Play as You Learn: Gamification as a Technique for Motivating Learners


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Presentation for award-winning paper at Edmedia 2013 (Freely downloadable from It provides an overview of the principles of gamification and motivation and contains suggestions on things to consider when gamifying education.

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Play as You Learn: Gamification as a Technique for Motivating Learners

  1. 1. Play As You Learn Gamification as a Technique for Motivating Learners Dr. Ian Glover Sheffield Hallam University, UK
  2. 2. Gamification • Using game-design concepts in domains – Typically, but not exclusively, from computer games • Distinct from Game-Based Learning and Serious Games – Gamification adds an extra layer over existing activities – GBL and SG uses games as the learning medium
  3. 3. Motivation • Intrinsic – Personal – Strong • Extrinsic – External – Weak (usually) • Mixed motivations common – e.g. interested in the topic, but also want to gain recognition from peers.
  4. 4. Key Game Concepts • Goal-focused activity • Reward mechanism(s) • Progress tracking
  5. 5. Goal-focused Activity • Working towards clearly defined targets • Large goals should be broken down into sub- tasks • Each sub-task should progress towards the overall goal
  6. 6. Reward Mechanism(s) • Different mechanisms appeal to different people: – Peer recognition – Awards – Benefits / Prizes • Unappealing rewards have little motivational effect • Possibly allow learners to choose rewards
  7. 7. Progress Tracking • Progress within overall goal, and any sub- tasks, should be readily available • Progress can be shown relative to peers – e.g. Leaderboards • Progress tracking is not a substitute for assessment
  8. 8. Existing Uses of Gamification Education Uses • Open Study • ClassDojo • Open Badges • Webmaker Business Uses • Passport to Professional Skills • Online Travel Training • 'Gold stars' Other Uses • Academic Experts • Chore Wars • Crowdrise • my1login • RedCritter Tracker • Badgeville • FourSquare • DevHub
  9. 9. Quick Exercise How would you Gamify Edmedia? • What would be the goal? • What would you encourage/discourage? • What rewards would you give? • How would you track activity?
  10. 10. • Over-justification effect – Extrinsic motivation can have negative effect on intrinsically motivated learners (Groh, 2012) • Only creates illusion of activity being rewarding (Teti, 2012) • Encourages addicted/compulsive behaviour? (Zichermann, 2011) • 'Rankings' may discourage some people (Williams, 2012) Criticism of Gamification
  11. 11. • Is motivation a problem? • Are there behaviours to encourage/discourage? • Does the activity lend itself to game concepts? • Would this create a parallel assessment route? • Would some learners be favoured over others? • What rewards would work best? • Are rewards too easy to obtain? • Will it encourage learners to spend too long on particular activities? To Gamify or Not?
  12. 12. • e-Learning systems routinely capture data useful for gamification – Link Classroom Clickers to leaderboards – Publicly rank learners according to grade – Adaptively release new materials and activities upon mastery • Encourage cooperative/collaborative learning – Reward contribution to forums, wikis, etc. – Issue badges for achievement • More ideas: introduce-gaming-concepts-into-elearning Gamifying e-Learning
  13. 13. Gamification + is a recent term for an established idea + can be a useful motivational tool + is particularly suited to behavioural reinforcement + lends itself well to e-Learning – isn't for every situation – may have negative effects – needs careful planning
  14. 14. Questions? Dr. Ian Glover Sheffield Hallam University, UK Claim a Reward for Attending Or use code: VCVAWP at
  15. 15. • Groh, F. (2012). Gamification: State of the Art Definition and Utilization. In Proceedings of the 4th seminar on Research Trends in Media Informatics, 39-46. • Teti, J. (2012). Rev. of Assassin’s Creed III. The Gameological Society. • Williams, J. (2012). The Gamification Brain Trust: Intrinsically Motivating People to Change Behavior (part 2). Gamesbeat. • Zichermann, G. (2011). Gamification has issues, but they aren’t the ones everyone focuses on. [Editorial] O’Reilly Radar. References