An introspection into the challenge in availability of the technical human resource as per expectations of prospective employers yields deficient soft skills and professional skills. Some of the generally deficient prominent skills are Communication skills, Limited knowledge beyond textbooks and inability to apply the knowledge, Team spirit and Leadership ability, Improper attitude, Inadequate awareness of latest technology, Courage to face challenges, Multitasking ability, Communicating languages and Foreign language, Versatility and ambitions, Mobility and many more. These skills although appear to be distinct, but can be conveniently acquisitioned through certain creative activities which need technical inputs, comprehensive study followed by simulation & analysis, interdisciplinary functionalities, verbal and non-verbal presentation, documentation, use of technology, and many more. It becomes much more interesting, if these creative activities are accompanied with certain fun and entertainment quotients. Thus, the quest in learners for participating to succeed in such creative activities leads to compelling condition for the learners to resolve the difficulties on their own and learn a lot of things simultaneously. This self-learning experience of the learners in game based approach offers lot of learning without making it boring and mundane.
Learning along with fun is a part of gamification pedagogy of teaching. Learning through gamification dates back to 1980s when number of early software came for combining education and entertainment and were also termed as edutainment. In the present digital age, access of internet, strong computational facilities, rise in social networking platforms, mobile computing, ease of manufacturing and fabrication, access to global commodities and global knowledge and many more has provisioned for extensive use of gamification for creating thorough understanding of aimed learning. In fact the gamification approach relies upon creation of certain competitive events like games for fun, creativity, innovation, accomplishment and many more which may be usually participated by teams having student members with nearly matching competence due to uniform eligibility. It needs to be understood by all peers in education sector that the participation and playing in competing events like games no longer hamper the students in achievement of desired competencies; instead these events create opportunities where participants make significant usage of their comprehensive learning and celebrate achievements on getting success.
Learning along with fun is a part of gamification pedagogy of teaching.
Today, there are number of examples of national/international technical competitive events in which students participate with their creativity and novel ideas for winning the prizes, but the real accomplishment of such efforts and participation lies in the significant enhancement of their understanding and application of technical knowledge. For example any competitive robotics event or online computer gaming event will essentially increase efficacy of using computers, simulation capability, strategic thinking for problem solving, effective coordination amongst body parts and sensory organs, understanding electro-mechanical systems, technical skill building, quest for learning, comprehensive application of knowledge, multitasking capability, team spirit, leadership capabilities, communication skills, presentation skills, positive approach towards challenges, exploration of surroundings, fulfilment of ambitions and many more. Similar to this there are ample challenges in different fields which are being thrown to students for evolving a viable solution to them, but the number of such competitive gaming events need to be increased vigorously. This will automatically compel the majority of students to do something creative and innovative by connecting the knowledge acquired during class room / laboratory learning.
Further, the traditional teaching-learning processes consisting of lectures and stereotyped laboratory component of curriculum is seen to be quite boring and students do make note of such class activities but fail in application of the knowledge. Students of present time have no dearth of access to knowledge but need congenial conditions to satiate their curiosity and keen desire for creating value. In view of impending requirements of technical human resource with better understanding of real world problems and meagre investment on training of fresh technical graduates and postgraduates, it is high time to integrate curriculum with open ended problems from real world, project based learning, game based learning and comprehensive assessment tools.
Thus, the game based learning or gamification of real world challenges appear to be a potential solution for strengthening the attributes like leadership, team spirit, analytical capability, ethical values, presentation skills, personality, communication skills, manageability, professional commitment, concern for society, training relevance with understanding of societal needs, state of technology and potential hazards.
Prof. Onkar Singh, Professor & Founder/ Vice Chancellor
Prof. Onkar Singh has been the founder/Vice Chancellor of Madan Mohan Malaviya University of Technology, Gorakhpur (U.P.) , the first non-affiliating technical University of U.P. state and also Vice Chancellor of Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow. He has 27 years of experience in higher technical education system as a teacher, researcher, and academic administrator.