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How to Use Gamification in e-Learning

The use of gamification in e-learning is becoming more and more common in any kind of training. As the number of people learning and teaching online are increasing, efficient methods and tactics to improve online learning are coming out. 

There is no doubt that gamification is a highly impactful touch on a learning process whether it is online or offline. 

The concept of “Gamification”

As a child, we learn the basics of concentration, creativity and independence in a playful way. The game is in the cradle of humans and that is precisely why the transfer of playful elements into learning processes leads to increased motivation and a better learning curve. 

Many studies show that games improve the intrinsic motivation to learn and work. Well, but what is gamification?

Nick Pelling, an old-school British game programmer and IT specialist addressed in 2002 the question of how games outside the box can lead to greater returns. This is how the gamification process started. 

According to Pelling, gamification is “applying game-like accelerated user interface design to make electronic transactions both enjoyable and fast.” In other words, gamification is the application of game-typical elements and mechanisms into the contexts which are normally foreign to game.

PS: The term “gamification”, on the other hand, was first used by Richard Bartle in 1978, but did not establish itself in public discourse at that time. 

The concept of gamification was already used successfully in the 1930s for customer loyalty, employee motivation as a method even if it was not called so in these years. 

In the digital age, gamification focuses on: 

  • optimizing user motivation, 
  • customer loyalty, 
  • increasing the return on investment (ROI),
  • improving data quality,
  • enhancing learning experience.

How to Use in e-Learning

The technology-based teaching and learning method is known as Education 4.0, which is inspired by Industry 4.0. It has particularly the aim to improve the digital technological competences for teaching and learning.

‘Game-Based Learning’, ‘Serious Games’, ‘Games with Purpose’ and ‘Gamification’…  

A long list of concepts – they all have the expectation of using the potential of games in other application contexts. All concepts take the idea of game as the basis, and use its technology or mechanism to achieve added value that goes beyond the pure entertainment purpose.

The terminologies gamification, digitization and Industry 4.0 describe processes for developing innovations and open up the possibility of relatively aggregated access to subject areas that are complex in themselves. Gamification and innovation – there is hardly a topic that concerns people outside the games industry when they deal professionally or semi-professionally with the games industry.

e-Learning and Gamification

E-learning is a modern and contemporary way of learning. It is emphasized that learning on a PC or smartphone demands a great deal of self-discipline from the user. A willingness to learn and a certain degree of learning discipline are also required in face-to-face learning forms in order for it to work. 

Gamification is therefore an approach to make the future of learning even more interesting so that the joy of learning is not lost. Freelance lecturers and even teachers are now increasingly relying on games in webinars and classes – also evidence of the gamification of our society. This also applies to modern e-learning concepts.

Gamification, the influence of video games on goods, services and social processes, is becoming increasingly important in e-learning processes. Ongoing digitalization poses new challenges for learning management and the self-management that are going through a transformation process or are being reorganized through disordering.


Raising engagement in e-learning through gamification

E-learning has become essential for everyone to carry on their personal development. Online education is not only younger students but also for adults who are hoping to develop their skills. Recently, online education is getting better and educators are trying to find a way to keep learners’ motivation and engage them in their online course. One great way to raise engagement in e-learning is through gamification. 

No matter how old we are, as humans we tend to be more productive if we enjoy what we are doing and we all enjoy games. There are many different ways and versions of games that can be applied depending on the age and interest of the learners, and the targets of the learning. 

If the students view their online assignments as fun-like and enjoy completing them, the graduation rate of that course will be quite high. This is the case even in traditional education. When there is a teacher who creates a competitive atmosphere or makes the students feel like they are playing a game while learning, the students will be more motivated and engaged into that specific teacher’s class more than others.

Especially in e-learning, it can get very challenging to keep the students engaged in the class since the materials need self-motivation to be completed mostly. What we can do to raise the motivation of students is to use gamification tactics such as:

  • Story
  • Game mechanics
  • Competition

Creating a story

First of all, if the course materials are story-like or if they are connected to each other, you can expect better engagement from your learners. Everyone likes stories and it can help people to be more interested in the material. Storytelling is a rising star in the fields such as presentation, content creation as well as learning. This is a great skill to earn if your position requires you to be in front of people as a speaker or teacher.

