Playful tertiary learning – a different path to follow

Opinion Monday 27/September/2021 21:04 PM
By: Ubais Parayil Iqbal
Playful tertiary learning – a different path to follow

The new normal classrooms without physical walls have created a unique learning culture, which demands the teachers to be technologically savvy. Ironically, the online course delivery has given an opportunity to the teachers to learn new technologies and improve their acumen in technology-assisted teaching.

However, when we are back to the brick and mortar classrooms in the post-pandemic era the students may feel highly exasperated with the traditional classroom discourse which hardly uses technology for teaching and learning. There comes the importance of developing more creative classroom strategies which are learner-centric and interactive. Gamification of learning and game-based learning are popular in schools to ensure student participation and facilitates collaborative learning. This is high time for tertiary education to try serious classroom games to make a difference.

A recent study conducted by Hitchens and Tulloch has reported that the students find gamification of learning as enjoyable and useful leaving only 15 per cent disagree with it. Another study by Buckley and Doyle emphasized the importance of gamification by acknowledging the effect of gamification on student’s motivation. However, implementing gamification is a costly affair that requires the institute to subscribe to different apps and software. In fact, many institutes are forced to deny the growing call from the students due to the high investment required in creating the IT infrastructure. Interestingly, there are benchmarkable success stories that break through the cost barriers.

Mr Shajeer Sainudeen, Senior Lecturer delivering the University of West of England courses in  Maldives, has shared his own success story of gamification with zero cost. According to him, games with pen and paper could also generate student interest and motivation as in the case of digital games. He asked the students to do the problem-solving in groups by assuming charges with the help of the lessons discussed. He said the students are more disciplined in the class since they assumed the role of an Internal Auditor or HR manager while doing the game activity.

Mr Alen Kuriakose, Assistant professor, School of Social work, Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous), has shared his in-classroom experiments which helped him to win the students attention. Alen says, “I’m fond of case studies and loved to discuss case studies in classrooms but it’s a scary thing for my students and they used to say we want to get rid of these lengthy case studies”. Mr Alen has successfully used the ‘Kahoot’ free version to conduct group quizzes from the case study. Adding on, he made a small change in the delivery strategy which triggered an overall change in the student’s mindset on case studies.

Finally, since the students appreciate and demand the use of gamification of learning this could be experimented with in the tertiary learning environment. Moreover, games could be part of the assessment as well, which gives the students additional motivation to participate in the collaborative activities.
The writer is lecturer, Business Department, University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Nizwa.