How Gamification Can Support Autistic Learners
April 05, 2023
By: Lily Meyers
As a growing number of educators are discovering, gamification can have a profound impact on autistic learners. By leveraging the principles of game-based learning, teachers can create an engaging, dynamic environment for their students with learning disabilities. Through meaningful rewards, clear instruction and safe exploration, gamification not only helps to improve academic performance, but also offers them opportunities for socialisation and collaboration. Games can also help foster motivation by providing a safe outlet to explore real-world concepts in a supportive environment and giving them the confidence to take risks. It can be a powerful tool for helping reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond.
The ability to learn in a stress-free environment is one of the main advantages for autistic students using gamification. They may experience anxiety from traditional teaching methods because they may feel overexcited or overwhelmed when asked to complete assignments or participate in group activities. Gamification; however, removes this pressure, offering stimulating activities that are simple to comprehend and take part in. This may also have an additional benefit of helping to develop self-assurance in their skills, which may pave the way for further investigation of more challenging subjects.
Another advantage of gamification is that it offers a personalised approach to education. By reducing the stress level of the activity, there is more opportunity for a better student analysis on where they’re thriving and struggling, which can be difficult to accomplish in a group setting. Because games can be adapted to any student’s individual strengths and weaknesses, they provide an opportunity for educators to tailor instruction, so it best suits the needs of each learner. Games often come with visual or auditory prompts that help autistic learners stay focused on the task at hand without feeling overwhelmed by too much information at once. This can help ensure that they remain interested and engaged while they progress through different levels of difficulty.
In addition to providing motivation, gamification has been found to help enhance cognitive skills such as problem solving, reasoning, planning and organisation for autistic learners as well. It allows them to learn at their own pace while developing important social skills like communication, self-regulation, and collaboration. For instance, many online games are designed around cooperative tasks that require players to communicate effectively with each other in order to meet shared objectives. This type of collaborative play provides an opportunity for autistic learners to practice essential social skills while playing the game.
In numerous situations involving learning and development, the use of games has been found to be effective, especially in a professional setting. Because employees are more likely to take ownership of a task if they know there will be something in it for them at the end, employers may find that gamifying their environment increases employee engagement levels, increases employee retention rates, and even improves customer service levels. Employers can foster a work environment where employees are encouraged to remain motivated and productive by using challenges, rewards, badges, and points. Employees can compete with one another using gamification to earn rewards or recognition for their accomplishments. This system permits cordial rivalry among employees as well.
The potential benefits of using gamification in an educational setting for autistic learners are unceasing– from allowing them to learn in a stress-free environment where their individual strengths are highlighted; all the way up to encouraging collaboration among peers and receiving positive reinforcement from game mechanics when appropriate. By introducing game-like activities into regular class routines, educators can create an immersive learning experience suitable for all types of students – including those with autism spectrum disorders – that will engage them while simultaneously teaching valuable skills needed now and into adulthood.
Lily Meyers is a creative copywriter with a passion for researching new and innovative ways to teach. When she’s not out and about chasing her dog, you can find her typing away her next angle at her desk.