Game-based learning and Gamification to improve skills in early years education

Rachid Lamrani, El Hassan Abdelwahed

Early childhood education has become a prevalent public policy issue. It has a serious impact on the child's personality, upbringing, education, socialization, development, and academic success from the preschool period to the university and beyond. In general, traditional teaching methods usually have a fixed learning structure which disables the child to be motivated, creative and innovative. Learners receive theoretical rather than practical instructions, which discourage them from keeping and recalling concepts and information more quickly. Moreover, traditional teaching usually lacks attracting the full attention of learners which decreases their interaction, engagement and investment in the content. Thus, the development of innovative approaches offering better education is an effective way to address this problem. On the other hand, recent researches in the fields of cognitive science and educational neuroscience show that play-based learning is a promising approach to use in early childhood education. Four key success factors for learning have been identified to strengthen children's skills, namely attention, active engagement, feedback, and consolidation. Thus, the proposed approach presents a digital play-based learning approach deploying serious games augmenting the pedagogical aspect of the Montessori approach. Our purpose is to improve children's skills in their early years education through play-based learning and gamification. It aims to provide children with a rich variety of serious gaming activities and challenging experiences in an interactive environment. We developed several serious games based on Montessori pedagogical principal and the four pillars of learning. For the evaluation, we have chosen a representative sample of children from rural regions.