Gamification: A Tool For Engaging 2ist Century Learners



Associate Professor,

Department of Education, Tamil University,







Today’s learners are digital natives and the teachers are digital immigrant. Digital learners grew up with the knowledge of digital technologies. Teachers have to solve important issues related to the adaptation of the new learning process towards students who have different learning styles and new requirements for teaching and learning. Teacher should be updated with the digital technologies otherwise they will struggle in teaching to the digital learners. There are many digital tools and technologies are available in the society. Gasification is one of them and be an educational approach that increase motivation and engagement of the learners. The aim of this article is to display the nature and benefits of gamification and to provide some ideas how to adopt it in education.

Keywords: Gamification, Education, Learning, Classroom, Engagement, Motivation


Today’s learners are digital natives and have new profile. They grew up with digital technologies and so they have different learning styles, new attitude to the learning process and higher requirements for teaching and learning. Teachers are facing new challenges and have to solve important issues related to the adaptation of the learning process towards students’ needs, preferences and requirements. Teachers have to use different teaching methods and approaches that allow students to be active participations with strong motivation and engagement on their learning. Modern pedagogical paradigms and trends in education, reinforced by the use of ICT, create prerequisites for use of new approaches and techniques in order to implement active learning. Gamification in training is one of these trends. The aim of the article is to present the nature and benefits of gamification and to provide some ideas how to implement it in education.

Albert Einstein himself indicated they are the most elevated form of investigation. He knew games are avenues for something deeper and more meaningful than a childish waste of time. Games promote situated learning, or in other words, learning that occurs in groups of practice during immersive experiences. Oftentimes, playing games are the first method children use to explore higher-order thinking skills associated with creating, evaluating, analyzing, and applying new knowledge.

What is Gamification? – The Meaning:

Gamification is a novel approach exists in education that applies video game design in learning contexts in order to motivate and engage the students in their learning. There are many aspects of games that can be integrated in gamification, such narrative, point based reward systems, collaborative problem solving, trial and error, or opportunities for leveling up. An activity does not necessarily need to have all these features in order to be considered gamification.

Gamification in the Educational Context:

Games have many elements that make them powerful vehicles for human learning. Games are commonly structured for players to solve a problem; an essential skill needed for today and tomorrow. Many games promote communication, cooperation, and even competition amongst the players. Some of the most immersive games have a rich narrative that spawns creativity and imagination to the players who are gaming on a particular game. Finally, depending on how they are designed, games can both teach and test the players. They are incredible packages of teaching, learning, and assessment.

Game Elements:

Each game has its own elements, rules and number of players.  Gamification in learning involves incorporating game elements to motivate learners. Some of these elements include the following:

  • Narrative
  • Immediate feedback
  • Fun
  • “Scaffolded learning” with challenges that increase
  • Mastery (for example, in the form of leveling up)
  • Progress indicators (for example, through points/badges/leaderboards, also called PBLs)
  • Social connection
  • Player control

A classroom that contains some or all of these elements can be considered a “gamified” classroom. The best combinations, the ones that create sustained engagement, consider the unique needs of the learners and do more than just use points and levels to motivate players. The most effective gamification systems make use of other elements such as narrative and connection with fellow players/learners to really capture the learner’s interest.

Software Tools for Gamification:

There are many tools for gamification and some of them are web-based (cloud services) and do not require installation of special software and allow access at any time and from any location. Among the most

popular gamification tool are:

  1. Socrative,
  2. Kahoot!,
  3. FlipQuiz,
  4. Duolingo,
  5. Ribbon Hero,
  6. Class Dojo
  7. Goal book.

Badge OS™ and its add-on Badge Stack is a free plugin to WordPress that automatically creates different achievement types and pages needed to set up badging system. Mozilla Open Badges Project is a project which goal is to enable the identification and recognition of acquired knowledge and skills of students outside the classroom – results of informal learning. Via Mozilla’s Open Badges project anyone can issue wins and display badges through shared technical infrastructure (Mozilla Open Badges).

How does it help Students? – The Route:

Games are about problem solving, this alone makes them a great tool for teaching, learning and assessing one’s learning. It has been shown that gamification helps student focus, retain information, and improve their overall performance. This is mostly thanks to the fact that younger generations are so used to video game dynamics that seeing them recreated at school is guaranteed to increase their engagement. Instant feedback, trial-and-error deductive learning, and a fun more active way of studying are among the aspects that make gamification so appealing. Students feel more in control of their choices, just like they feel when playing as the main character in a game.

