Gamification from #ReadTL14 by Cheryl Pennington

I have been intrigued about the concept of Gamification in learning for a while now and was eager to attend Nicky Gilbert’s, E-Learning Manager at Fareham College @gillersn workshop at #ReadTL14 @ReadingCollege.

What follows is my interpretation and understanding of Nicky’s workshop.


Gamification uses elements of game mechanics to motivate and engage students in their learning process. Students like games because they have short term risks, fun, energy, pace and competition.

It is an approach that applies all the skills and approaches required in gaming to a non-gaming context. For example, problem solving, risk taking, instant feedback, learning to move to the next level.


Gamification promotes high levels of engagement and participation; the same as what is required in successful learning.


Research shows that:

‘Students learn better by taking tests rather than studying for a test’ Jane McGonigal.

This is often the case because in quizzes for example learning has elements that are found in Gamification, for example challenge, competition, immediate feedback. Feedback of course is part of the overall dialogue or interaction between teacher and student.

Gamification requires and develops in students all the skills required in employment today in order to be successful for example curiosity, problem solving, creativity etc.


Gamification comes in 2 flavours: structural and contextual.


Structural Gamification
Playing and using gaming rules to support learning, for example students earn badges, take part in competitions, students participate and complete quizzes and assess themselves against a leader board.

Elements of the learning process are ‘gamified’ for example initial assessment, content delivery and ongoing assessment.

Mike Skocko at Valhaller High School in California embraced gamification with his students and changed the language of learning, for example grades are not grades they refer to ‘levelling up’ and they are on a ