42 is… Like a video game
Gamification is the use of gaming elements in non-game contexts, and it’s more than just a buzzword! In education, gamification gets students excited about learning by infusing gameplay and interactivity into the curriculum, thereby making learning more engaging and effective. At 42, gamification is at the heart of the curriculum, and it’s proving to be an incredibly effective way to educate the next generation of software engineers.
Gamification is all about jumping in and getting your hands “dirty.” You learn as you go through trial and error, and develop critical skills such as bouncing back from failure. In a traditional classroom, failing a test or a grade can have immediate and dire consequences. In a video game, failing a level can mean losing a ”life” or being unable to advance to the next level, but it mainly means trying again and applying what you’ve learned. This is how we envision studies at 42: sometimes you will fail, but it means that you will do better next time, and that’s OK! In this way, failure is not a dead-end, but rather a means of empowering yourself. This builds resilience in our students and becomes a mindset for our alumni, and it’s proven to be an essential skill for any software engineer.
Mistakes can be valuable teachers. At 42, mistakes are not only accepted, they are promoted as the best way to learn! Students are encouraged to try new things, take risks, and push their limits. When they fail, they learn from their mistakes and try again. This “trial and error” approach is not only more engaging and motivating for students, it also leads to a deeper understanding of computer science.
Another benefit to this approach is that it allows students to learn on their own time and at their own pace. Contrary to a traditional approach of “one size fits all”, 42 creates a unique experience for each learner. You might advance more quickly than your counterparts in some areas, but at other times you might find yourself trying to catch up!
Like in a video game, everyone progresses at their own pace. Students can choose to do the bare minimum to finish a project, or explore how to maximize their score by taking time to ensure that they fully understand the material before moving on to more advanced topics.
In short, the gamification of the curriculum at 42 is proving to be an effective way to educate the next generation of software engineers. By incorporating gaming elements into the curriculum and encouraging a “trial and error” approach to learning, 42 is making education more enjoyable and efficient, while creating resilient students that can succeed in the real world.