Seesaw's built-in audio recording and drawing tools to showcase their knowledge imbibed, and also explain how they got their answers. Student’s projects are stored securely in the cloud. Seesaw is made available on several different devices, such as Chromebooks, computers, iOS devices, Android devices as well as Kindle devices
through which parents can access their wards work.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit organisation that was conceptualised with the aim of building a range of online tools that can help students understand various lessons and concepts in an easier way. The Khan Academy produces short lessons in the form of videos both on the Khan Academy’s YouTube™ channel and on its hugely popular website Its website also includes supplementary practice exercises and materials for educators. With Khan Academy, you can learn everything for free. Lessons are presented by way of videos, interactive activities, and challenges. Hence teachers can make use of Khan Academy to supplement your teaching and also provide extra work to your students and help them with all or difficult content.








EPathshala a portal initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and National Council of Educational Research and Training was launched in November 2015 as one of the initiatives of digital India campaign. Epathshala is a gigantic educational reserve that hosts resources for teachers, students, parents, researchers and educators which is available on multiple platforms such as Web, Android, IOS and Windows platforms. The students can get access of all the required material, including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials through ePathshala and can be downloaded by the user for offline use with absolutely no limits on downloads. ePathshala also allows users to carry many books as their device supports. These books allow users to pinch, select, zoom, highlight, navigate, share and make notes digitally.


It is a game-based learning platform where students can learn via games or, ‘Kahoots,’ which are multiple-choice quizzes. With this digital tool, which can be accessed via a web browser, teachers can draft extra questionnaires, discussions online with academic lessons. The material can be then projected in the classrooms and questions are answered by students while playing and learning at the same time. This not only enhances student engagement but also creates a dynamic, social, and fun educational environment.



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