Studying might be the last thing you would want to be doing.
But what if studying was fun, and an activity you might actually enjoy and look forward to, along with a multitude of long-term benefits?
It might sound too good to be true, but gamified learning platforms like Vocabulary Quest make this completely possible and realistic.
Gamified software, including vocabulary builders, incorporate video game-like elements into learning.
They use brain-based strategies to tailor learning to you, so you embark on a personalized learning journey, at your own pace, motivated by all the immersive in-game features.
For instance, Vocabulary Quest sets you up as the protagonist within the fictional Lands of Vocab, where you are tasked to free sections of the map by mastering your vocabulary.
In-game levels, quests, rewards, and so on, immerse you into the gameplay, while the desire to progress through the game motivates you to learn and remember advanced vocabulary.
How do vocabulary builders do this in a successful and brain-friendly way, and what are the benefits of trying them out?
Check out these 5 benefits of greeting the school year with vocabulary builders.
5 Benefits of Taking on the School Year with Vocabulary Builders
1. Prevent the Summer Slide
Have you ever heard of the summer slide?
This is the science-proven phenomenon whereby students tend to lose some of their learning skills over summer break, or long holidays from school.
This loss is most marked in reading and math skills and can amount to two or more months’ worth of learning loss.
To understand why this phenomenon occurs, it’s important to look at how the brain learns.
When the brain encounters and absorbs new information, it creates pathways between its neurons or braincells.
The more active these neurons are – because you’re reviewing what you’ve learned and are actively applying it – the stronger these connections grow, and the more permanent the memory becomes.
On the other hand, when you aren’t actively engaging these neurons, your brain, a machine of efficiency, will allow these connections to wither – just as plants wither when you don’t water them regularly.
Unsurprisingly, when you spend a long break without studying, some of the neural pathways associated with reading skills and information you learned in school will be lost in this way.
Luckily, vocabulary builders provide a science-backed and enjoyable way to prevent this.
Due to the gamified nature of platforms like Vocabulary Quest, learning is chunked in the way the brain benefits from the most.
The Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting outlines how, the longer the gap between the beginning and end of a study session, the more you’re likely to forget in the middle.
This is because when you study for a sustained period, you aren’t allowing your brain the time to absorb the information meaningfully, and create associations with their existing knowledge, which is how learning occurs.
Contrarily, shorter sessions with short breaks in between allow your brain both to focus on learning, as well as spend some time relaxing and organically processing information and creating associations.
Because the learning you’re participating in, through a vocabulary builder like Vocabulary Quest, breaks sessions down as a series of levels or quests, you are naturally learning in these brain-friendly chunks.
Moreover, since the brain consolidates information into long-term memory through review and recall, when the game prompts you to recall words you learned, you are doing just that!
Since all of this is packaged into an immersive video game scenario, you’ll find yourself a lot more engaged than if you had to memorize a bunch of assigned spellings you needed to know before a new semester or even in between tests.
The neural pathways associated with your reading skills will not only still be healthy but may even be stronger whether you’re on holiday or in school!
2. Stay Motivated to Learn
You can already see how the unique design of advanced vocabulary software can benefit your reading skills.
But these benefits go beyond merely keeping the summer slide at bay.
Vocabulary builders are an excellent means to keep you motivated about learning.
The software detects whether you have difficulty with specific words, highlights them for you, allows you to create custom lists and play mini quests to master them.
You get immediate, personalized feedback about your progress as you play, which allows you to adjust for any mistakes you might be making in real-time.
Rather than a test you sat before going on a break and all but forgot about, the immediacy of seeing your performance helps you correct mistakes early on.
Meanwhile, the inherent game-like structure serves to keep you motivated to continue learning and taking on more challenging quests.
Like most effective games, you earn rewards early on for simpler quests, through levelling up, ranking, unlocking weapons, etc.
This activates your reward pathways, and the motivation molecule, dopamine, spikes in your system.
The feel-good sensations are such that your brain wishes to experience them again, which forms the basis for motivation!
The more motivated you are to learn, the more willing you will be to continue playing, even as the difficulty level rises – and the great thing is, you’re learning as you play!
3. Improve Your Grades
Now that you’ve seen all the ways you can maintain and in fact improve your vocabulary with vocabulary builders, what about the long-term benefits?
Mastering advanced vocabulary in this manner, by frequently reviewing them as the game tracks which words you tend to forget and recalling them to complete tasks, builds your long-term memory.
As a result, you take on school with better reading comprehension and writing ability!
Reading comprehension refers to your ability to decode, understand and create meaningful associations with existing knowledge when you read.
It’s absolutely essential for effective learning to occur – after all, if you don’t understand what you’re reading, and can’t create connections with this knowledge, you aren’t really learning at all.
By not only upkeeping but also upgrading your vocabulary, you’ll be able to tackle more advanced and technical texts with greater ease and comfort.
By intuitively understanding what you’re reading, in all your subjects, your reading gets faster, learning and ability to recall improves, and your overall grades will reflect this.
Similarly, by upgrading your vocabulary, you will also find yourself able to express yourself better in writing.
Since Vocabulary Quest will test your understanding of the application of specific words, you will have a more powerful and diverse range of ways to express yourself as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Since you’re largely tested in the written format in your quizzes and exams, the better able you are to express your ideas and answers in writing, the better you will score!
4. Prepare for College Entrance Exams
Using vocabulary builders to steadily develop your advanced vocabulary gives you a huge advantage as you approach college entrance exams.
A significant part of these exams test your vocabulary, reading comprehension and writing.
Having a strong and sustained foundation in these things favors you a lot better than trying to cram a bunch of high-frequency SAT words into your brain and forcing them into your writing weeks before the exams.
By growing more familiar with encountering, decoding and utilizing advanced vocabulary in your daily life, you will find preparing for college entrance exams much easier.
This will benefit your ability to recall and remember vocabulary, display your reading comprehension, as well as impress with your written answers.
You are also better prepared to deliver a stellar college essay that flows with natural but effective expression and gets your voice across, rather than awkward and lackluster writing.
5. Improve Your Memory and Learning
The brain’s wonderful capacity to learn new information is thanks to something called neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt to new information and experiences by creating new neural pathways.
The great thing is, not only does engaging specific neural pathways the way vocabulary builders do enhance your memory of advanced vocabulary, it gives your overall memory a boost as well.
When the brain exercises its neuroplasticity, there’s an improvement in its overall cognitive performance.
As you review and recall advanced vocabulary, your ability to learn and recall other new information improves as well.
This is partly related to things like your improved reading comprehension, and your improved recall of technical keywords specific to certain subjects.
But since your overall cognitive functioning improves, and your dopamine circuits are active, you’ll also find yourself more motivated and focused for learning overall, and with a sharper memory.
Even tasks you previously struggled with due to gaps in your reading skills will seem more enjoyable and therefore conquerable.
This is because human beings feel motivated by challenges they can realistically overcome.
Since the brain anticipates a reward or sense of accomplishment from completing a challenge, the dopamine keeps you motivated and focused to continue challenging yourself.
Equipped with your advanced vocabulary and better core reading and writing skills, previously unattractive learning challenges may become challenges you feel eager and equipped to tackle!
Now that you know about these 5 benefits of taking on the school year with vocabulary builders, are you going to be trying out Vocabulary Quest over your next break?
Sound off in the comments below!
Jason Manilla is the Founder and owner of VocabularyQuest.com.
This site is used by both children and adults around the world.
Vocabulary Quest trains learners to master advanced vocabulary through game-based learning.