If you are visiting a school, what do you think you will most likely see? You will either hear the teacher explaining the concepts to students, or students writing something in their notebooks hunched over their desks.

But, what would be your reaction if you see students playing on Nintendo DS in the classroom and the teacher calmly observing them? Well, Anand Pai believed that those games would help the 3rd graders he was teaching to learn better, and those Nintendo games did indeed help the students improve. Students learning through traditional means show one or two per cent of improvement in their skills, especially in topics like maths and languages. In contrast, the students in Mr Pai’s class showed around 11 to 12 per cent improvement. Here is another story about how Achieve3000 facilitated the growth of a student through gamification concepts.

Gamification in EdTech Is Evolving

While the classrooms have been increasingly adopting technology in education, it still mostly retains the traditional structure across the world. The gamification industry is progressing, with an estimated market of $11bn overall till 2020. The gamification in education is at around $2bn share. While these statistics are pre-CoronaVirus, the trends are showing that the growth would continue in the future.

From very early ages, humans have used stories & games to learn & teach many concepts. It was only a matter of time before the educational technology adopted these aspects. Today, we see two elements of gamification with EdTech. The first is where many developers are creating educational games. Maths and languages are primary choices, but other subjects are fast catching up too. Another aspect is the online courses use game concepts and game design elements into the delivery.

Over the years, we have learned many facets of gamification through our close partnership & interactions with companies and organizations like Achieve3000 & GSBA. It is possible to apply these learning to modern EdTech solutions. Some of these concepts are straightforward to implement, while some may require relatively complex development. Let us have a look at what these various components are and what they do.

Why gamification?

Gamification has a plethora of benefits of any educational solution. Here are a few primary ones;

  • It adds an element of fun & engagement to learning efforts
  • It helps learners understand complex problems relatively easily
  • It also helps increase the stickiness of the lessons
  • It has the potential to drive behavioural changes
  • Bridges the gaps between physical, in-person learning and online, remote learning

Goal Setting

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Setting a goal for the learner is the most fundamental implementation of gamification. The goals must follow the SMART guidelines (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, & Time-Bound). One thing to remember while setting the goal is that it should not be overly comfortable or overly demanding. That’s what the realistic and achievable part of the SMART guidelines indicate. It also helps if the goal can be achieved relatively quickly by the learner, which helps to boost confidence.

One thing to remember while setting goals is that they should be set to achieve a particular objective. While the learning objectives are the most crucial element, from the application perspective, what is it that you want to gain? What will indicate the success of the goal-setting? Is it learner engagement? Or is it the number of learners that consume the content? Have one goal at a time, and drive your effort into helping learners achieve it realistically.


Photo by Vincenzo Di Giorgi on Unsplash

The second most fundamental aspect of gamification is to use hurdles. The tests we traditionally have are one form of challenges. But with gamification, it turns into a treasure hunt, where you solve tasks of increasing complexities in exchange for some rewards.


Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

The objective of gamification is to enhance learning effectiveness through the use of gaming elements. And if goals and challenges provide greater engagement than solutions which don’t use them, the progress element should make it apparent for the learner about their achievements. The features should show visible, incremental progress towards mastery in the subject.

The progress can be shown through points, progress bars, levels, as well as virtual rewards like badges, coins, and many other similar objects.

Social Dimension

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While personal assessment of the progress is necessary, the social recognition of achievement gives even more boost to the learning. One of the fundamental reasons why we learn is to gain social acceptance. That’s why leaderboards are such powerful tools to enhance student engagement & efforts.

Going beyond the leaderboard & a sense of competition, building communities also provide immense benefits. The interactions between students can help build their confidence while assisting them in understanding concepts better at the same time. However, any such communication must be moderated very strictly.

The Future Landscape

Not only in technology-enabled education but gamification is being adopted in other areas too, including employee engagement efforts at workplaces. As remote is becoming mainstream, gamification assumes greater importance. Designing and implementing effective gamification requires both, an innate understanding of the human aspect of technology along with the technical skills, as well as keen understanding of the educational elements. If you want to explore more about how your EdTech solution can utilize gamification aspects effectively, feel free to reach out to us.


Featured Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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