Defining Gaming in Education

It is wise to be wary of buzzwords. Always a hot topic, online education is filled with clever phrases and popular new ideas which are often mentioned but not fully understood. It is worthwhile for any administrator, instructor, and student to be armed with a clear comprehension of key terms in order to participate in discussions about the subject.

One such topic is gaming and education. By now, most educators agree that games, when employed correctly, are useful teaching tools and can markedly enhance a student’s grasp of a concept. However, three gaming terms, “gaming,” “game-based learning,” and “gamification” are repeatedly mistaken for one another and used in incorrect contexts.

Below are simple definitions which illustrate core differences between the terms:

Gaming – Playing a game in which the primary purpose is to have fun.

Game-based Learning – Playing a game in which the primary purpose is to learn.

Gamification – Structuring a learning environment to be like a game and in which players receive rewards as motivation for learning.

This helpful infographic from Upside Learning outlines the major differences between gaming, game-based learning, and gamification. Take a look to discover the distinctions between them and the different roles that they play in education.

Games vs Game-based Learning vs Gamification Infographic

Source: Upside Learning

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