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Gamification In Education: A Student-Centric Learning Mechanism

  • Published on: April 10, 2024
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  • Updated on: May 19, 2024
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  • Reading Time: 11 mins
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Authored By:

Taranjeet Singh

Director - Program Management

What Is Gamification In Education?

Gamification in education integrates gamified components into educational content to make it more engaging and interactive. With gamification in play, educational institutions can create a conducive learning environment for the students that will motivate them to learn and drive them toward learning new concepts.

Gamified elements like reward points, leaderboards, and badges help learners develop a competitive spirit, enabling them to enhance their prowess and excel in assessments. This leads to promising learning outcomes.

Gamification uses game design principles and gamified attributes to simplify complex learning concepts and make the learning process more captivating.

For instance, inducing a virtual stock trading competition on a dummy account, where students can manage their money and invest logically. This can enhance their learning in the financial domain and enable them to get a rough idea of the real-world functioning of stock trading.

A little schoolboy, fully engaged with gamification in education, uses a tablet PC in a classroom.


Benefits of Gamification In Education

Gamification in education offers many benefits that enhance the overall learning experience. Here are a few of them:

1. Greater Student Involvement

Gamification enables educators to demonstrate each lesson as a game, which increases student engagement. It helps students approach any topic with an open and relaxed mind. In fact, according to a survey conducted amongst 124 students, 67.7% of the students felt much more motivated than learning through traditional courses.

2. Enriched Learning Experiences

Game-based learning elements like scoreboards, badges, and reward points are baked into the educational process to make it more appealing for the students. Gamification also tracks students’ progress as they learn and their learning endeavors and gives them an apt appreciation for their progress. As per a case study, where an elementary school teacher found that after playing the math game for four months, students’ scores went up from an average of 49% to an average of 83%. The enjoyment of students towards the subject also doubled up.

3. Connects Learning to Real-world Problems

Apart from making learning more intriguing for the students, gamification in education helps them to put their knowledge and skills into solving real-world problems. This way, they can apply their knowledge or skills and have a grasp of their learning efficacy and on what fronts they can improve. This offers them an environment that’s risk-free. Unlike the real world, where if a mistake occurs, you can’t reverse it.

4. Offers Quick Student Feedback For Better Learning

Gaining instant feedback gives learners a chance to rectify their mistakes or errors right away and learn from them to attain greater rewards when they answer correctly. This allows the students to find out what they are good at and possibly what they can improve to achieve their learning goals.

5. Gamification Nurtures Critical Thinking In Students

Puzzle- and scenario-based games help learners think strategically. It enables them to analyze the circumstances within the games, develop apt solutions, and adapt to the gamified outcomes. This motivates them to think creatively and tackle difficult problems in an interactive manner.


How to Design Effective Learning Games?

To integrate gamification into a learning curriculum, you don’t need a separate gaming platform. You can work with an existing LMS and give it a little feature boost.

1. Give More Autonomy For Effective Learning Experience

The first thing that should be kept in mind when designing an effective learning game is to provide autonomy to structure an entire game as per their choice. Learners should be able to choose how they want to go around the game. So rather than strictly providing a linear path to them and structuring the entire game as per the predefined sequence, recommend sequences they would like to start with the game.

2. Focus on the Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are the statements given to students to get an idea of what they will be able to achieve and what their ultimate goal is at the end of the game. Though they aren’t generally part of games, if needed, game designers primarily focus on the outcomes and learner’s progress.

3. Scaffolding

Learning games can be mentally demanding because they not only need to engage their senses but also keenly focus and absorb the information constantly. To counter this, scaffolding can be integrated into learning games to segment complex levels into absorbable parts for a pleasant learning experience.

4. Learning transfer

Learning transfer is the capability to transfer knowledge or skills from one learning task to another. In other words, learners should be able to adapt to the upcoming levels of the game with their learnings.

