Gone are the days when students spent all day in the same four-walled classroom with their notebook and pen. The Covid-19 pandemic saw the shift to online learning imposed on both students and teachers overnight, further accelerating the digital transformation of the education sector. Educators have had to adapt their teaching plans and styles to navigate virtual classrooms while ensuring that students can stay engaged with both their learning and their classmates.
But how can technology not only ensure that students continue to learn, but also that they are engaged and motivated, while bringing creativity back into the classroom?
Using interactive resources, augmented reality and gamification to increase engagement
Augmented Reality (AR) and gamification provide students and teachers with a much more fun and interactive way of learning.
Gamification in both the physical and virtual classroom helps make the learning experience more exciting and interactive for students. Whether it’s team exercises or peer-to-peer competition, gamification taps into students’ competitive drive. Not only does this make exercises that often seem mundane more fun, but it also motivates learners to stay engaged and on top of their learning.
Like learning through play, gamification ensures that education remains interesting and memorable, which ensures greater uptake of information.
When it comes to AR technology in the educational environment, it essentially helps bring learning to life. Many professional courses such as dentistry, engineering and nursing to name a few depend on practical experience. However, the shift to online learning during the pandemic has resulted in many students missing out on this crucial experience.
Technologies such as AR and VR have really helped bring the hands-on side of education to life virtually and ensure that students don’t miss out on hands-on learning. For example, on the Immersify Dental platform, our learning resource for dental students and professionals, a number of experiences use augmented reality to enhance learning, including one where an AR model that simulates phantom heads appears on the student’s phone, along with a dentist mirror for learners to examine teeth and detect problems.
Using technologies like AR and gamification not only keeps students engaged, but can often help improve grades. In fact, according to McKinsey research, more than 60% of students believe that learning technology used in the classroom since the start of the pandemic has improved their learning and grades.
Creating virtual communities with gamification
It is widely known that one of the main influencing factors for those deciding whether or not to go to university is the social element. Cognitive science has proven that a sense of community, combined with social situations and activities that require cooperation, enhances the human ability to learn.
This means that even when distance learning is part of the normal educational experience, there needs to be a real focus on helping students feel a sense of community. Technological advances over the years mean that we can communicate with each other anywhere, anytime, and we need to ensure that technology in the education space allows people to connect with each other in some way.
This is often where gamification can help. Being able to compete with like-minded people, whether that’s at your educational institution or with people taking similar courses around the world, competition really strengthens that connection with the community.
The future of gamification and AR
Hybrid learning, whether we like it or not, is the new norm, and educational institutions must ensure they use technology to keep students engaged while maintaining retention rates.
It is for this reason that I predict we will continue to see new technologies enter the market to help students learn while ensuring they stay connected to their peers.
Personalization is a huge element of the learning experience to consider – no two people learn the same way, so technology in this space needs to find a way to ensure that the learning experience is not only personalized, but also accessible.
Chloe Barrett is the CEO and co-founder of Immersify Education