When digital signage gets interactive with gamification
By Jonathan Priestley, Vice President of Marketing, MultiTaction
In the U.S. 80 percent of learners have reported that they would be more productive if learning at an institution or on the job were more game-like. Today, millions of Americans consider themselves gamers, and as a result, industries are increasingly trying to create gamer environments to engage today’s students and workforce. Gamification is the concept of applying game-like tools and mechanics used to cultivate skills, encourage innovation and heighten learning processes in non-game contexts. Digital signage offers a way to initiate gamification activities and fully engage people like never before.
Digital signage touch and gesture technologies have changed the gamification trend as users can interact with content using their hands and fingers, or even their whole bodies, and easily be drawn into the activity. Numerous studies have been conducted that uncover the positive effects of gamification as it provides easy-to-use tools to involve multiple individuals and allow them to "play" with one another. Participating on a single platform bolsters group learning, relays new information and builds team camaraderie. Creating a more dynamic approach in day-to-day activities and providing a new way of accomplishing tasks has made gamification a trend to keep a pulse on.
Let’s take a look at various sectors where gamification is playing a critical role.
Games in the classroom
Gamification is on track to take over the classroom. As the shift from individual learning to group learning has become more prominent, interactive technologies incorporating gamification have been utilized in classrooms at every level. According to the Education Arcade at MIT, game players exhibit “persistence, risk-taking, attention to detail and problem-solving," which are all behaviors that can be identified in the school environment. Gamification provides students the opportunity to learn and apply concepts without the strict penalties that come with quizzes and exams.
As classrooms move beyond the traditional white board and projector setup, interactive technology provides a unique platform that entices students to learn using a gamification model. Using gamification tools in the classroom that encourage creativity has proven to boost the attention of students. In fact, 70 percent of teachers saw an increase in student engagement using educational video games, according to Games and Learning. Interactive technology also provides teachers with the opportunity to do more than just verbalize lessons plans and materials; they can instead bring a visual element to the classroom with displays and a physical element for students to play on these touchscreens so projects and ideas are brought to life.
Learning at museums
Similar to the classroom, other educational settings are boasting impressive gamification tools and incorporating interactive technology as well. Public locations such as museums have long been early adopters of digital signage technologies to intrigue visitors.
One example of this is the Oztoc exhibit located at the New York Hall of Science, which was created in coordination with Games Learning Society, a research group with the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, and the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This exhibit is an interactive multitouch table that investigates how collaboration and learning occur in an informal setting such as museums. Visitors are invited to explore the game on the display system which purposefully does not have instructions. The game allows players to combine both physical blocks, which represent electronic components, to create circuitry and lights to attract and display undiscovered sea creatures. Creating a fun educational environment, children learn to problem solve, reason and collaborate with one another throughout the course of the game. Researchers on the other hand are able to use the game to target and test specific scenarios to learn about the various ways children actually think like engineers.
Work and play
Once outside of the classroom and entering the workforce, there is a constant need to learn. Fortunately gamification is altering how employers provide information to employees and changing mundane tasks into interactive games. According to Office Vibe, 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies will use gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues. Gamification can help companies create an active, engaged and productive team — especially among new hires.
As companies operate on large, multinational scales, it’s become more important to maintain a consistent approach across offices and engage employees at every level to become integral members of the team. Interactive technology allows corporations to create game-like experiences for employees and connects the dots between employee motivation and company success.
Gamification is employee-focused, and by gamifying work processes corporations encourage employees to complete tasks in a fun manner that reduces stress levels. Interactive technologies are gradually playing a key role in this process as employees can engage on a single display and even connect using their PCs and smart devices.
According to M2Research, the gamification market is currently estimated at around $100 million and will reach $2.8 billion by 2016, so gamification and the intersection of digital signage and interactive technology will remain a top priority for numerous industries. As educational institutions cater to the learning needs of students, museums seek to interest visitors with captivating content, and companies seek to attract and retain employees, relying on gamification is crucial to the process.
Jonathan Priestley is the vice president of marketing at interactive display systems developer MultiTaction. The company, which has products in use in more than 50 countries worldwide, is headquartered in Helsinki, with offices in Silicon Valley, New York City, Chicago and Singapore.