Gamification ANDREW DE LEON (100518293), JAVERIA KHAN (100610576), MUHAMMAD RAJPUT (100488643), ALIA RAMJOHN (100195792), BRIAN SABOE (100495942), MIKKO SEPPALA (100634804)


Gamification is the use of game design, elements and techniques in a non-game context such as, education. It is considered a means of engaging learners in a context that encourages and fosters learning as well as having the potential to support learning. (Dr. Selay, n.d)

Gamification enables learners to use multiple pathways to their achievements while providing a safe way to fail that does not affect their grades and the focus is placed on leveling up rather than losing points. (Conrad, 2016)

It’s tempting to assume how gamification works. Based on the popularity of video games and consoles alike, one could ask who doesn’t love games? Despite the uncanny answer to this question, the world’s experts on gamification will tell you “that everything about this fledgling field – even the very definition (loosely, the application of game elements to non-game situations) – is still up for grabs”. (Knowledge@Wharton, 2016)

It is highly important to understand how gamification works in order to view it as a viable option in classroom settings. Currently, the common classroom consists of many desks, chairs, a blackboard, and or projector, along with a teacher who might be stuck in the past. If you are lucky, your teacher might be up to date with latest trends and would want to engage his/her students in new ways to keep up with the times.

Students today are tech savvy and have wandering minds. They are able to process information coming at them from several channels at a time – walking, talking, and texting” - (Ronan, 2015).

Educators are beginning to realize that past techniques of teaching are failing to keep the attention of kids. Failure to remain attentive could account for bad grades and poor life choices due to lack of learning within classrooms. To solve this, educators must change how they deliver classroom content so that they can “keep kids’ attention, draw on their strengths, engage them as lifelong learners, and be amazingly fun”. (Ronan, 2015)

Based on the problem at hand, there arrives a simple solution; gamification. To sum it up, “gamification is the process by which teachers use video game design principles in learning environments”. (Ronan, 2015) This isn’t a classic shooter style design principle tailored to late nights on the sofa with a beer in one’s hand but rather a new style of teaching tailored to a younger audience. If video games have proved one thing, its that they possess an uncanny ability to get you engaged. Based on this, one could argue that gamification in a classroom setting could increase student engagement and create class-wide enjoyment of academic lessons.


Game based learning is gaining prominence in recent decades. It's gaining popularity since the beginning of the century with the internet and world wide web, and more recently with web 2.0 and social networks. Video games are popular among young people and they are known as digital natives. (Simoes, 2012)


  • It increases student engagement. Students are more likely to play a game if you are using a reward system. Badges and points help to complete the tasks and give a solid benefit. By increasing engagement, students will learn more than a traditional lecture or reading. (Ford, 2015)
  • It creates enthusiasm. Gamification can be used to increase students interest in math. If students are given rewards and they are learning in a gamified system, they become excited and competitive while learning. (Ford, 2015)
  • It provides instant feedback. Most gamification systems allow for instantaneous feedback such as leader boards and dashboards, which students can use to see where they stand among their peers. This provides motivation and students feel engaged. (Ford, 2015)
  • It increases social interactions. It helps to make social connections. In Higher education, we see that students have trouble creating social connections with other students in their course. Gamified classrooms give students a reason to work together. This is especially true if you create team competition that requires students to collaborate on challenges. (Ford, 2015)
  • Games increase people’s performance on psychological tests. (Wenderoth, 2013)
  • Gamers have a raise in areas of the brain which are responsible for memory formation, strategic planning, and motor skills. (Kurzweil AI, 2013)
  • Gaming also slows the degree of mental decay in a person. (Chow, 2013)
  • It also improves reading skills. (Franceschini et al., 2013)
  • Games also help in reducing anxiety. (George, 2010)
  • They also provide a boost in contrast sensitivity in the eye. (Handwerk, 2009)


  • It decreases students attention span. In gamified classroom students get immediate response and it creates a problem with student attention span. Students expect the same kind of response from all parts of their education and if they don’t find it, it leads to frustration. (Ford, 2015)
  • The cost of the system is also a barrier for students. There may be equipment costs, software costs, and training costs for instructors. It makes it difficult for students to enter the classroom. (Ford, 2015)
  • It’s not always easy to find the right game that matches your course material and it may be time-consuming process. (Ford, 2015)
  • Many times setting up a game requires lots of planning and logistics. You might have to play the game and it can take up to 40 hours before you fully understand the game and objectives. (Ford, 2015)
  • Games can often confuse reality and fantasy
  • Gaming may cause isolation from others, anxiety and depression (Zamani et al., 2009)
  • Positive attitude against violence, making the person more aggressive or hostile (Prot et al., 2014)
  • Increase in chronic diseases (E.g., Diabetes, back or neck pain or even a heart failure) (Zamani et al., 2009)
  • In some cases it may cause weight loss or sleep deprivation (Good, 2012)
  • Negative patterns from gaming (e.g., smoking, sexism) (Deskins, 2015)

