Gamification in Higher Ed

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Games are typically played when taking a break from schoolwork or studying, but in recent years, game-playing has become a part of the learning process itself. As new technologies emerge and online education becomes more popular, an increasing number of educational institutions are using gamification as part of their teaching strategies.

Gamification – also known as Game-Based Learning (GBL) – refers to the incorporation of game mechanics into non-game situations in order to boost motivation, creativity, and productivity.

Features of games that are used in gamification include:

  • Incentives – either internal, or external
  • Point systems
  • Receiving badges for achievements
  • Competition
  • Leaderboards – a way for players to track their ranking in comparison to other players
  • Incremental progress
  • Quests and challenges
  • Epic Meaning – making players feel that they are working to achieve a worthwhile and meaningful goal

A great example of gamification for education is Duolingo, a massive open online collaboration website that allows students to learn new languages while simultaneously translating real documents and webpages. Students receive skill points and bonuses as they achieve goals and progress to higher levels. Feedback is provided by fellow students and by the game itself.

Duolingo is just one example of the tremendous educational achievements that can be reached when gamification is used to make the learning process more enjoyable. Check out these Top 10 Education Gamification Examples to see more creative applications of game mechanics in learning.

According to the NMC Horizon Report of 2013, gamification is expected to enter into mainstream use in higher education within the next 2-3 years.

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