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Gamification overview for NQTs

Summary Note:

Why do we play?

Impressive number of studies on serotonin and oxytocin release during game and gamification engagement – there is research linked to Mine’s work.

Psychological studies have shown that gamers often experience altruistic encounters in video games, as more experienced players help “newbies”.

Being there without being there (simulation)

Creativity, creative thinking and problem solving – competition AND Socialising


What is Gamification?

Overlaying Game Mechanics onto real world scenarios or activities


Principles of Gamification

• Achievement
You can show this through design elements like a high score table, progress bar or a digital badge

• Competition
There should be an element of competition for the user either against themselves to beat a personal best, a computer opponent or a real opponent

• Fun
Your gamification design should have an element of fun, after all that is the essence of any game. There is a difficult balance in making a game accessible for anyone to use, but with enough challenge to keep the user motivated, while maintaining the fun (see Candy Crush app for a good example)

Does it exist? Is it just good learning design?

‘Crap LMS overlaid with crap gamification just won’t cut it any more!’ – @donaldclark


Who is playing games?

Average age of gamers in the UK – 57% players in the UK are male and 43% female. The largest single age/gender demographic is 15-24 year-old males ( )

Mobile games have a lot to answer for – 47% of UK smartphone owners use apps on their phones to play games – more that use apps for online banking (40%) or reading the news (33%) ( )

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine what to avoid ‘default mode error’ and increase problem solving by offering 3 plausible solutions to consider

Financial service creating games to teach risk-assessment

There are a couple of examples of early years research from the Australia (Tootell and Freeman) and Canada (Nolan and McBride)
What are the elements of Gamification?

• Scenarios
• Challenges
• Rewards / Level up – Jacqui’s was better, you are a level 2 origami master
• Feedback – OfSTED handbook ‘planning next steps’
• Chance to Fail – developing resilience
• Social – connected to other children and adults

You can see how these link to the neural level, as mentioned by Mine

4 mistakes – too many rewards, doesn’t fulfil learning objectives, focuses only on competition, game mechanics are faulty.
How do we apply Gamification to learning?

Scenario-based pedagogy / Experiential pedagogy / Role-play

Recording the 3D elements of play in early years – avoiding intervention

Parental engagement

You must strike a balance between behaviourist/extrinsic gaming and cognitive/intrinsic gaming
Tools to use
– ClassDojo ( )
– Kahoot ( )
– SMS-based games (Aberdeen University, Bradford College)
– Learning Management Systems or Virtual Learning Environments

• Time consuming to set up
• Maintaining motivation
• Fun vs Learning
Further Reading:

Dichev, C. and Dicheva, D. (2017). Gamifying Education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 14(9) 1-36

Dominguez, A. Saenz-de-Navarrette, J., De-Marcos, L., Fernandez-Sanz, L., Pages, C. and Martinez-Harraiz, J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education 63 380-392

Hamari, J., Koivisto, J. and Sarsa, H. (2014). Does Gamification work? A literature review of the empirical studies on Gamification, in Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS

Kapp, K. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Fransisco: Pfeiffer

Turan, Z., Avinc, Z., Kara, K. and Goktas, Y. (2016). Gamification in Education: Achievements, Cognitive Loads and Views of Students. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning 11(7) 64-69 on gamification in education –

Gamification in maths –

Gamification Neuroscience to reduce decision error -

Business simulation game –

Gamification mistakes –

Make games using PHASER –

ClassDojo –

Kahoot -

Reading list –

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