Making learning personalised with LEAD School’s game-changing approach

Posted by Guruprasad Holla on Jul 5, 2021 5:14:11 PM
Guruprasad Holla

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No matter how well a subject is taught, children go through a forgetting curve and they need to be given opportunities to apply their knowledge in multiple contexts periodically. To help students gain mastery over concepts and enhance memory, LEAD School has adopted an intuitive gamification approach.

Sunidhi, a passionate and energetic teacher, fills her classes with her infectious love for science. Her enthusiasm rubs off on her students and the classroom is filled with curiosity, cheer and chatter. However, today, with online classes becoming the norm and hybrid learning being the way forward for the near future, even good teachers like Sunidhi need all the support they can get. Online learning can be a tough nut to crack for many schools, as the progress of individual students can be hard to track. But be it online or in-class learning, keeping children motivated and engaged is not a job a teacher can do alone. With what technology has to offer, her efforts to engage students can be supplemented with real-time data and insights that can personalize learning for each child.

Tests and exams are often seen as a way to test retention of concepts but the standardized examination systems put children under a lot of stress. We notice that students forget 40% of concepts in just a week's time. Only three per cent of students are motivated to engage with the curriculum and practice even when there are no exams. It is for a reason that they say, ‘practice makes perfect’. Continuous practice builds long-term retention of concepts.

Online learning without meaningful supplementary aids also leads to a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t take into account each student's individual learning and forgetting curves. Regular online classes and video lessons fail to cater to the unique learning styles of each student. On the other hand, by accommodating every child’s unique abilities, it is possible to ignite curiosity and sustain interest in lessons. The entire pedagogical process of LEAD School breaks away from the cookie-cutter approach and supports students based on their strengths and weaknesses.

How do we make the difficult stuff fun?

Repetitive learning moves knowledge and concepts from conscious thought to subconscious mastery. For most children, this process seems mundane and uninteresting. The way to change this is by designing enjoyable quizzes and games to connect the students' learning and interests which can help in a healthy reinforcement of concepts. Thus, at LEAD School, we believe that personalised practice makes perfect’. Students see their lessons in a new light when learning is made fun and accessible. Personalised practice employs more cognitive effort and higher-order thinking skills.

Thus, to make learning joyous and personalised, LEAD School hosts a range of practice exercises using an adaptive and gamified approach. The ‘Practice with Friends’ platform on the LEAD School app has taken the adaptive and gamified route to practice. The principle of personalised learning is to ensure every student engages with materials appropriate to their learning level and can challenge themselves. LEAD School achieves this via gamification. Not only does this drives practice, but it also helps in motivating students and promotes active engagement with their lessons

Delivering personalised learning experiences requires extensive use of technology, which LEAD School has been fully committed to. Understanding behaviour and learning data have been a crucial part of building our tech platform. Our learning product creators had to conduct experiments and learn from data and finetune the learning process, which is a long-drawn-out and continuous process. Doing this especially at scale has been challenging but ultimately rewarding and has helped set us apart in the B2B edtech space. 

Benefits of gamification

Everybody loves to play, especially children. In the context of education, gamification refers to applying game design elements and frameworks in education to improve learning outcomes. It is human nature to look for motivation to complete a task. Gamification is goal-oriented and gives adequate rewards, which drives children to work and study beyond the classroom. The activities are designed so that the game objectives align with the curriculum objectives. 

This way, game-based learning enhances conceptual understanding and boosts memory. Gamification aids cognitive development and allows students to make connections with their textbooks and lessons. Information is retrieved at the right time and at the right intervals to beat the forgetting curve. A scaffolded and adaptive approach to gaming increases difficulty very gradually taking into account the students’ capacity. Further, gamification breaks down difficult tasks into achievable and digestible chunks. With this fun way of learning, we are able to nurture intrinsic motivation in children and steer them into complex problem-solving in an organic manner.

Unlike standardised tests, games do not stress the children and there is more liberty to fail and go wrong. It is this comfort offered by gamification that pushes students to engage with lessons beyond the classroom. The most important advantage of this strategy is the short feedback cycles. Students instantly know when they are wrong and their teachers get insights into the problem areas.  

Setting playful benchmarks and targets

We have tapped into student psychology and made learning outcomes visible through the badges, levels, and achievements they unlock. Along with the motivation factor, games have ensured consistency and give students a sense of accomplishment. With every little success, the student feels a dopamine rush, which hooks them to their game. LEAD School has implemented the Octalysis gamification framework, which stimulates a complete and realistic gaming environment for the child.

Since learning and playing have become synonymous, we see continuous engagement with the practice questions. In a day, two million questions are attempted on the app with the most traffic over the weekends! This is truly a win-win situation for parents and teachers who try to curtail the screen time of children.

When we ask our students what drives them to practice, Arjun, a Class 8 student, says he is eager to acquire the XPs and badges. Having joined a LEAD-powered school  in March 2021, Arjun already has an impressive 65-day streak! Our adaptive engine harnesses his innate drive to get him to complete all the recommended chapters.

The LEAD gamification framework has been designed in a way that goes beyond points, badges, and leadership boards to drive children to learn and to motivate their peers as well. The encouragement given to their friends fosters healthy competition among the students while also boosting team spirit.  

Driving better learning outcomes with data

Gamification is indeed a clever approach to stimulate interest in students. With instant results, students discover their learning patterns, strengths, and areas of improvement. This gives them a sense of independence and they take control of their learning.

At the same time, gamification is a reliable source to obtain relevant student data. With millions of data points, analytics, behaviour analysis, and crunching of data, we are able to track preferences, identify problem areas, and also design better engagement models for students. Such information will prove invaluable in improving our pedagogy and providing students a personalised learning experience online or offline.

A student in a LEAD-powered school, Reshma, says she loves practising with the LEAD app. She has been practising every day for over two months now. Although she practices lessons on her own, she is committed to completing every recommended lesson. She enjoys practising math, biology, and history the most. With this data, our personalisation engine understands her needs and can help Reshma practice some of the other subjects she needs to focus on by analysing her in-app behaviour.

The data and insights our gamification engine provides will empower LEAD School’s goal of immersive and personalised education. And deploying a gamification tool is a stepping stone in creating such a personalised and fun-filled learning environment in classrooms. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. With LEAD School’s gamification framework, work has now become full of play, making our children champions who look forward to acing their lessons.

LEAD is transforming schools by making children future-ready. To make yours a LEAD Powered School: Partner with us today

About the Author
Guruprasad Holla
Guruprasad Holla

Guruprasad Holla is the Director of Engineering at LEAD School. Prior to LEAD, he had founded QuizNext, a company that gamified practice platform to build practice habits for every student. He comes with 16 years of experience in design, architecture, and technical leadership. He has successfully led teams across multiple domains and technologies.

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