Micro-achievements: Where education falls behind gaming



Let’s be clear at the very outset, we have all felt like we’d rather be playing Fortnite than studying database management. Wouldn’t you agree?


So many of us would rather invest countless hours in mining resources and building defences in Fortnite, than in digging out resources from verbose textbooks and academic websites.


Wait, did I just make Fortnite sound like work? Then why is it still fun, you may ask.


The answer is simple – micro-achievements.


As humans, we want to feel rewarded. Our actions need to translate into meaningful rewards, otherwise, we feel as if we are wasting time, and our activity starts to feel like a chore. It’s no wonder we all like receiving rewards so much.


Taking this gamification approach to learning, the MSIT Program has partnered with OpenBadges.me to offer our students the ability to collect micro-achievements as they progress on their learning journey.


To be honest, we were a little sceptical in launching this. Many questions were yet to be answered, such as:

In a mad race for employment, will students even care?

In a degree-hungry society like ours, will recruiters even value them?


But after discussions with multiple students and recruiters, one aspect stood out above all else – the learning journey should be rewarding and the skills you learn should be industry-applicable. The rest can fall in place naturally.


So, we gave it a shot and it’s been met with tremendous success!


As of now, students who achieve mastery in the preparatory course subjects can now collect bold and bright custom-designed MSIT badges from OpenBadges to showcase on their LinkedIn profile, resume or anywhere else they choose.


And it’s not just another novelty piece either.


Recruiters can easily hop on to OpenBadges themselves and verify the student’s accomplishments, as each badge carries the metadata about the student’s performance. Neat, right?


How has it impacted us?


With the launch of badges, students are thrilled to see their hard work bear fruit in the form of recognition while the gamification aspect encourages students to keep pushing themselves to collect them all. (Gotta catch ‘em all, Ash!)


The need for micro-learning is rapidly increasing with students looking for greater flexibility and adaptability in the ever-evolving tech industry, and a post-pandemic world at large. While many students want to specialize in a subject, others would want to take a generalist approach to their education. Degrees rarely paint an accurate picture of how self-motivated, passionate and driven a student is, since degrees are a ‘completionist’ milestone – you know, those players who spend hundreds of hours trying to achieve 100% completion in the game? But does that mean someone who’s partially played it has lost? Probably not.


That’s where badges fill in the gap. With them, a student’s skill is not in completing the course, but achieving mastery in a subject. That change in focus, the reprioritization of learning in the mind of the student, can make all the difference between ‘studying’ and truly learning subjects.


With more badges to come, and other unique approaches to higher technical education, MSIT continues to push the boundaries and keeps challenging traditions to ensure the best outcomes for our students. Here are some of the other unconventional approaches we have implemented:


Virtual Classroom Environment

Our students, mentors, and programming guides navigate and interact freely in a collaborative virtual environment each day, free from Zoom calls and boring video lectures.





Sequential learning

No more dashing from class to class! Sequential learning ensures students focus on one single subject and master it before progressing to the next.



Exams-on-demand

Not every student learns at the same pace, so we’ve introduced exams-on-demand as a part of the MSIT Program. Now students can choose when they will be ready to take the exam for any subject (and collect the badge upon achieving mastery in it)!


 

These are just some of the innovations in our learning approach here at the MSIT Program. If you have any more questions regarding the program, reach out to me, or drop us a line on enquiries@msitprogram.net. We’d love to answer all your questions!


If you’re a recruiter looking for the right talent, I can assure you that you’ve come to the right place. Just last month, IBM snapped up 26 of our bright graduates and another 24 received offers from TechMojo. So, we must be doing something right, right?


For more updates on the program, and to stay updated on how we continue to reimagine education for the post-pandemic era, drop us a follow on our LinkedIn page.


All work and no play might make Jack a dull boy. But I hope next time you play Fortnite, it inspires you to dedicate some of your time constructively by learning something new and collect some meaningful rewards as well, along the way. Until next time!

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