Gamification – what is it?

Gamification in business- Flat designGamification, serious games, game mechanics, digital badging, micro-credentialing – it’s a new language!  It was important for me to gain an understanding of these concepts before proceeding with further discussion about gamification and education.

What is ‘Gamification’?

Gamification is described as ‘… the process of applying game-related principles – particularly those relating to user experience and engagement – to non-game contexts such as education

The primary intent of gamification is to motivate learners to perform certain activities and aims to engage students in the learning process (Tan and Hew, 2016).

What are ‘Serious Games’?

The term ‘serious game’ is most commonly used to refer to games that are designed specifically for health professional education on a digital device (Alvarez cited in Gentry et al. 2016). According to Day-Black et al. (2015), the goal of ‘serious games’ is education and not entertainment; research indicates that serious games increase active learning and improve student learning outcomes.

What are ‘game mechanics’?

Tan and Hew (2016) outline examples of game mechanics; these include ‘ … points, badges, levels, challenges, virtual goods, and leader boards’. Research indicates that these elements have a significant impact on improving student engagement.

What is a digital badge’?

A digital badge is a symbol that signifies one has accomplished a skill or quality through online learning. The badge may indicate one or many achievements and be used as an alternative form of credentialing

What is ‘micro-credentialing’?

The term micro-credentialing refers to the process of having completed an online competency or having mastered a certain skill set

After researching and writing these definitions I came across a wonderful website that provides further definition of all the complex terms above and how they fit together. Thanks to Andrzej Marczewski for his work – I will certainly be referring to his tables in the future and highly recommend checking out his website for further information on the topic of gamification:

I am sure that it would be a case of the more I look the more I find ….


Tan, M., & Hew, K. H. (2016). Incorporating meaningful gamification in a blended learning research methods class: Examining student learning, engagement, and affective outcomes. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 19-34, viewed 25 November 2017,

Day-Black, C, Merrill EB, Konzelman L, Williams TT, Hart N. (2015). Gamification: An Innovative Teaching-Learning Strategy for the Digital Nursing Students in a Community Health Nursing Course. The ABNF journal: the official journal of the Black Nursing Faculty in Higher Education Inc., vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 90-94, viewed 24 November 2017,


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