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Technology for education: Enabling more engaged learning

Technology for education: Enabling more engaged learning

Technology has impacted almost every aspect of everyday life, and education and specifically career development are not immune

Technology has broken down the barriers of classroom walls and enabled new ways of learning, communicating and collaborating. It has opened the breadth of the entire education sector – giving more people access to ad hoc and selective education through access to massive open online course platforms. Technology is a very broad term though, so what exactly has enabled these more engaging environments?

Gamification in learning

As we know, the pandemic sped up the development of moving processes and operations online – including how we learn. A strategy that has been around for many years and continues to grow in popularity is the incorporation of gaming into learning. So, what exactly is gamification? Simply put, it is a method of teaching that pulls elements of game design into learning to engage and grab the learners’ full attention. This method allows learners to engage with course content in a playful dynamic way, and in turn, intrinsically motivates learners to continuously upskill because of how much they enjoy the process of learning.

To embrace this method of learning and to support the company’s culture of encouraging continuous learning across all levels of the business we have created a platform that facilitates learning interactively. Known as The Hive, gamification has been actively incorporated into this continuous learning programme to allow BBDers to upskill in a way that is engaging and motivating. This helps employees own and drive their individual learning goals and ultimately increases the trajectory of their careers.

“The Hive is an internal platform where you define and track your personalised learning goals with the help of a guide and mentor”, explains Tony van der Linden, head of Research and Development at BBD. It is centred around the Hero’s Journey – a gamified continuous learning programme in support of our vision to create an inclusive and sustainable culture of learning within the company. There are three parts to the Hero’s Journey: Adventures, Level-ups and Side Quests. This article spotlights the Adventure element.

Adventures can be defined as “quests” that are aimed at building your knowledge, based on your individualised learning path. As you meet your learning goals, you work your way through ranked levels; Apprentice, Hero and Master. Throughout each level, BBDers are represented by three different types of robot avatars which you can customise with a growing inventory set. These bots play an important role in the learning path and are a big part of where the gamification aspects come into play. You can tweak the colours and add specialised weaponry and toys to your bot to spice it up. As you complete levels and tasks, learners are rewarded with points and features are unlocked. Your bot also helps you keep track of how much time you have left in your quest – acting as a motivational element to continue on one’s learning journey. “Because The Hive is interactive and incorporates rewards and gamification, it has improved engagement, learning and retention in a sustainable manner”, Van der Linden explains.

Personalisation in learning

“Personalised learning has been topical for many years, but the pandemic allowed for a renewed focus on its value.” In the traditional learning sense, education was built around a one-size-fits-all approach, evolving as the strengths and weaknesses that different learning strategies could offer learners emerged. The primary goal of personalised learning is to help each learner achieve their desired goal by first understanding their learning needs, aspirations and motivations, and then providing a customised learning solution that fits those needs. This approach gives individuals the ability to learn at their own pace and take initiative over their education.

Our gamified continuous learning programme is centred on this concept of personalised learning.

Within The Hive, you define your own goal, specialisation and timeframe And based off of that you are assigned a guide who is there to help throughout your learning journey. Quest missions are put into play by your guide to ensure you are on track to become a master of your specialisation. Okay, so what are quest missions? “These are various learning engagements with learning material or challenges that individuals work through to complete their goal. This ranges from videos and online course material to writing articles or developing something from scratch.” Because personalised learning is sustainably complex, the design also incorporates democratised learning as a guiding principle.

Democratised learning

This type of learning places the ball in the learner’s court and teaches them how to learn and in turn teach others. “It’s all about mastery, everything you learn you do to become a master so that in turn, you can guide others”, adds Van der Linden. Democratised learning results in a student-focused approach to learning that aims to break down the barriers that typically reduce a learner’s ability to participate in teaching and learning. This approach promotes the gradual release of responsibility by arming learners with tools to create and share knowledge with others. It promotes a culture shift from passive to active learning and therefore increases the value and retention of information.

Putting learning in the hands of individuals has enabled us to foster a deeper culture of learning, organic mentorship and continued career advancement in the company. As the tech industry is known as a space where change is the only constant, this approach empowers the company with highly advanced technical delivery teams who stay at the top of their game.

If you’re interested in joining the BBD team, click through to our careers portal here.

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