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Modern Education

The use of VR tools in the context of gamification and the introduction of game mechanics in the educational field

Kotenko Vladimir Viktorovich

Senior Lecturer, Department of Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation

123098, Russia, Moscow, Marshal Vasilevsky str., 3, building 1






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Abstract: AR and VR tools have become firmly established in the practice of teaching in foreign educational organizations. As one of the trends of the educational environment, gamification and the use of game mechanics are highlighted, which contribute to more effective involvement of students in the learning process. The form of the game retains its appeal, the ability to satisfy the needs for self-realization, competition and success. The purpose of the study is to determine the subject areas of application of AR and VR tools in modern Russian higher education based on world experience and practice. The analysis of international experience in the use of gamification and virtual and augmented reality programs, as well as an assessment of the problems of implementing these tools in Russian education is carried out. Conclusions. World experience shows that virtual and augmented reality technologies show significant effectiveness in the gamification of education. The introduction of technologies contributes to more effective student-teacher and student-student interaction, increasing students' motivation and mastering additional material. However, the main obstacles to adapting this experience are the low level of innovation activity and the willingness of teachers to use innovative approaches and techniques. The main conclusion: Modern technologies in education are currently not limited only to the availability of equipment (computers, projectors, etc.) and the Internet. Today's world experience shows that virtual and augmented reality technologies show significant effectiveness in the gamification of education. The introduction of technologies contributes to more effective student-teacher and student-student interaction, increasing students' motivation and mastering additional material. However, the main obstacles to adapting this experience are the low level of innovation activity and the willingness of teachers to use innovative approaches and techniques.


virtual reality, augmented reality, gamification, game mechanics, higher education, foreign language, language learning, modern technology, introduction of gamification, introduction of modern technologies

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

 At the moment, the concept of gamification is not clearly defined.

In most sources, this concept is considered as the use of game elements in non-game situations [1], often to motivate or influence behavior. Rewards or a competitive spirit can stimulate students' concentration and interest and lead to more effective learning. Gamification is widely used in higher education – from awarding additional points for credits and conducting team competitions in the classroom to complex multi-level schemes that can spread throughout the course, attracting shy students, supporting cooperation and arousing interest in course content that students might not otherwise study. Gamification offers teachers ample creative opportunities to enliven the learning process through contests, leaderboards or the issuance of diplomas that give students the opportunity to learn and relate positively to their learning activities.

As for emotional involvement, in research, this phenomenon is defined as the psychological reaction of students to the academic environment. It can manifest itself as a feeling of boredom or pleasure from learning activities [3]. This can also be influenced by relationships with mentors or teachers and their colleagues [5]. In an online context, emotional engagement can be related to the interests of students or the enjoyment of participating in classes and is based on social interactions with teachers and classmates.

Finally, cognitive engagement can be viewed as the idea of making additional efforts to understand multifaceted concepts and/or master complex skills [3, 5]. The relevance of this third dimension of cognitive interaction has also been perceived and noted in various contexts of distance learning [12]. Cognitive participation in online discussions can be defined as the attention and effort that students spend on interacting through discussions, publications or comments with their peers or mentors. It involves the use of multifaceted concepts and/or high-class skills of students, such as analysis, criticism or reasoning [12].

To assess the study of AR and VR tools in the educational process, a systematic review of the literature was conducted. In this case, a hybrid review methodology consisting of a structured review was used. To find the most relevant research relevant to the purpose of this review, two queries were made using the keywords "VR" and "gamification".

Most of the analyzed articles, as a rule, are descriptions of practices, cases and examples of the use of virtual reality and gamification for the purpose of learning. Thus, theories, as a rule, are devoted to the learning process [8]. Other theories come from psychology, sociology, or biology. In addition, an important role is played by issues related to assessment [10], self-determination [7], generalization of the experience gained [13] or analysis of the flow of information that is used in the playing field [14]. In this review, we note the lack of using theories to support each study.

Other theories, or a combination of two or more theories, leave potential for future research, for example: the theory of congruence (changing attitudes to learning), social identity (changing the student's self-identity or aspect of their self-esteem, derived from acquired and interpreted knowledge) or the "values-beliefs-norms" approach (norms act when students believe that their violation will negatively affect their values).

A significant number of studies focus on aspects such as experience, interaction, emotion, satisfaction, technology and gamification [2]. Further research may concern concepts such as joint creativity (the joint learning process of students, teachers and enterprises). The learning process is no longer just a personal relationship between students and the teacher in the classroom. The learning system turns into a complex network connecting various participants (for example, students, teachers, enterprises, researchers and other stakeholders from higher education institutions) in a community where virtual and real environments are combined.

The most commonly used methodologies are case studies, which are supplemented by surveys. The sample size, as a rule, is in the range from 100 to 300 [4]. A small number of studies (10) use a mixed approach, in which the authors consider a combination of a survey or experiment and a qualitative method (for example, interviews, focus groups and content analysis) [11]. Research using surveys and experiments, as a rule, uses structural equations, regression analysis or factor analysis for data processing [4]. Another group of studies is more conceptual in nature and is an attempt to discuss previous studies, present a framework and propose plans for the implementation of training practices) [9]. Live laboratory experiments become a differentiated methodology in a group of experiments. Only one study is entirely devoted to network analysis. So the challenge is to develop methodologies that can bring together a community of education stakeholders that together can transform the traditional way of teaching and learning.

