Webinar: The Value of Gamification for Language Learning

I watched this short webinar today from Cambridge Assessment English on gamifying learning (Sarah Albrecht and Ollie Wood). It was a straightforward introduction to the topic of gamification, then a short Q+A between presenters and live listeners. Here is the recording, as shared by Ollie Wood on LinkedIn:

Overall, the webinar was a nice overview of the topic. The first 15 minutes or so explained the concept of gamification and explored why it was useful. The presenters then mentioned some useful tools for gamifying learning, which led into the Q+A. I’ve summarised the main points of the talk in this 3-minute video below – just because I was trialling Biteable so thought I’d put it to good use…

Note: Biteable is really good – that video honestly took me about an hour to put together in total, but that’s the first time I’d used the tool and haven’t actually checked it much (sorry if spelling errors!).

Not mentioned in my summary video:

The examples in the video are digital tools, but gamification isn’t all digital. Quote from one of the presenters: ‘whether digital or face-to-face, make sure the focus is on learning’.

Sarah Albrecht stated that digital gamification tools have made it easier for learners/teachers to track progress (think Quizlet, Kahoot, etc).

Digital gamification tools should be evaluated. Example evaluation questions…

  • How accessible is it?
  • What year was it published? Is it updated?
  • What age group is it aimed at?
  • What is the source language?
  • What skill is practiced?

Funny moment in the webinar…

When Ollie Wood says: ‘Fun is beneficial to learning. Without going into the science and psychology of this…. fun releases dopamine in the brain, it’s a chemical that makes you feel happy. More importantly, the brain begins to associate the activity with happiness…

Something I disagreed with in the webinar…

When Sarah Albrecht suggests that a reward for students could be ‘no homework’. Homework isn’t a punishment… is it?

Questions…

The presenters are asked questions such as…

  • is it time-consuming to gamify learning?
  • which online tools for gamification are free?
  • what about digital safety?
  • is gamification too childish for adults?

They give their views after about 40 minutes into the video if you’re interested.

Overall

This is a simple and informative webinar that could feature as a supplementary resource on a training course like the TYLEC. I recommend watching it at speed 1.5x on YouTube as I found it a tad slow. Personally, I would have liked more follow-up reading and links to research – they did say the focus was on practical tips though. With this in mind, I learnt about the tool wordwall from this webinar, which looks great!

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