Make it look like a game

Secondly, game mechanics can be the right approach for educators to use in online learning. Instead of preparing plain, monotonous, full of facts, and data, you can convey the same messages by making them look like, sound like, and act like a game. Instead of just presenting the facts to the students, we can try to engage them while contributing to the course materials, solving problems, finding the results while they feel like they are playing a game.

Creating competition

Lastly, competition is absolutely the key approach to raise engagement in online classrooms. No matter how old the learners are, they will always be more motivated if they are trying to rank higher in time. Show them where they rank, and what they need to do to be on the top. You will be amazed to watch how a simple leader board can change the attitude of the learners. 

By applying those three simple gamification rules in online classrooms, you will observe how the course engagement will raise.

How to do in e-Learning 

Or gamification as a design process.

Simply adding a few game elements does not develop the potential hoped for gamification. To achieve the desired result, you need to apply it thoroughly. Here are some ideas that you can use to design your online course.

In order to apply gamification in your online learning materials, you need to make a thorough plan beforehand. First of all, categorize your tactics for gamification and decide what are your priorities. Also, do not overlook any detail since they can have a major impact on learner engagement.

Create a leaderboard

You may begin planning it with a score table. 

For you to heat up the competition and encourage your learners to compete with each other, you need to plan your materials with a score. By completing each assignment, there should be a specific score to be gained. Also, do not forget to keep the time spent on each assignment in order to prevent the learners from just complete assignments to gain more points.

You may update the leader board weekly, monthly, or even daily depending on the length of the course or training. Competition is one of the strongest encouragement for all learners of all ages.

Everybody loves stories

Moreover, you can plan the whole course like a story with a beginning and an ending. If the learners feel that they are in a process and the materials are relevant and connected to each other, it will be a lot easier for them to engage. 

For instance, you may create some mysteries and they cannot solve them unless they complete the next assignment. This tactic is a very encouraging one to engage your e-learners in their online courses.

Overall, everybody loves stories.

Make them feel they can make decisions

If you have ever wondered how people get addicted to online games, the answer is quite simple: they make their own decisions. 

By using this tactic, we can really engage learners in online courses and contribute to their learning processes. 

For example, instead of having a simple, monotonous course material that the learner has zero right to select which one to skip or which one to complete first, you can create them in a way that in every decision they make, they find themselves in a different page or subject. 

Giving them the freedom to make choices will make them more enthusiastic and encouraged for the online course. 

The use of gamification in online learning has always been experienced to result positively. Whether you use all those tactics above or just the one, you will always see the positive outcomes.

There are many different great softwares and tools that help you create an engaging class. Vedubox, as a product offering online school features, is easy to customize and create gamified classes. Once you decided on what kind of a way you create for gamification, there are two more steps to consider:

Formulate the goal

For the entire development process, it is of great importance to formulate a clear goal for the use of the playful elements for e-learning at the very beginning. 

  • What should the playful elements exactly reach? 
  • Should the gaming elements build up new competence? 
  • Is it a focus for you to boost the motivation? 
  • Do you want to make a process more efficient and logical?
  • Do you need to simplify the process or content of training?

The goal should be set in the form of a clearly formulated and unmistakable mission statement, which can be recalled again and again if necessary.

Consider measurability

The ability to measure the positive results is almost as important as the goal itself. Here are the questions to help you find the way to create a measurable games:

  • When and how was the goal achieved? 
  • In what way you can measure the game: qualitatively or quantitatively?
  • What kind of tools do you need for measuring? 

There are different useful methods to use. For example surveys among users, the before-and-after comparison of efficiency data or the analysis of data quality. For some of them, you may need special apps or softwares and for others, you may need qualified personnel to conduct and analyze the surveys. Consider your sources and choose your method accordingly.


The integration of game elements into learning processes is not an easy undertaking: During the conception and integration, one should proceed with care so as not to run the risk of failing with the gamification concept. Used correctly, gamification is a powerful tool that not only has the potential to optimize processes, but also to motivate employees and retain customers. 

For an online class enriched with games, you can always contact Vedubox team and get more information about how to improve your learning experience.

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