Gamification Summary


  • Total posting 68
  • 5 discussion threads
    1. Giving Reward for Something Expected?: 10 postings
    2. Elements of Gaming: 10 postings
    3. Does Everything Have to Be Fun?: 17 postings
    4. Gamification in Education: 13 postings
    5. Gamification in Your Classroom: 17 postings


KEY POINTS in discussion threads 1 Giving Reward for Something Expected

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic and Then Competition

This forum started off with a question for instructors, if it’s ethically right to attract students to learn with gamification.  The attraction comes when rewards are given through progression of levels in the educational game.

The response from various participants focused in on the fact that gamification uses extrinsic motivation where active learning may not occur.  This type of motivation may peak students interest but because it does not appeal to a need internally, they would probably prefer to use a strategy that would motivate students intrinsically.

There was a post however from Elaine Lai, where her perspective is to do whatever it takes to reach students interest. Some students may not respond to your lessons well and if they can relate to your lesson through a game, then there’s no harm in using that method.

Gamification can use elements of intrinsic motivation to reach students.  It is important to capture what the class feels has value to them and putting their needs first can go a long way in your lesson.

I found the forum got more interesting when the topic of competition got mentioned.  From doing more research and discussing it in the forum, I believe competition takes away from collaborative learning and changes the focus from the task itself to the cost of their performance in the task.  Competition can divide the class and cause anxiety for student having to have a need to win.  This was concluded to having a negative affect on classroom environment.

We then try to come to gamification where turning lessons into games may not have to have a competitive nature.  Gamifying your lessons can promote the progression of oneself to better their last score and progress through boundries of difficulty students may not have surpassed before.



Gamification is taking over our lives and it all came from video games

Why Intrinsic Motivation is the Key to Successful Gamification

Examining the Use of Competition in the Classroom

Is Competition Ever Appropriate in a Cooperative Classroom

KEY POINTS in discussion threads 2 Elements of Gaming

Advancements in technology has allowed us to use simulation in a more effective manner within education.  Virtual Instructor Led Training is training in a virtual or simulated environment or when the learner and instructor are in separate locations.  Examples include military, health care and dental applications, where trainees can be put in situations that stimulate real emotions without having consequences.  Combat scenarios can be played out without causing injury to soldiers.  Health care workers and dental students can be evaluated on how to handle a situation without causing harm to patients.

Other games suggested that have less to do with technology are math games and games that teach empathy.

Math games that involve manipulatives can promote active learning through physical interaction.  There needs to be a balance between using manipulatives and actual pen to paper computations of lessons to help in problem solving skills.

An example of a game that is a variation of the game ‘telephone’ was suggested and explained, which promotes communication and active listening.

Elements of gamification seem similar to elements of education through synthesis, discovery, collaboration, points, levels and so on…  Since elements are familiar, some question if gamification is innovative or is it just a difference in terminology.



Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Virtual Reality Training for Military and Law Enforcement

Army Virtual Reality

Simulation Training for Nursing Orientation

Ultra-Realistic Dental Training Android Robot

Manipulating Math:  Concrete Vs Abstract Thinking

 KEY POINTS in discussion threads 3, 4 and 5

 List of Games Used in Your Classroom

  • Games “on paper” or white board:
    • Numbers game on organization[i]
    • Hang
    • Comparison
    • Bingo-like games
  • Video Games
    • Chemical Allie (iPhone & iPad app)  – game for learning periodic table
  • Other kinds of “games”:
    • Learners sitting on yoga balls
    • Jeopardy on PowerPoint
    • Scrabble (to improve spelling skills)
    • Hot Seat[ii]


For Which Purpose Do You Use These Games

  • As icebreaker
  • For memorization
  • To learn concepts, process or vocabulary
  • As a (new) learning strategy

Why Would We Use Games for Education (Pros)

