What is Gamification and How to Apply It to Teaching

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Gamification occupies a key place in today’s educational process. All the innovative teaching methods are based on it. In this article, teachers and tutors will learn what gamification is, its components, and examples of its application in the classroom.


The term originated in 2008 thanks to Brett Terrill. Gamification is in a broad sense the use of games, game elements, and techniques in a non-game environment. And in a narrower sense, it is the use of game elements, techniques, and visual game aesthetics in non-game settings.

Gamification should not be identified with game learning. In the latter, real games are used to acquire skills and knowledge, while gamification is mostly applied in a non-game context and is related only to individual game components.

Back in the early 1980s, researchers resorted to research the importance of introducing game design into routine activities. Today gamification has become a method of increasing the efficiency of any process. This method helps to avoid routine in the course of routine tasks and to achieve high concentration.

But in some cases, even such an effective gamification is not always practical. For example, when the student is overwhelmed by the number of tasks and the curriculum. In this case, it is best to switch off for a while, take a breather, and temporarily delegate study assignments to an essay writer online or other specialists, for example.


The gamification method is especially relevant in the educational sphere. According to Forbes, this method is in 3rd place among five modern educational trends. And on the 4th and 5th places are interactive textbooks and learning through video games, which are also gamification elements. It is a way to activate and constantly keep students’ attention.

The following features characterize gamification of the learning space:

  • competitiveness;
  • goals
  • player’s progress;
  • achievements and results;
  • game dynamics;
  • new opportunities;
  • exploration of conditions and circumstances;
  • cooperation;
  • belonging to a community;
  • the accumulation of experience.

All these psychological components of the game are a driving force for remembering learning information. The main task of game elements is to create conditions for productive competition and cooperation.

In addition to important learning skills, gamification in education contributes to the development of soft skills such as:

  • communication skills;
  • competitiveness;
  • ability to work in a team;
  • logical and creative thinking;
  • persistence;
  • resourcefulness;
  • ability to meet deadlines.

Playful elements effectively learn any subject, from mathematics to programming to music. The gamification method can be used for students of all ages. However, game tasks for younger students should have a moving and more entertaining nature, while grades 5-8 should have the spirit of an exciting learning adventure with a concrete result. For the oldest students, games should be professionally oriented have complex and exciting intellectual challenges.

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So, gamification at English lessons can simulate communication with foreigners in different situations when the student has to remember all the necessary words and phrases. In literature lessons, the plot of work can be reproduced in a maze format. With the help of riddles, illustrations, video, or music fragments, you have to guess places and characters or imitate dialogues between the characters.

During math or physics lessons, it is recommended to conduct logic quizzes using interactive tests and devices or cards and illustrations. Classes in the native language can be diluted with linguistic quests, in which, for example, students have to guess the words consecutively and make a sentence out of them.


Lessons today can be conducted both offline and online. So let’s consider gamification methods for these two formats.

Gamification for offline lessons

Teachers and tutors can include different kinds of games and their elements into their lessons: didactic games, logical warm-ups, drama games, organizational and organizational-mind games, role-playing games, creative tasks, simulation games, investigative games, business games, and so on. More specific varieties of these games are competitions, blitz tournaments, quizzes, quests, brain-rings, discussion clubs, riddles, rebuses, crosswords, various staged improvisations, mazes, searches for “treasure”, etc.

Simplifying the teacher’s task of creating games today helps online resources. Here are services for collaborative games for the whole class:

Socrative 101 – a tool for interactive quizzes and surveys with a mobile app;

ClassDojo – combines the functions of a social networking and learning platform;

Plickers – a service and mobile app that allows teachers to administer frontal surveys and tests with instant student results.

Gamification for distance learning

Intellectual battles, quizzes, interactive polls can also be conducted during online classes using guessing, searching, research, logical inference, creative thinking. Gamification in distance learning can be applied with the help of such online services:

Kahoot! – is an interactive learning platform that allows you to conduct knowledge tests, quizzes, presentation of new material in a game form;

LearningApps – a resource with interactive exercises of game characters;

Quizizz – service, which presents learning tasks in the format of quizzes and tests;

Quizlet – a service that allows you to memorize any information, which can be presented in the form of study cards;

ProProfs – online constructor for creating tests, puzzles, crosswords.


Often when trying to create a game atmosphere, something goes wrong, students are not focused on the tasks, chaos reigns in the classroom. Let’s look at the possible reasons:

The teacher did not clearly state the purpose of the game;

rules of the game were not displayed and communicated, or they were formulated inconsistently and illogically;

there is no system of feedback from the teacher, or the technical aspects of the game service are not taken into consideration;

students are not motivated to play because the teacher did not offer a ranking system, awards, points, bonuses, etc.

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