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The Fun of Learning: Gamification in Education


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Contents of the article

  • What is gamification?
  • Origin of gamification
  • Objectives of gamification
  • Advantages of gamification
  • And what is learner 3.0?
  • Different ways of gamification
  • Conclusion

What is gamification?

Gamification is applied to teach whether nothing is more than learning by playing. This is simple to understand but complicated to implement since it requires an important content-generation effort. In addition, some skills are needed in the teaching team that must be developed through training and education.

Thus, one of the world leaders in gamification, Karl Kapp, defines it as “the use of the mechanisms, aesthetics and thinking of games to attract people, incite action, promote learning and solve problems”.

To do this, it is necessary to adapt the mechanics and dynamics of games to teaching contexts. And in this line, it includes various motivational strategies such as rewards, competitions… The idea is to generate interest and motivate to continue deepening in the subject easily and effectively.

Gamification doesn’t just apply to students only -it is possible to learn through the game as an adult. Perhaps you want to retrain from marketing specialist to a free essay writer, then with the help of certain games and interactive programs you can sharpen certain aspects of writing skills – for example, improve grammar and expand vocabulary.

Origins of gamification

Gamification has been around for as long as teaching has existed. Good teachers have always known how to generate interest in students and, sometimes, they have used songs, mnemonic rules, group and participatory exercises… In short, small games increase the student’s interest in learning and facilitate the task of learning.

But gamification, as we know it today, is based on video games and neuroscience. In the early 1980s, the emergence of video games attracted the attention of human behavior researchers. Still, what if we were able to transfer the sensations of video games to our customers? marketing specialists asked themselves. And consumer-oriented gamification was born.

But it was only at the end of the last century when professor Malone developed a study of the motivation of network games using the concepts of gamification in learning. We could consider Professor Malone as the first person to apply gamification in the classroom with a planned and structured method.

boys using blue and black virtual reality headset

Gamification objectives

Gamification tries to maximize students’ skills through experimentation and play. It is based on the belief that through experience and fun, it is easier to achieve more relevant and functional learning.

This belief, in turn, is based on different theories and studies that support the correlation between the impact of the experience and the memory of it. The conclusion they draw is easy: “if experiences are better remembered than data, let’s teach data through experiences”.

Any activity carried out in the context of gamification seeks to achieve three main objectives:

  • Loyalty: the aim is to create a link between the learner and the content being worked on.
  • Motivation: the aim is to make learning fun and motivating.
  • Optimize and reward the student in those tasks in which there is no incentive other than learning itself.
  • The playful character facilitates the internalization of knowledge of the students in a more fun way. This creates a very positive experience that the brain will remember for a more extended period of time.

Advantages of gamification

There are numerous benefits of gamification in education, which can be experienced in the classroom and outside. Among the advantages, we highlight:

  • Increased engagement, participation, and motivation.
  • Improves coordination and teamwork skills
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Works on the focus on objectives
  • Increases difficulty progressively, avoiding frustration.
  • Improves creativity
  • Promotes active participation in the learning process
  • Allows instant feedback
  • Stimulates students’ social skills
  • Develops self-confidence, empathy, and decision-making skills
  • Develops motor skills and cognition
  • It is the most efficient learning method

When we talk about the advantages of gamification, we have to mention the most relevant example, Finnish public education. It has been the best in Europe for years. Its secret is simple: respect for the figure of the teacher, good salaries, few teaching hours (4 per day), and wide autonomy of teachers to manage the class. Thanks to this autonomy, gamification has found a loophole and has crept into Finnish classrooms, thanks to motivated, recognized, well-paid and proactive teachers. More people want to be teachers, more competition, more innovation, and better professionals.

If we analyze the best education outside Europe, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan lead the ranking. All of them are technological territories where practical learning is mixed with the demands of their culture.

As we can see, world leaders in education are committed to an active role for the student, supported by technology. The training of the 3.0 learner is being pursued.

And what is the 3.0 learner?

The 3.0 learner has been born with digital media at their fingertips, which impacts the ease and accessibility of resources, adaptability, sociability and multitasking development in people. This is the reason why gamification has already entered many university classrooms.

Gamification allows students to develop teamwork that expands their knowledge, overcome challenges and obtain rewards for the work done.

The new generations of students need the motivation to generate a predisposition for learning, and the game system provides it in three ways.

The challenge generates in the students the need to be prepared and knowledge on their initiative.

Recognition. Winning the game with your team in front of the rest of the class increases motivation and encourages group work.

The reward for winning the game is also a source of motivation, maintaining the interest and desire to know more in each student.

Different ways to gamify

There are several ways in which gamification can be used in an educational context. Some examples of gamification techniques are:

Video games: Video games can be used in the classroom to introduce topics and increase engagement.

Educational applications: Educational apps can provide a fun and interactive way to learn new skills and topics.

Learning platforms: Digital learning platforms can gamify the curriculum by incorporating game-like elements into the course material.

Quizzes and challenges: Quizzes and quizzes are a great way to introduce challenging material and reward learners for successful completion.

Badges and certificates: Awarding badges and certificates is a great way to recognize learners’ achievements and motivate them to continue learning.


Gamification is a great way to bring excitement and engagement to the classroom and can be a powerful tool for teachers to use when teaching.

Gamification can motivate students, increase engagement, foster problem-solving, and increase teamwork skills.

Educators can create a stimulating and motivating environment for students to learn and develop skills by integrating game elements.

And, to answer the question posed in the title, yes, gamification improves performance. Yes, gamification improves student performance in the classroom. If the student learns through positive experiences, those experiences will be remembered more clearly for longer.

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