Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between gamification and game based learning (GBL)?
Gamification is not about using or creating videogames. Gamification refers to the use of game elements and mechanics in non-game contexts; it's about taking something that's not a game, and deliberately making it more game-like. The goal of gamification is to increase engagement, and almost anything can be gamified by using elements such as rewards, progress markers, themes and challenges (Flatla et al, 2014).
Game based learning (GBL) refers to the use of games in a teaching and learning context. In GBL, students learn through game-playing and by connecting what they learn in the game with an academic context (Tang et al 2009).
How much time do I need to put in to gamify my classroom?
It need not be an expensive and time-consuming venture to take a first step in gamification. However, it does require some planning and reflection to help you decide how best to use gamification to meet your students’ needs, and once you’ve implemented some gamification it’s important to reflect on what did and didn’t work so you can make iterative improvements.
Start by focusing on learning outcomes and identifying the problems you want to solve or the areas for improvement in the classroom. This will help you pinpoint your goals and come up with the most relevant ways to use one or two game elements to achieve your aim. For some inspiration, take a look at some success stories and our Getting Started page, and connect with other educators in the discussion forum to share ideas and support.
How do you motivate students who are slow to ‘level up’ to continue with the task?
Having students 'leveling up' at different rates can be daunting. Here is some feedback from students currently working through a gamified maths unit. It has been a positive experience for both teachers and students.
What are the benefits of gamification?
Games foster a sense of play, which induces a state of flow and increases motivation (Csíkszentmihály, 1990; Paras & Bizzocchi, 2005). Gamification, by incorporating game elements, can support the learning process by creating an intrinsically motivating environment. Gamification can demonstrate to students that learning can be fun and rewarding, while also helping motivate them to greater achievement and changing behaviour that’s holding them back from achieving their full potential. According to Lee & Hammer (2011), the benefits of gamification can be:
Do students really care if they get a badge for completing work?
Badges have become the focal point of gaming as a result of business gamification. This is not the case in education. Although elements of gamification such as attaining a new level result in some form of reward, this does not delineate the end of the learning process.
While elements of gamification such as badges have a 'positive effect on motivation and engagement' (Apostol, Zaharescu, & Alexe, 2013) they are often not enough to motivate a child who is struggling with learning to persist with a task. Gamification relies on additional elements such as challenges, feedback and teacher support to maintain student motivation. Refer to the Elements of Gamification Prezi for further information.
Doesn’t gamification stifle intrinsic motivation?
For many students, learning suggests 'intrinsic value already' (Deterding, 2012). Intrinsic motivation is inherent in us all. What drives this motivation can be enhanced or thwarted depending of underlying factors. Gamification provides a platform for students to develop competence and autonomy in their learning, in a fun and safe environment.
Intrinsic motivation is essential when aiming to 'achieve educational objectives on a higher level' (Apostol, Zaharescu, & Alexe, 2013) and the four factors eliciting this motivation are:
Details of sources cited can be found on the References page.