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Search Google or VIU’s Library for “gamification of learning” and you will be rewarded with 1000s of results including research articles, book titles, blog posts and infographics. As you can imagine, these results will represent a spectrum of ideas, opinions,  best practices and research findings.

Put simply, the gamification of learning is the integration of game-like elements into the design of your course. Examples of game-like elements include badges, point systems and leaderboards. The purpose of gamification is to motivate and encourage learners to engage in the learning activities you have provided for them (Gamification and Game-Based Learning). It can also be used to create friendly competition among students as a further way to motivate and engage.

Here is one example of how it can be done. One of the learning activities in your course is to have students contribute content to an open textbook that you are adapting as a class. In addition to the mark they receive for their contribution, they will also get points for every relevant submission they add. These points are added to a leaderboard  that is available for the whole class to see. Additionally, you may choose to award badges based on certain point levels.

Of course, you do not need to include each of these elements in your course. You could choose to award points and badges, but not make that information available to the whole class. You could award badges for certain levels of achievement on an assignment or for participation in class. 

There are many options and approaches to choose from and the VIULearn Awards tool will allow you to build and award badges based on the criteria of your choice.

As with any instructional method and/or technology choice, the question we need to ask is if gamification and badging is the right choice for our course. Will it help meet my learning outcomes? Will it meet the needs of my learners? Does this integrate well into my existing learning activities? Will it enhance my course? These are all questions that only you can answer, but here are a few things to consider when doing so.

  • Are you motivated by this type of learning? If so, you will have a much better chance of building engaging and meaningful gamified learning experiences.

  • Keep in mind that extrinsic competition is not a motivator for all learners (Rodrigo). Consider making the gamified elements optional and do not tie these elements to grades.

  • Does this approach fulfill an existing need in your course?

If you think you would like to integrate badges into your course and would like to learn more or get support in doing so, please email and one of your team members will be happy to work with you.