Virtual learning can be challenging at best. But, when you have tools in place to help you create an engaging classroom, it makes all the difference.
From using virtual whiteboards to emphasize new ideas to integrating point systems and fun avatars to keep students focused, there are endless ways you can take virtual learning from drab to fun and informative.
With games on your side, you can turn even the blandest or most challenging lessons into immersive experiences to promote student learning and engagement.
And with 75% of schools planning to operate fully online, getting a grasp on making online learning vibrant should be a top priority.
If you’re ready to learn how to integrate gamification into e-learning, we’ve got you covered.
In today’s article, we’re sharing six effective ways you can implement gamification in virtual learning.
Ready to learn more?
- 1. Implement topic-specific “challenges”
- 2. Study for exams with flashcard games
- 3. Use online game apps to practice thematic units
- 4. Recap the entire semester’s lessons with online Jeopardy
- 5. Warm-up for class with icebreaker games
- 6. Learn new lessons, debate topics, and conduct speeches with timed speaking games
1. Implement topic-specific “challenges”
Use topic-specific challenges to boost motivation, stimulate healthy competition, and reinforce a theme or lesson.
For instance, let’s say you’re teaching a money unit focused on helping students learn how to better manage their finances.
In this case, you can teach students how to manage their student bank accounts by creating challenges, such as a “no spend challenge” or a “who can save the fastest” challenge.
You can also reward students using a point system and prizes, or let the challenge speak for itself as it stirs up healthy competition among peers.
2. Study for exams with flashcard games
Promote memory retention by helping students study for exams with virtual flashcard games.
Or, you can also keep it old school by hand-making or printing out flashcards and holding them up to the screen.
Here are some other ways to implement flashcard games:
- Have students create their own flashcards as part of the lesson
- Group or pair students up and ask them to test each other’s knowledge by alternating flashcards
- Host timed flashcard competitions — whoever answers the fastest before the timer goes off gets a point or prize
3. Use online games to practice thematic units
Hosting a beginner’s TEFL vocabulary class that’s focused on food vocabulary this week? Break out an online game resource like gamestolearnenglish.com, choose a vocabulary game, and then choose “Food” as your topic.
You can also play matching games, spelling games, or even Hangman to reinforce thematic units.
Need to cover unique topics or difficult subject matter? Create your own vocabulary games on playfactile.com. Take this tip up a notch by asking your students to create the vocabulary games themselves!
And speaking of playfactile.com …
4. Recap the entire semester’s lessons with online Jeopardy-style quiz game boards
One of the best things about playfactile.com is you can use it to create online Jeopardy-style quiz game boards.
You can use these game boards to:
- Study for exams
- Teach new material
- Keep students engaged and motivated when learning serious or dry subject matter
- Host official exams
- Promote study groups
- Or, our personal favorite: To recap the entire semester’s lessons!
Another great feature playfactile.com has is the option to group students up into teams, assign team avatars, and track how much “money” each team earns when they answer a question correctly.
What a fun and engaging way to encourage students to stay motivated during the learning experience, are we right?
When all else fails, break out a Jeopardy-style game board. ✅
5. Warm-up for class with icebreaker games
Help students get prepared and warmed up for the class by hosting quick and easy icebreaker games.
You can use virtual games or team collaboration platforms. Or, you can play hybrid games, like “show and tell” or host physical scavenger hunts.
For instance, if you’re warming up with “show and tell”, you can ask each student to hold up an item in front of the screen so the entire class can see it. And then (you guessed it) they can describe the item they displayed and share how it pertains to the day’s lesson.
For physical scavenger hunts, simply post the scavenger hunt list on your virtual whiteboard or share it as a PDF, then set a timer, and say “go!” The student that returns to the screen fastest with the most items in hand before the timer runs out wins the game.
6. Learn new lessons, debate topics, and conduct speeches with timed speaking games
Help students practice their communication skills, debate skills, and learn new subject matter by hosting timed speaking games.
You can group students into teams or partners. Or, if you have small classes, you can time students individually.
Here are some examples of timed speaking games you can play:
- Topic-specific Q&A games (use a points system)
- “Two Lies And A Truth”
- “Never Have I Ever” (be sure to set some healthy ground rules here)
You can also facilitate timed speeches and debates and give students the opportunity to teach the rest of the class something.
For instance, if your class recently learned about US presidents, you can time each student or team as they teach the rest of the class a few facts or share a quick biography about a specific president.
Virtual learning is another beast entirely. But with tools and gamification on your side, you can bring life back into your virtual classroom — and your student’s lives.
From topic-specific challenges to online games to virtual game boards and timed speeches, there are endless ways you can keep students happy and engaged.
And that’s why gamification is especially important to apply in the virtual classroom.
If you’re ready to implement gamification into your classroom, we hope the six ideas we shared today will set you (and your students) up for success.
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