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Motivation Module 8:



Background Information

Gamification in Education is transforming a classroom into a gaming environment. Creating a gaming metaphor requires choosing a theme (i.e., medieval times, fantasy, space battles, military, spy/secret agent) and referring to everything in the classroom with gaming terms (student = player, assignment = quest, grade = quest points).


Studies on gamification show that using gamification in the classroom increases student engagement. It is also a strategy for increasing motivation, involving creativity and student choice. It gives students immediate feedback (through peer comments, progress charts, badges, teacher response, etc.) and allows them to easily track their progress towards academic goals.



Repackage Grades

Repackage Grades refers to exchanging a letter or a number grade on assignments with experience points. In most games, players earn points for each challenge met. At pre-described intervals, characters level up or increase to the next higher level of the game. In gamification of the classroom, leveling up is synonymous with the student's grade improving by a letter grade. For example, Johnny receives 150 points for his homework assignment, so they level up to Master Level, i.e., recorded on official school records as an A. An alternative approach is to award badges to students as they level up or accomplish challenging tasks.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can boost student confidence. Some ways of rewarding students in a gamified learning environment include coins where students receive "coins" upon the successful completion of an activity, e.g., students receive 10 coins for the completion of a learning activity. The coins can be accumulated and redeemed for a class store gift or badge to recognize their efforts (See chapter 11 for a description of badges).



Gamification will only be a good idea when it supplements classroom teaching and empowers students to get more out of their education. If bringing games and competition into the curriculum doesn’t complement the normal instructional strategies, then it might be better to avoid these ideas. Successful gamification will tap into the user’s intrinsic motivation, such as becoming successful as a student, while offering extrinsic motivation, such as rewards, points, and badges. The emphasis on extrinsic motivation should be balanced with intrinsic motivation that emphasizes learning for personal enjoyment.

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