The idea of gamification has been gaining traction in educational circles for some years now. By introducing competition into the classroom and incentivizing retention of knowledge with rewards, teachers can turn the experience into a fun one. As a result, pupils learn information without even realizing it.
The same is true for chess, as well. Indeed, the fact that chess is already a game means that it lends itself well to gamification, but introducing a framework around individual games and practice sessions can attribute greater meaning to them. This, in turn, can encourage players to apply themselves more thoroughly and thus enhance their improvement. Here are five ways in which gamification can boost chess performance levels in both the short and long term.
Although the beginning of a chess match can often be crucial in determining its outcome, checkmate doesn’t normally follow hot on the heels of the first move. By gamifying chess openings, however, you can make the initial confrontation of a game an outcome in itself, rewarding players for good behaviors and familiarizing them with the right moves more thoroughly. This type of learning session also affords the opportunity to spend more time on moves with which a player is struggling and less on those they have already mastered.
Human nature dictates that we’ll be incentivized to perform better when competing against someone else. Of course, the adversarial character of chess means that you’re always competing against someone else – your opponent – but the introduction of leader boards and the suchlike can enhance the feeling of competition and give you a reason to try harder in each and every game you play or learning session you undertake.
As well as introducing an element of competition, gamification can also foster a sense of community among chess players. By being able to share (and trade) rewards with one another, they can discuss their progress and exchange ideas. This is key to not only making them feel more comfortable in the learning environment, but also exposing them to concepts and techniques which might not have occurred to them otherwise.
For some people, the thrill of learning new knowledge and skills really is enough. However, for many others, the reward of learning itself is not sufficient to motivate them to give their best effort every single time. By offering extrinsic motivation in the form of badges, rewards and unlocked capabilities, it’s possible to dangle carrots in front of chess enthusiasts and encourage them to better themselves for reasons other than their own personal betterment.
Breaking down difficult-to-achieve tasks into smaller, more manageable milestones is important in all walks of life. In the corporate world, work breakdown structures (WBSs) can help to progress projects; in health and fitness, improving upon personal bests or losing weight incrementally can aid overall wellbeing. Chess is no different and gamification provides the opportunity to break down an ultimate goal into manageable milestones, with small rewards offered each step of the way.
It’s no surprise that gamification is an increasingly common fixture in classrooms and workplaces across the globe – and it’s equally effective in the domain of chess, too.