About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5190-5192
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain


D. Ruggiero

Bath Spa University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Gamification, an informal term for the use of video game elements in non-gaming systems to improve user experience (UX) and engagement is sweeping the world (e.g. Business Week, Popular Science, The Futurist). Faced with the broad adoption of gamified applications as technology and interest in gaming grows the goal of this paper is to discuss the gamification of learning using current research on gamification. The primary intended outcome of the paper presentation is to build a shared overview of gamification as it approaches learning, educational technology, engagement, and design of information systems employing game elements. However, if gamification is to be of use in learning we must better understand what it is, how it works, and why it might be useful. This paper addresses all three questions and explores the potential benefits and pitfalls of gamification.

What is It?
Gamification as a term originated in the digital media industry with its first use dating back to 2008. It entered widespread adoption in the latter part of 2010 with conferences and industry backing. While video games for learning purposes have been studied for the past three decades with findings being reported for outcomes (Prensky, 2001; Gee, 2003, 2010; Steinkuelher, 2004; Flanagan, 2008) there has been a backlash on gamification as fake, bunkum and in the words of video game theorist Ian Bogost, “bullshit”(Bogost, 2011).

The recent introduction of gamified applications to large audiences demonstrates that video game elements (rather than full games) to improve user experience and engagement are gaining traction in digital marketing and interaction design (Zichermann & Linder, 2010). Analysts predict that gamification will become a multi-billion dollar industry by 2015 (MacMillan, 2011), however it has also spawned intense debates within the academic and professional world over the veracity of gamification as a learning tool (e.g. 2011 Gamification Summit and gamification day at the 2011 GDC Serious Games Summit). This hasn’t stopped the creation of new gamified applications ranging from productivity to health, sustainability, news, and user-generated content. In fact several vendors, such as Bunchball, offer gamification as a service layer by inputting reward and reputation systems with points, badges, and levels.

How Does it Work?
Gamification works by shaping learner behavior through the use of game-like rule systems. To effectively do this gamified applications deploy techniques aimed at the cognitive, affective, and social learning processes.

Why is it Useful?
Gamification is not a magic bullet. There are pros and cons to gamification in learning. Bringing learning and gamification together could be complementary with two great ideas working in concert to boost learner effectiveness. The challenges are also significant and need to be considered. Gameification might absorb instructor resources and teach learners to only learn when provided with external awards. The bottom line is that some gamification efforts will succeed and some will flop but with gamified applications spreading throughout the real world there is little question that it will also impact learning both in K12 and business sectors. If we can harness the power, motivation, and sheer immersiveness of game-play and direct it toward learning we can supply learners the tools they need to succeed in the real world.
keywords: gamification.
author = {Ruggiero, D.},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {5190-5192}}
AU - D. Ruggiero
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 5190
EP - 5192
ER -
D. Ruggiero (2013) GAMIFICATION: LEARNING INNOVATION OR POTENTIAL PITFALL?, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 5190-5192.