Benefits of Gamification to Education:

Gamification is generally used for playing based problem solving and fostering the motivation towards games. By adopting gaminfication to education, it provides:

  • Students feel ownership over their learning
  • More relaxed atmosphere in regard to failure, since learners can simply try again
  • More fun in the classroom
  • Learning becomes visible through progress indicators
  • Students may uncover intrinsic motivation for learning
  • Students can explore different identities through different avatars/characters
  • Students often are more comfortable in gaming environments

Gamification is not just for elementary school and universities are also opening up to it. Coursera, for example, is a company that has already partnered with several universities to provide free online classes. The courses include video lectures and weekly assignments, feedback is immediate and students “level up” or receive badges as a reward system.

How can we bring it into the classroom?

  • Integrating more technology into the curriculum is incredibly helpful and often cheaper than we think, but gamification can be introduced even without a budget.
  • Grades are the easiest thing to gamify, introducing points, bonuses, achievements and even badges to reward students and assess their level of understanding of the subject.
  • Quests, treasure hunts, and other interactive activities could help gamify homework, motivating students to maintain their engagement after school hours.

Encouraging team work, or even stirring up competition organizing tournaments can have the same results, while also teaching students valuable skills they will need in the workplace. Using the students’ own resources, like their phones and home computers, they can turn their homework into youtube videos, websites or blogs. Encouraging children to share their work on the internet will make them feel more motivated and invested than they would be if they were writing an assignment for just the teacher to read.

Gamification can completely change the way young students look at school, and really help them to feel passionate about what they are studying. This is more than just a trend, it is going to be the future of our school system.

  • Enhances the overall learning experience for all age groups:

Regardless of whether you are designing e-Learning deliverables for adult learners or for K-12 students, gamification in eLearning can help to make the overall e-Learning experience much more effective. If learners are having fun and are getting excited about learning, then they are more likely to actually acquire information. Even a subject matter that may be dull or complicated can be absorbed more easily, because learners are actually enjoying the process and are actively participating. In fact, you can even integrate gamification into your e-Learning courses in such a way that learners won’t even know they are acquiring new information. Knowledge absorption simply becomes a byproduct, as they are focused on achieving rewards and accomplishments within the eLearning course. This is often when real learning takes place, however, as the boundaries that often hinder the learning process are removed. For example, learners don’t have to deal with the stress that can be associated with learning, because they are too busy having fun and enjoying the eLearning course


What does gamification for the future?

While the concept of gamification may not be new, we have already seen it employed in unique and far more prevalent ways, partially thanks to the development of technology and our immersion within it. Universities offer online terminal degrees, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are with us everywhere we go in our phone apps, and that technology has become tailored to engagement and user retention. With this immersion, learning, not just gaming, has become available to everyone, and with it the ability to shape how we interact with information in the future.

Broadening the spectrum of gamified learning is not only a powerful tool to capture the attention of students, but to help create adults who can approach large scale problems in new ways. Strong evidence suggests that playing video games can actually increase creativity in people who play them, in ways that they apply to other non-creative tasks. By melding games into educational resources for people regardless of age, the benefits of increased creative thinking and engagement are available to students and professionals alike.

Already, students who experienced the first release of the popular Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing game in 1987 are taking their places as the teachers of tomorrow, and bringing with them a technology-focused and gamified background. As these adults find their own path to becoming professors and educators, they are bringing with them a growing knowledge of teaching techniques that are changing how we learn. As they apply the concepts of gamification to education, they are helping create a future shaped by creative, nonlinear problem-solving.





E-learning is suitable for easy and effective integration of gamification. Game techniques and mechanisms can be implemented in the learning process as activities which purpose is to achieve certain learning objectives, increase learners’ motivation to complete and engage students in a friendly competitive environment with other learners. Gamification may be an effective approach to make positive change in students’ behavior and attitude towards learning, to improve their motivation and engagement. Based on the above discussion, gamification is an approach for enhancing motivation to the 21st century learners and the author of this article suggested that the teachers can adopt gamification in their classroom for developing learner friendly and motivational among the learners.


  1. Malone, T. W. (1981). What makes things fun to learn? A study of intrinsically motivating computer games. Pipeline, 6(2), 50.
  2. Yang, Y. (2014). Three Questions to Ask Before You Embark on Gamification.eLearn, 2014(11), 4.
  3. Leaning, M. (2015). A study of the use of games and gamification to enhance student engagement, experience and achievement on a theory-based course of an undergraduate media degree. Journal of Media Practice, 16(2), 155-170.
  4. McGonigal, J. (2011). Gaming can make a better world. | TED Talk | [Video file]. Retrieved from:
  5. Schaaf, R., & Mohan, N. (2014). Making school a game worth playing: Digital games in the classroom. SAGE Publications.
  6. Christopher Pappas. (2014). The Science and the Benefits of Gamification in E-Learning. Retrieved from



error: Content is protected !!