Gamification as an effective context/tool for overcoming educational anxiety during COVID-19 disruptions

Year: 2021

Author: Siler, Nate

Type of paper: Individual Paper

The repeated cycling of students being taught in-school and out-of-school for the North American 2020-21 school year may have led to an increase in high school students’ average level of anxiety. The research of the effects of gamification within a classroom are still relatively young with almost originswithin the last decade; in this time the use of gamification within counselling has remained a field with very little research, when compared to the extent of research of gamification within various types of classrooms. (Harmari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014; Hanus & Fox, 2015; Sailer & Homner, 2020).This study investigates the effects of  gamification upon students engaged in psychological counselling with a high school counsellor. Gamification is simply the extrinsic/intrinsic rewarding of an individual through the recognition of completion of goals through the use of a non-monetary system often based on points. Gamification can be argued to be both extrinsic and intrinsic, as while it does allow for the extrinsic reward of titles and trophies, all of these are physically non-existent, and therefore the individual is intrinsically rewarding themselves. This researcher hopes to investigate findings from prior research, and when combined with findings of this research in counselling, potentially expand its use to primary grade-level students.Twenty high school students participated in the current investigation. All participants were attending counselling sessions either in-person at the school or by distance via webcam. Half of these students were set up within a gamification competition which includes both the counsellor and themselves, and the other half were the control group, with no awareness of their role as controls within the study; nothing was done outside of the procedures of  ordinary counselling. Throughout April-June 2021, nine of the ten students who took part in gamification were remaining committed to their therapy to reduce anxiety, while only seven of the ten students who did not have gamification in their therapy were remaining committed to their means of reducing anxiety.There is a potential for further research to explore in their realm of gamification and counselling of students within schools; what might be the limiting factor at this time is not the lack of desire for students to try gamification, but instead the awareness of what gamification is by counsellors. Gamification seems to be most utilised by educators who are teaching in classes where the completion of assignments is associated with the rewarding of points within the game.