One of Malaysians’ favored pastimes
Gaming is a term often associated with fun, entertainment and the esports scene in most parts of the world. With 20 million Malaysians having played at least one game on one gaming platform, gaming can be touted as one of Malaysians’ favored pastimes. Although once seen as solely a source of entertainment, gaming trains the mind to prioritize productivity, making it a valuable addition to the learning process. This makes the gamification of the learning process an exciting prospect for education and the way knowledge is absorbed.
A famous stereotype often associated with games is that they are meant only for younger individuals and not for adults. While computer and console gaming are highly dominated by younger generations, the global spread of mobile gamers is more diverse with a reported 73% of individuals aged 50 and above preferring mobile gaming. This shows that interest in games knows no boundaries when it comes to age, providing a powerful platform for both educators and employers to utilise in education and training.
With Malaysia now under the Movement Control Order (MCO) for at least four weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a means to boost productivity is more relevant than ever. The closure of schools means students now have more time on their hands while most of Malaysia’s workforce are forced to work remotely.
This presents an opportunity for educators and trainers to explore the possibility of gamifying their modules and training sessions, making them more immersive and interactive to capture the attention of students who would be easily distracted by home entertainment such as television programmes and unproductive games. Understanding this, Pinheads Interactive as an EdTech solutions company, has developed and continues to innovate on a variety of solutions and tools for specific use cases.
Gamification for educational purposes
While games have often been associated with mindless video games and purely for entertainment, it has quickly gained traction as a valuable method of teaching due to its traits in enhancing cognitive growth through improvements in hand-eye coordination, problem solving, strategic thinking and memory capacity for people of all ages. Thus, the capabilities of gaming in enhancing the learning experience cannot be underestimated as it opens many doors to explore a student’s thought process while keeping them engaged.
This in turn, makes it easier for educators to keep students engaged for longer periods of time which is usually an issue with traditional approaches to learning. In line with the closure of schools, parents are, temporarily at least, the primary educators at home. The facilitation of learning through unconventional means via games minimally requires a smartphone – an item almost every household in Malaysia owns – where parents are able to provide an immersive and interactive learning experience at home.
An example of such a game would be Plague Inc, a game first published in 2012, which recently shot up in popularity due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. The game lets you play as a disease, learning the mechanics of one and the means of spreading from one human to another. While not scientifically accurate, Plague Inc allows players to gain a better understanding of the transmission, survivability and lethality of a disease-inducing pathogen.
Founded in 2007, Pinheads Interactive believes in the positive effects that gamification brings to education on multiple fronts. Pinheads develops game-based learning solutions based on client needs with four key focus areas in mind. The first of which is to prioritise task orientation to ensure that users are gaming with an objective in mind to achieve by the end of their task.
Another is to be scenario-based where the content learned is relatable to the user’s daily life as well as scaffolded learning where simple tasks progressively become more complex based on the user’s ability and speed of learning. Lastly, a fundamental of game-based learning is the learning dashboard which stores data that is then immediately analysed to form insights on user performance, further aiding educators in pinpointing key areas of focus for future modules.
Gamification for training purposes
Onboarding sales representatives in any sector and organisation can take many months before they are able to perform decently. Add to that, a more competitive market than ever before with businesses reporting an average of 25 competitors in their market sees the need for organisations to innovate and improve processes where possible to gain an advantage.
One of these areas is the process of training business development executives efficiently, harnessing and maximising their potential at a faster rate resulting in better sales figures. The gamification of the sales training process is able to achieve this through carefully curated courses that test various aspects of a salesperson’s ability, providing an immersive yet interactive experience. This also eliminates the need to practice on prospective clients that could lead to potential losses.
Pinheads Interactive achieves this through scenario-based learning where sales representatives are able to experience virtual scenes imitating real-life situations, enabling one to ensure effective sales conversions. Upon completing simulations, instant feedback is also provided based on choices made, allowing for analysis of performance by both the salesperson themself and their supervisors.
This level of detail will then enable self-reflection of one’s thought process, stimulating a self-improvement approach which speeds up the learning process. These processes can be replicated endlessly with varying scenarios and degrees of difficulty for use on multiple platforms like laptops, smartphones and tablets which enables endless remote learning.
With the application of gamification technology providing a breadth of solutions in a variety of settings, there’s no telling what we can achieve in a short time. As technology continues to improve, so will the features and the benefits of gamification. The ability to learn in various ways from anywhere and at any time today proves that we are in exciting times and there’s more to come.
Nikitha Karrai, Director of Operations, Pinheads Interactive