In short

The topic of gamified learning has been there for years. Now it’s hitting it's peak in higher education. Gamified learning is expected to grow beyond $2 billion by the end of this year, and $5.5 billion by 2018. There are many opportunities for new and exciting games that will help us increase student engagement in our seated and online classrooms. The pros and cons are important ideas to consider when choosing games and it could support your classroom. If you like a reward system for your class then gamified learning is for you. But if you struggle to prioritize your time when it comes to course development, gamification may not be the right choice. Gamification requires lots of time and it should be started at a small scale. (Ford, 2015)


  • Understanding audience and context (Huang & Soman, 2013)
  • Where the class takes place (e.g., individuals, groups, class size, face to face, online) (Huang & Soman, 2013)
  • Identify what is required to pass a course first (Boller & Boller, 2016)
  • Inform students what is required to pass the course (Nicholson, 2013)
  • There should be a baseline to reach a passing grade (Huang & Soman, 2013)
  • Inform students about different type of grading scheme (Nicholson, 2013)
  • What the teacher wants the students to accomplish? (Huang & Soman, 2013)
  • Identifying resources (Huang & Soman, 2013)
  • Blend it into curriculum (Boller & Boller, 2016)
  • You can implement Gamification in stages (Nicholson, 2013)
  • You can try out Gamification at the beginning of each course and ditch it if it doesn’t work (Nicholson, 2013)
  • Allowing your students to participate in the creation of the course helps them to be more innovative and understand how the course is built (Classcraft, 2016)
  • Use a story for engagement (Nicholson, 2013)
  • At this point you can decide is the story to be done alone or in groups
  • Gamification is a great tool to increase team working and collaboration skills (Classcraft, 2016)
  • Using rewards and experience will increase participation (Nicholson, 2013)
  • This will also increase attendance (Lister, 2015)
  • Identifying milestones, stages, progress bars or levels. What is needed to pass the course and reach a grade A. (Huang & Soman, 2013)
  • Creating a leaderboard and achievements
  • Creating a leaderboard may turn learning even more fun and competitive
  • Allows students to reach further than just a grade A (Kolb, 2015)
  • Achievements can be reward in the form of special privileges in class (e.g., rewarding a ring, that makes their carriers team leaders) (Nicholson, 2013)
  • Keep in mind that leaderboards may demotivate other students (Nicholson, 2013)
  • Gather feedback from users (Boller & Boller, 2016)
  • Feedback allows the teacher to improve the curriculum and do changes to it if it’s necessary
  • Gamification can also be implemented outside of the classroom


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  2. Conrad, R. (2016). What is Gamification? University of California. Berkeley. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from,
  3. Gartner. (2012). Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2013 and Beyond. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. Orlando: Gartner, Inc.
  4. Knowledge@Wharton. (2016, February 03). People Love Games - but Does Gamification Work? Retrieved March 19, 2017, from
  5. Ronan, A. (2015). The Ultimate Guide to Gamifying Your Classroom. Edudemic. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from
  6. Simoes, J. (2012). A social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from
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  11. Franceschini, S; Gori, S; Ruffino, M; Viola, S; Molteni, M; Facoetti, A. (2013, March 18). Action Video Games Make Dyslexic Children Read Better. ScienceDirect. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from
  12. George, R. (2010, May 9). Video Games Prove Helpful As Pain Relievers In Children And Adults. MNT. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from
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  14. Raise Smart Kid. (2015). The Positive and Negative Effects of Video Games. Retrieved March 17, 2017 , from
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  16. Zamani, E; Chashmi, M; Hedayati, N. (2009). Effect of Addiction to Computer Games on Physical and Mental Health of Female and Male Students of Guidance School in City of Isfahan. US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from
  17. Deskins, T. (2015). The Effects of Video Games on Sexism Attitudes in Males. Eastern Michigan University. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from
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