The importance of gamification in education has grown significantly in recent decades, as video games have become more colorful and realistic. Keyword searches were conducted in databases related to the subject, including ScienceDirect and Scopus. A literature search showed that the term "gamification" has steadily spread around the world since 2010. If in 2011 only 15 documents were uploaded to the topic, by 2016 the literature database had expanded almost 40 times and amounted to 592 volumes. A total of 1,660 volumes from 89 countries were downloaded during this period. The number of publications on this topic in 2020 reached 45,400.

Direct interaction between users and the creation of a reward system helped gamification become widespread in higher education. However, several definitions of gamification have spread at the same time, the most accurate is the definition of Deterting. Gamification is defined as the development, implementation and use of game mechanics in non-game contexts [6]. This definition was used in the study because it corresponds to the goals set.

In this case, we should cite the results of a study that was conducted among two groups of university students to measure the impact of gamification in higher education. In general, we can observe a growing demand for gamified applications, which can be explained mainly by the potential of gamification to engage and motivate students during lectures.

The aim of the study was to analyze the experience of IT and non-IT students regarding the gamification method by filling out a questionnaire in the Evasys online system [15]. A prerequisite was familiarization with the Kahoot! AR application, which was presented to students by one of the university teachers. This application created competition during lectures and improved the results of group learning. Students could receive feedback on their results, so a system of rewards and punishments was formed. While playing with Kahoot, various external and internal motivation factors came to the fore. The reviews were influenced by the app, as it set clearly defined goals for the players. In general, gamification encourages students to learn and contribute to the development of a positive attitude to learning.

In the opinion of the author of the article, the most interesting target group of the study is generation Z, whose representatives were born between 1995 and 2010, since in fact they make up the majority of university students. Taking into account the peculiarities of this generation, it is assumed that participation in the "game" lecture will not be difficult for them. Members of this age group have already been born into the digital world, so smart tools are becoming part of their daily lives. The Internet and online games are popular among them, but they are also open to adapting new technologies. Because of this, following the definition of Mark Prensky, they are called "digital aborigines". They have a different way of thinking compared to representatives of previous generations, because they get access to information faster. Their learning habits have also changed.

If we consider the peculiarities of their communication, then as a key remark it should be noted that they spend several hours on the Internet every day, so they get used to contact practically with each other. We can notice that the frequency of Internet access depends on the age. From younger age groups to older people, not only the share of Internet users decreases, but also the intensity of communication on the network. This means that there are fewer Internet users among the elderly, and that older Internet users use the Internet less than young people. 90% of Generation Z representatives communicate online every day, while only a small group claims that they use the Internet no more than once a month or do not use it at all.

The constant immersion of generation Z in technology also creates a number of problems in the field of education, since the teaching methods of the twentieth century are no longer sufficiently successful and effective. The introduction of gamification could solve the problems that educational systems have faced with digital natives. They are perfectly familiar with the conditions of gamification technology and use it as part of their daily lives.

A lot of time has passed when teachers came to a consensus that instead of the traditional educational culture, it is necessary to use a more modern method for the transfer of knowledge. Meanwhile, the generation that needed it has grown up.

Based on the results of foreign studies, we can see that students did not find lectures in which the use of gamification was applied exciting. The reason for this may be that part of their daily life is shaped by tools similar to some game lectures. This is confirmed by the fact that most of the students of the faculties of information technology used mobile applications to connect to the game. Gamification has been a clear success for students who are not IT specialists, but the assumption that simply using the game has a positive effect on the approach to the game has been refuted. The hypothesis stating that there is a positive relationship between the simple use of experience and what has been discovered has also been refuted. We can conclude that the experience of the game does not affect the subjective quality of the application, which determines how easy or difficult it is to use. Based on the results presented in the dissertation, gamification can offer a solution to the most serious problem of higher education, namely, the decrease in attendance, that at the beginning of the semester students actively attend lectures and seminars, and by the end of the semester their number is significantly reduced.

Despite the obvious advantages, AR and VR tools, as well as gamification, are not widespread enough in the domestic education system, which is especially true for higher education. The two main obstacles to the penetration of any innovative pedagogical practices into educational institutions, not only gaming, are the low qualifications of teaching staff and the conservative attitude of the administration and parents. In addition, there is a need to approve this approach with representatives of public authorities, which also reduces the chances of using relevant and interesting tools that combine modern technologies and game mechanics.

In order to simplify this process, it is necessary that a constant open dialogue be conducted with all parties. In addition, it should be noted the low readiness for change among teaching staff, since they are not prepared either for innovative pedagogical activity or for communication with the parents of students. The system of teacher training in our country, unfortunately, lags behind, despite the highest achievements of Russian pedagogical science and the most powerful fundamental pedagogical base.

ConclusionsWorld experience shows that virtual and augmented reality technologies show significant effectiveness in the gamification of education.

The introduction of technologies contributes to more effective student-teacher and student-student interaction, increasing students' motivation and mastering additional material. However, the main obstacles to adapting this experience are the low level of innovation activity and the willingness of teachers to use innovative approaches and techniques.



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