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My presentation for October 25, 2013 - Metro State University of Denver (MSUD) Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference 2013. Access Conference Schedule here: https://metroteachingwithtechday.pbworks.com/w/page/69613174/2013%20Schedule
Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning - Theories, Methods, and Controversies
Game-Based Learning: Theories,
Methods, and Controversies”
October 25, 2013
“Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning: Theories, Methods, and
Controversies” by Sherry Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Although the terms Gamification and Game-Based
Learning (GBL) have been used interchangeably, they are
2 very different approaches to transforming social
situations with game-like experiences. Let’s address the
theory and methodology behind Gamification and GBL to
understand why the 2 approaches are gaining steam in
Ready? Let’s Go!
Theory: What is Gamification?
“Gamification typically involves applying game design
thinking to non-game applications to make them more
fun and engaging . . . . Gamification can potentially be
applied to any industry and almost anything to create fun
and engaging experiences, converting users into players.”
Methodology of Gamification
In education, we can use
game design principles to
change non game-like
classrooms into fun and
environments, for the
purpose of motivating
and changing learner
Some principles . . .
● Achievement Badges
● Feedback Loops
● Progress (Status Bar)
“63 percent of respondents
agreed that making
everyday activities more
like a game would make
them more fun and
“More than half said that if
a layer of competition were
added to their everyday
routine, they’d keep a
closer watch on their
behaviors and activities.”
-- JWT Intelligence (Jan. 14, 2011)
● Intense Focus
● Mastery (Fail often until
problem is solved)
● Meaningful Choices
● Joyful Optimism
Gamification is Everywhere!
“By 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000
organizations will have at least one "gamified"
application, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts said that
while the current success of gamification is largely driven
by novelty and hype, gamification is positioned to become
a highly significant trend over the next five years.”
-- Gartner Research (Nov. 9, 2011)
Effectiveness of Gamification?
“A Gigya survey showed gamification also increases
participation in online communities, with an average of 13
percent more comments, 22 percent more sharing on
Twitter and Facebook and 68 percent more content
-- Stop Press (October 2, 2013)
Kickstarter Gamified (Rewards)
Neverending Nightmares by Matt Gilgenbach on Kickstarter
College Syllabus Gamified (Levels)
Lee Sheldon’s Gamified Syllabus
Gamifying Class: Benefits+Problems
● Make Classrooms more
fun and engaging.
● Motivate Students to
● Help Students focus and
be more attentive to
what they are learning.
● Allow Students engage in
● Gamification can
predictable and boring.
● Poorly designed
gamified activities can
seem meaningless (if
learning objectives are
not well defined).
● Gamification can seem
Theory: What is Game-Based
“Game based learning (GBL) is a type of game play that
has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game based
learning is designed to balance subject matter with
gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply
said subject matter to the real world” (Wikipedia).
In other words, game-based learning is the use of games
(analog or digital) for teaching a subject matter. The idea
is to get students to play with already made games to
fulfill a learning objective.
Why Use GBL in Education?
Why are Games Good for Learning by PIXELearning (Infographic)
Research on Gaming and Cognitive
● Gaming Linked to Greater Emotional Well-Being
During Aging, According to Study by Alexa Ray
Corriea (March 6, 2013)
● UCSF Study Shows Gaming Makes You Cognitively
Younger by Timothy J. Seppala (Sept. 5, 2013)
● “Video Games Can Help You 'See' More” by Journal
of Attention, Perception and Psychophysics (June 12,
● Video Games May Improve Reading Skills In
Children With Dyslexia: Study by Betsy Isaacson
(March 8, 2013)
Research on Gaming and Behavior
● Video Game Takes Bold Step Against Youth Suicide
by Leslie Scrivener (Sept. 13, 2013)
● Video Games Do Not Make Vulnerable Teens More
Violent by Heidelberg (Aug. 26, 2013)
● Gaming Can Inspire Healthy Behavior, Study Shows
by Elizabeth Armstrong Moore (March 20, 2012)
● The Key to Unlocking the Virtual Body: Virtual
Reality in the Treatment of Obesity and Eating
Disorders by Giuseppe Riva, PhD (March 2011)
GBL Class: Benefits+Problems
● Turn Students into
problem solvers and selfdirected learners.
● Foster Students’ design
thinking via game
making (create better
● Allow Students to
engage in friendly
competitions with peers.
● Help Students learn to
● The Instructor, as the
must be quite familiar
with assigned games to
teach with them.
● Assigning games
without defining clear
reduces class time to
● Technology issues (PC
vs. Console gaming)
Not All Fun Activities Are Games
“Perhaps the best way to think about games in education
is not to automatically call everything that looks like fun a
‘learning game.’ Lumping all digital game approaches
together makes no more sense than a toddler’s inclination
to call every four-legged animal a ‘doggie.’”
-- Frank Catalano, Edsurge (August 20, 2013)
Let’s Play a Persuasive Game !
The Republia Times by Dukope
Let’s Play a Serious Game !
Acidosis by Twirlbound
Criticism of Gamification:
The Loss of the Essence of Games
Gamification Produces ‘Skinner
“At worst, such [gamification] approaches mistake
games for Skinner Boxes, incentive dispensers that
dole out rewards for attention. But even at their best,
designers’ adoption of game principles run up against the
fact that games are fundamentally opposed to product
and service design principles. Games are inefficient; they
serve no purpose but to provide the experience that is
their very playing.”
-- Ian Bogost (September 19, 2013)
Gamification Eliminates the Spirit of
“[Jane McDonigal] worries that gamification efforts fall
short when they adopt the mechanics of a game, such as
giving rewards for certain behavior, without adopting the
spirit of a game.”
“The good feeling you get when you play an engaging
game is what she calls ‘gamefulness.’”
“‘Lots of things have the bells and whistles, but not the
heart of a game,’ she said.”
-- Dean Takahashi on Jane McDonigal
(January 20, 2011)
Ethics of Gamification
“Whatever we do or refrain from doing, whatever we put
out there as a piece of design into the world has a
persuasive component. It tries to affect people. It puts a
certain vision of the good life out there in front of us.”
“Peter-Paul Verbeek, the Dutch philosopher of
technology, says. No matter whether we as designers
intend it or not, we materialize morality. We make
certain things harder and easier to do. We organize the
existence of people. We put a certain vision of what good
or bad or normal or usual is in front of people by
everything we put out there in the world.”
-- Sebastian Deterding (November 2011)
What is a Game, Really?
Game Definitions by Molleindustria
Games as Responses to
According to Janet Murray, games answer the
postmodern problem of the multiplicity of meaning (no
single truth), because games offer systems that can help
“anchor” what we mean.
“Liminality in Games
● Games celebrate the magic of shared attention.
● Games celebrate the inventiveness of human powers
of symbolic communication
● Games create a space where we recognize the
plasticity of culture itself”
-- Janet Murray, Digra 2013 (August 26, 2013)
Gamification vs. GBL
● Gamification = Turn the world into a playable and
meaningful game in order to achieve specific
● Game-Based Learning (GBL) = Apply concepts to
interpreting the meaning of existing game worlds. Or,
reframe the game worlds as a “playground” for
experimentation and analysis of concepts.
Which One?: It all depends on your teaching objectives!
Want to modify student behavior? Gamify! Want to
“reframe” the world for students to experiment or test
concepts? Use GBL! Choose the method that best fits
your teaching objectives!