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Gaming vs Gamification

Gaming vs Gamification

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will learn the difference between games and gamificication

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In this tutorial, we'll identify the differences between gaming and gamification. We'll begin by defining a game, and then we'll define the term gamification. Finally, we'll compare the two concepts. Let's get started. There are five essential elements in a game. First, a game needs to have rules. Second, a game needs to have variable and quantifiable outcomes. For example, winning or losing something tangible would be both a variable and a quantifiable outcome.

Third, the outcomes of the game need to be valued. For example, some outcomes might be more difficult to achieve than others, or some outcomes of the game might be considered better or worse than others. There also must be an element of player attachment to those outcomes. Players should want to win and want to avoid losing. And fifth, effort must be required in order to achieve those desired outcomes.

Other common elements in games include challenge, player influence, or control over the outcomes, fantasy-- in other words a lack of real life consequences for actions-- role playing, competition, an element of mystery, adaptation to changing skill levels, assessment, progress, sensory stimuli, and the opportunity to receive immediate feedback.

The idea of gamification certainly is related to games in general, with some notable differences. The first documented use of the term gamification was in 2008, and that definition as published in 2011 is using game design elements in non-game contexts. The 2011 definition was also expanded to include the phrasing, using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems.

So today's definition of gamification is a bit broader. The term now refers to using game mechanics to increase student engagement, to promote desired behaviors, and to practice problem solving skills. Gamification can be applied in virtually any content area, because game features can often be added to your lessons or units without having to make significant changes to the subject matter or to the content.

And note that gamification may not necessarily look like a game. It can be used for just about anything, in just about any context, as long as you are using game theory to increase motivation. There are definitely similarities between a gamified classroom and a classroom environment where games are simply being played.

After all, gamification incorporates some, or even all, of those essential elements of a game in order to engage and motivate the people playing the game. But there are some differences between simply playing games and incorporating gamification into the classroom. Here are some key ideas.

Gamification actually transforms the whole learning environment by incorporating those game elements right into the everyday classroom routine, rather than just in isolated activities or games. Gamification usually involves an entire collection of tasks over the course of, perhaps, a grading period or the entire school year, and these tasks include cumulative rewards.

Students collect points or some other form of reward that build over time instead of just the short-lived rewards that come along with a single experience of playing a game. And finally, playing a single game in the classroom usually results in an individual person, or a team of students, either winning or losing. Gamification, on the other hand, may completely eliminate the possibility of losing. In other words, in a gamified environment, often, there's an opportunity for everyone to achieve at least some sort of success.

In this tutorial, we defined a traditional game and the idea of gamification, and we compared the two concepts. Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Have you used games in your classroom? If so, did you incorporate any of the elements of gamification as you did so? Can you see the benefit of using gamification strategies instead of more traditional games to help reinforce content?

To dive a little deeper and to learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Gaming vs Gamification"

(00:00 - 00:18) Introduction

(00:19 - 01:29) Definition of a Game

(01:30 - 02:37) Definition of Gamification

(02:38 - 03:57) Game vs Gamification

(03:58 - 04:05) Review

(04:06 - 04:41) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

The Gamification of Education

In this report, Craig Miller of Normandale Community College defines both gamification and simulation. Additionally, Miller explains the benefits of gamifying instruction.

Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother? 

As the title suggests, this report provides an explanation of gamification, how to incorporate gamification into your classroom, and the pros and cons of gamifying instruction.