Can Games and Badges Motivate College Students to Learn?

Can Games and Badges Motivate College Students to Learn?

Daervasi defines gamfication as “the addition of reward systems to non-game settings and contexts.”

see other definition for gamification from

Gamification takes game elements (such as points, badges, leaderboards, competition, and achievements) and applies them to a non-game setting. It has the potential to turn routine, mundane tasks into refreshing, motivating experiences (What is GBL (Game-Based Learning)?, n.d.).

Gamification is defined as the process of applying game mechanics and game thinking to the real world to solve problems and engage users (Phetteplace & Felker, 2014, p. 19; Becker, 2013, p. 199; Kapp, 2012). Gamification requires three sets of principles: 1. Empowered Learners, 2. Problem Solving, 3. Understanding (Gee, 2005).

Some authors, e.g. Malykhina (2014), fail to make the distinction between games and gamification in the educational process and attribute gamification to the influx of games in the curricula, rather than to the application of game elements as defined above or constrain the definition ascribing only reward system to learning settings and contexts (Darvasi, 2015).

An excellent outline and historical and bibliographic overview of games and gamification in their learning context was recently published by Liu and Santhanam (2015). As per Liu & Santhanam (2015), there are certain “commonalities between gamification and other game-related designs, but they differ in terms of whether they are predominantly work-oriented (versus play-oriented) and whether they have well defined goals and structures” (p. 6). They also offer a useful framework, describing the roles of different gamification design elements.


De Liu’s papers on gaming and gamification

Welcome De 🙂

I have written a commentary piece on the reflection of gamification research: So I am right at home reading Plamen’s piece on gamification and education.

I am collaborating on a project that creates a prototype gamified e-learning website – where we add gaming elements that aim to create challenge, curiosity, and fantasy – Malone’s taxonomy. But it is still in initial testing stage that I don’t have anything written up yet. I have done a study earlier just on games with a focus on competition ( I don’t know if these are of interests to your blog, if yes, please let me know.



Associate Professor
Information and Decision Sciences
3-163 Carlson School of Management
University of Minnesota
Office: 612-626-4480



Hello everyone, who is interested in

serious games
game-based learning,
assessment (badges, leaderboards) as part of gaming and gamfication
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as part of the cloud-based games and gamification

In this blog, we also can share sources and ideas about:

methodology of game-based learning
methodology of assessment
Malone and Lepper’s taxonomy of intrinsic motivation
standards and standartization

from “one-to-one” to “many-to-many and multi-way interaction”in game-based learning and implications of game-based learning on distance and online/mobile education