What is Gamification?

“Gamification of education is a developing approach for increasing learners’ motivation and engagement by incorporating game design elements in educational environments” (Gamifying education). Gamification is the process used to solve problems using game based elements, this differs from game-based learning which is games with specific educational purposes. The main difference between the two is gamification is a more complex process of designing and fitting in the elements, rather than creating an educational game. Gamification takes the educational game and designs it for further and more engaging use.


The article 'The Neuroscience of Gamification in Online Learning' provides ten statements that dig into 
the foundation of gamification and why it's so useful.

1. Gamification forges an emotional connection: Gaming can create connections between the virtual world to the real one.

2. The hippocampus controls recall: Gaming helps with the users ability to recall and remember information.

3. Dopamine creates positive associations with learning: Gamification provides the feedback needed when releasing dopamine, the feel good hormone.

4. The brain processes stories better than facts: Storylines of games is easier for the brain to depict rather than unconnected facts.

5. Badges and rewards can trigger serotonin release: Serotonin release allows for a rush of accomplishment when receiving badges and rewards.

6. Playing games releases endorphins: Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers that help to reduce stress and anxiety.

7. Playing games keeps the brain fit: Playing games allow the user to expand their memory and attention abilities.

8. Gameplay reduces stress: A study preformed at Texas A&M University showed that gaming helps to reduce depression through mood management.

9. Gamification helps deal with cognitive overload: Cognitive overload keeps the user from grasping certain small amounts of information, gamification helps to slow down the overload by chunking together the smaller bits of information.

10. Games teach work skills: Skills developed in the gaming world can boost external skills like resource management and prioritization.

I believe these ten statements provide clarity for all the positive goals gamification provides. Gamification is more than just a time waster on a video board, it’s a defining applicator that helps to reduce negative applicators and produce positive ones. This mentality can be brought forth into the classroom to bring the fundamentals of gaming into any lesson!

Gamification in the classroom

Gamification is becoming more up and coming in today’s classroom with the help of technology. Teacher’s are expanding their lessons to incorporate gaming fundamentals to help engage and teach students. Teachers say they like using gamification in the classroom because of the four C’s; challenge, chance, competition, and cooperation. These elements work together in the classroom along with the Gamify System, to produce satisfied learning objectives. The applicators listed below are both in and out of classroom apps that demonstrate gamification learning:


  1. DuoLingo– Language learning platform that allows users to achieve badges through language enhancing games.
  2. Brainscape– Game designed to make flashcards for students to help improve learning.
  3. Knowre– Designed to help grades K-12 in math, making it more fun and less frustrating.
  4. Ribbon Hero– Allows users to grasp how to use Microsoft applicators in game form; Requires windows download.
  5. Medieval Swansea– Game intended for older users, solve a mystery using historical contexts.

After doing research, I would recommend any of these apps to teachers depending on the age level of students. These games plus many others, deliver the challenge for them and then offer the reward. I think it is very important that students are able to feel accomplished and have a sense of value when they reach the next level or complete the game.


Check out the TED Talks below about the effects gamification has on our mental state and the world around us!
Gaming Can Make a Better World 7 Ways Games Reward the Brain


Gamify System

Points- Points are used to calculate the user’s achievements in relation to other users. Points bring value to games, and can typically revert to rewards.

Badges- Badges symbolize the goal the user achieved in a visual form.

Levels- Levels create intensity for games and encourage users to reach the next level to gain a higher reward.

Leaderboard- Leaderboards organize the point system by rank, and encourage users to reach leaderboard status.

Each of these elements offer the opportunity to make any educational process and turn it into a game. Teachers define the objective of the game and students put it upon themselves to reach various goals. This system does not have to be the objective of every game, but it will help students believe learning is fun. Students can enjoy learning while solving puzzles, concurring quests, earning badges, and seeing their name at the top of the leaderboard!

This blog post defines gamification, clarifies the impact it has on our mental, emotional and physical state, and looks at gamification in the classroom. Gamification is not just a fun time occupier, it has positive effects that can be linked to any study or occupation. In terms of education, I think more teachers should incorporate gamification inside the classroom because it’s more adapted to the desires of the students and gives them an uplifting change of pace when learning. Gamification can be used in any K-12 classroom and even higher education. The resources in gamification leave the opportunity to stress educational lessons while providing an engaging game piece for students.

After learning all about gamification in my ECI 201 class, I want to incorporate it into my future elementary classroom for engagement purposes. Students are more likely to listen to lessons and stories when they can relate to it. Games follow a story line that also provide the challenges that can end with feelings of accomplishments. I want my students to be able to engage in learning games, be able to comprehend what they learned, and apply it to the real world. Never let your students stop learning, it’s going to follow them wherever they go!