This can be attained by designing the game by considering the pacing, division, or sustenance of the learner’s attention in a vast environment, and diverse variability should be present in the game to make it student-centric.

5. Right Game Mechanics

To design an effective learning game, focus on the goals that you want to achieve and maintain high-quality content throughout. The content should have apt logic, reasoning, and an interactive way of presentation.

This requires good game mechanics that guide the player’s action and game response within the platform. With the components of gamified mechanics like quality, spatial, state, and action, you can enhance the entire gamified learning experience, leading to higher student engagement.

6. Minimize the Cognitive Load

Learning games work best when they’re clear and to the point. Anything that’s not relevant to the gamified content might distract the learners, making it harder to learn. Lavie’s theory of load states that more and more distractive items lead to an overall higher cognitive load, leading to more distraction. Hence, the cognitive load should be tightly regulated to maintain favorable levels of learning.

For instance, if you wish to create a tutorial learning gamified design, you should have proper navigation, buttons, links, and chapters bifurcated in a clean and tactile manner. You also give the students an option to skip to any part of the information that a learner wants to access.

7. Keep the Right Amount of Balance

One of the most important things to consider when developing an engaging game-design platform is to maintain the right balance between the game and individualistic capabilities.

If the game is too simple, it might become uninteresting, and if it’s too difficult, it can become frustrating. Hence, an appropriate balance should be maintained to grab the attention of the target audience.

The level of game difficulty should be at par with the learner’s skill level. This can be accomplished through adaptive learning techniques, scaffolding ways, and branching scenarios that can be used to track the learner’s behavior to offer them the game based on their personalized skillset.


Gamification Strategies for Different Subjects

Gamification enhances student learning in diverse subjects, creates healthy competition among the students, and motivates them to achieve and learn more. Here are a few strategies that can be used to implement gamification across different subjects:

1. Gamified Learning In STEM

As said by famous educator and psychologist Carol Dweck- “one of the keys to creating successful learning outcomes is to help cultivate a growth mindset,” developing a growth mindset in students is a must.

A growth mindset is when students have a desire to continually learn and grow, unlike a fixed mindset, where students have an unchanging mindset. Since games are meant to create a healthy competitive spirit amongst the students, the incentive for growth is incremental. Thus, if a student does not like a STEM subject, he/she might start liking it after playing a game related to that subject.

For instance, educators can make use of leaderboards for maths. Through this strategy, educators can assess the student’s performance. However, it can backfire as well. Students scoring lower numbers can get demotivated when they see their scores. To counter this, a framework can be developed where students are only able to view two learners, one above and one below their score.

2. Gamification in Social Science

Gamified learning enables social science students to explore history, learn about its crucial concepts, and have a grasp of the historical significance of traditional architecture.

Through gamification, students can go on quests, earn badges, and go through challenging concepts with their fellow students. These gaming components allow them to hold a grasp on the subject and enable them to share their own independent research alongside their classmates.

It has been observed by professors that gamifying certain elements of social science can enhance the student’s quality of work. In fact, according to psychology professor Alex Nagurney, there is a 143% increase in student participation in the subject after the incorporation of gamification tools and software.

3. Gamification In Languages

Learning a new language could be overwhelming for the students. Thus, captivating students’ interest can prove to be challenging. However, with gamification in education, the tough task of engaging students in language learning can be resolved by inculcating the right game component in the educational content.

For instance, you can escalate the student’s motivation to learn a language regularly through streaks. A streak is a daily practice record, if you miss the practice one day, your streak gets broken. To maintain this streak, students will play that language game every day and will also be able to learn the language.

A group of students, engaged in gamification in education, sit at their individual computers playing learning games.


Impact of Game-Based Learning on Student Engagement

1. Key Game Design Components Boost Engagement

A reviewed research has shown that if learning games have major game-design elements baked into the instructional design of that game, a positive impact is created on student engagement. The same research also indicates that gamified learning in a collaborative setting enhances overall learning motivation.

