Unit One: Inquiry: What is Gamification?

Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2019 (Zhang) | Gammification and Language Learning | Leslie's Profile

Learning Objectives

At the end of unit one, participants will demonstrate an understanding of gamification, by reading and applying strategies to class content.

Participants will have the opportunity to read about the effective strategies of gaming in education and discuss with their peers how the benefits can make positive impacts to their content area lessons or disciplines. Through reading articles, studies and watching a short introduction video, participants will be able to learn about gamification and it's impact.


In looking up the definition of "gamification", the dictionary states that it is "the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation." Wikipedia states that it is "an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments." (Kapp, Karl 2017)

In the past four years in working at Scarsdale Middle School, I have had the opportunity to work with colleagues to create learning activities that promote student engagement through reaching learning goals as they independently navigate their learning process through gaming like applications. Gamification has been present in our every day activities. We unknowingly participate in gamified activities through applications where we earn points or have incentives; Starbucks points, step calculators, fitness apps and so many others. We are not necessarily playing games but we are working towards a goal by completing certain activities and reaching new levels to gain a prize or achievement. The big question is how do we implement this strategy in our classrooms using learning applications available to our resources?

Watch the following video about what gamification is and keep in mind to discuss the following questions?

  • What is the difference between gaming and gamification?
  • Can gamification be applicable to my content area and across all disciplines and how?

Learning Activities

Now that you have had the opportunity to watch and discuss questions about what gamification is, this article presents the benefits and impactful strategies to use when gamifying a lesson or an activity. As you progress through the reading, take notes on important points to use in the discussion group with your peers.

“Gamification (from the English "gamification") - is the concept of applying game principles and mechanics in non-gaming activities, particularly in education.” (Kirillov, 2016) In this article, you will read about…

  • The foundations of what gamification is
  • The benefits and application across education as well as other fields
  • The impacts of brain development and function
  • How gamification creates a safe and favorable learning environment

Read the following article and respond and post to the discussion board above your reflection as well as ideas.

Improvement in the Learning Environment through Gamification of the Educational Process

Discussion Questions...

  1. Based on your interpretation, what is gamification?
  2. What are some benefits of incorporating gamification education, especially at the middle school level?
  3. What are some developmental benefits for the middle school learner in using gamification learning strategies in their learning process?
  4. Include any professional experiences in your teaching related to gamification.


Now that we have learned that Gamification is not a gaming application that students play, rather a strategy that allows for students to develop intrinsic goals to achieve skills at their own pace while monitoring their learning progress.

In the next unit, you will be reading and discussing what gamification looks like in our classes and begin to think what applications or activities educators can use to create a gamified learning activity.

Click here for Unit Two: Explore: What does Gamification look like?