  • It helps children to stay focused. It helps adult too, especially at certain times when focusing is difficult (e.g. after lunch)
  • To help improve cognitive skills
  • To diminish the dropout rates by increasing the students interest
  • To stimulate the kind of thinking required to be successful not only in school but also in post-school life
  • If it is simple, it can be fun in other words, it can break up the monotony in the class and it can be very effective to help students learn.
  • Really suitable for lower level of thinking
  • Immediate feedback increases the motivation and illustrates progress
  • In the case of video games: being able to engage in ‘action at a distance’ causes humans to feel as if their bodies and minds have stretched into a new space which is a highly motivating state; which means it increases engagement
  • Games give teachers better tools to guide and rewards students
  • It gets students to bring their full potential to the pursuit of learning
  • Gamification is active learning
  • Games provide many positive emotional experiences
  • Games maintain positive relationship with failure: when you play a game you can fail several times and keep trying until you succeed; every time, you learn something new.
  • Simulation (which is a type of game) is being used in many educational environments where exposing learners to real situations would be difficult, costly or even dangerous
  • The use of a tournament function eggs on some competition, boosts morale and gets students excited about demonstrating their understanding
  • It can be a way to encourage teamwork
  • Gamification is more appropriate for the new generation of learners who want learning to be fun, engaging, hands-on, challenging, interactive, empowering, and thought provoking.
  • Early studies show that gamers perceive the world more clearly, are more creative problem solvers, are more confident, and are more social
  • Using computer games in the classroom is a way to integrate the elements (technology) familiar to this new generation of technology-savvy learners
  • Gamification presents a different form of motivation that students can relate to
  • Playing games and progressing in a game/course instils a sense of accomplishment

 What’s Wrong About Using Games for Education (Cons)

  • Games can be overused and can be a waste of time for the students especially if the rules are complicated
  • If not executed well, a game can be more detrimental to learning rather than facilitate it
  • Some tasks are hard to gamify
  • Games for education teach learners that they should learn only when provided with external rewards since gamification uses extrinsic motivators
  • Games may lack personal interaction (social isolation)
  • Games in education may contribute to create the “society of 2-year old” or “instant-gratification” where we can’t cope with anything too serious or uncomfortable
  • Games may shorten attention spam
  • Gamification is a learning strategy that doesn’t work with all types of learners

 What About Assessment and Games

  • In games, an immediate feedback is provided which means that the learning process is not interrupted the way it is in a usual assessment process in class
  • If we use games for assessment, we must make sure we develop meaningful assessments achieving course objectives
  • If games are used for assessment, it may lower the level of stress often triggered by assessments

 How to Gamify or Add Games to your course

  • We need to balance games with other activities in order to fully utilize different learning styles
  • For adults, make sure they start at a level that won’t frustrate them to the point of quitting
  • Have simple rules
  • Make sure the games and the assessment that it provides are aligned with the learning objectives (see the What About Assessment and Games section)
  • Do one or more of the following:
    • Add points to tasks that need to be completed
    • Define badges/rewards to be given out after a criteria is met
    • Create a Leaderboard to show top performers
    • Define levels to repeat tasks or to perform harder tasks
    • Earning of badges can be tied to unlocking higher levels
  • Games must be deployed in a measured and systematic way that maximizes their benefits while minimizing the negative consequences
  • Implement a class-wide rewards system: Encourage camaraderie among students by setting up a rewards system where students achieve something as a team.
  • Stir up a little competition: Professors have found that tournaments incentivize students to learn the material and practice.
  • When using personality types to have players/learners identify to a character, choose an Achiever (Needs to be at the top) who will do whatever it takes to complete the course or an Explorer (Needs to find something new) will explore all that the game has to offer thereby covering the whole course.
  • The most favorite gamification techniques are 1) progressing to different levels 2) scores 3) avatars 4) virtual currencies

[i] Numbers game on organization:

Part 1: provide a double sided/identical numbers on each side of a page, give 20 seconds to chronologically circle each number starting from number one,  allow students to find the number one before the timer started,  after 20 seconds, let students share their results

Part 2: fold the paper into quarters so the paper is now in four quadrants,  same instructions- find the number one, give 20 seconds to circle each number chronologically, but give also us the secret formula that each successive number is in each quadrant going counter clockwise.

[ii] Hot Seat

I write a word on the board. One or two students sit near, but face away from the board. The other students (the “teachers”), sitting at their desks, have to describe the word (they can’t say or mime it) for the “students.”


Gamification of Education: definition and explanation

Learn the Periodic Table: Chemical Allie – Chemistry Game for iPhone and Android

A Split Screen Strategy: Creating the Capacity for Teachers to Innovate : A teacher who has individualized his classroom and he uses gamification

KHAN ACADEMY Gamification: Making Learning Fun

Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?

Learning – School Drop-outs : Employment and Social Development Canada website

Lankshear, C. (1997). Language and the New Capitalism. The International Journal of Inclusive Education., pp. 309-321


Would They Play? Would They Learn? Finding the Sweet Spot between Games and Learning



Debates about Gamification and Game-Based Learning(#GBL) in Education

Gamification in Education: Epic Win, or Epic Fail?

About Active Learning:

“Teachers ditches chairs for yoga balls in class, sees student improvement”

30 facts of gamification in elearning









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