2. Games Can Strengthen Learners’ Learning Abilities

Games such as action video games can lead to substantially higher learning outcomes and strengthen the learning ability of students to acquire new knowledge effectively. Action games also enhance cognitive skills like attention, multitasking, perception, and the ability to focus to a significant degree.

3. Personalized Learning Builds Motivation Amongst Students

Gamification in education caters to a diverse range of learning preferences and styles by allowing students to personalize their learning experiences. This level of personalization motivates students to learn extensively and at their own pace.

4. Widespread Game Design Enriches the Learning Outcomes

A widely accepted game design can highly enhance learning outcomes by nurturing skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. It also motivates students by helping them excel academically.


Gamification Tools for Educators

The successful integration of gamification in education requires a foundation of essential tools. Here are a few gamified tools that enable educators to teach students/learners in a better way:

1. Game Points

Just like the grading system, game points also reward students for performing varied tasks, assignments, and assessments. Game points can be accumulated by the students based on their educational performance, with no fixed limit when distributing points by educators. Teachers or instructors decide the course structure and how many points students attain and allot them the number of tasks.

The game points can be tracked, and students can improve their performance to amp up their scores. This drives students to learn more to earn more game points.

2. Badges

Badges act like rewards that are given to students according to the levels of success they have achieved in assignments or any added work. They are also given for student participation, and students can also attain the badge by doing the course through LMS five times a week in a semester. Badges also encourage students to attain more success across different subjects.

3. Leaderboards

Leaderboards demonstrate the individual point distribution that students have acquired through multiple learning activities. This motivates students to enhance their learning capabilities to attain a higher spot on the leaderboard.

4. Quizzes

Through interactive quizzes, students have to answer a set of questions, and according to the answer, they are directed to a certain situation. This helps students evaluate themselves about an answer and analyze the problems in the answer they have chosen.



Gamification in education is thriving, and students are benefiting from it across varied educational domains and can learn conceptual knowledge more pragmatically and understandably. Gamification allows students to learn while playing and gather knowledge in a more simplistic and fun way. Overall, gamification as an educational technique has proven effective and is expected to grow tremendously in the future.



Written By:

Taranjeet Singh

Director - Program Management

Taranjeet has over 20 years of experience in the field of education technology. He excels in delivery excellence, growth, and innovation, driving result-oriented solutions across strategy, operations, P&L management, and customer delight.


Educators address concerns about potential drawbacks or limitations of gamification in education by carefully balancing the use of gamified elements with core learning objectives. They may emphasize intrinsic motivation alongside extrinsic rewards, which ensures gameplay enhances, rather than detracts from, the learning process.

Moreover, educators may integrate reflective practices to help students understand the purpose behind gamified components and how they contribute to their overall learning journey.

Educators require training or professional development to effectively integrate gamification into their teaching methods, especially if they lack familiarity with game design principles. Workshops, online courses, or resources focusing on gamification strategies, instructional design, and technological integration can help educators develop the necessary skills and knowledge. Hands-on experience and collaboration with experienced gamification practitioners may also enhance educators' proficiency in implementing gamified learning platforms.

Considerations regarding accessibility and inclusivity in gamification strategies are essential for accommodating specially-abled students with diverse learning needs.

Educators should ensure that gamified learning platforms have accessibility features embedded in them, such as alternative text for images, keyboard navigation options, and adjustable difficulty levels. Furthermore, providing multiple pathways for engagement and incorporating universal design principles can promote inclusivity and cater to a broader range of learners.

Ethical considerations related to gamification in education, such as data privacy concerns and the potential for unintended consequences, warrant careful attention.

Educators must prioritize student privacy and confidentiality when collecting and utilizing data within gamified platforms. Transparent communication with students and guardians about data usage and consent is essential. Educators should also critically evaluate the impact of gamification on student well-being, ensuring that it develops positive learning experiences without causing undue stress or pressure.

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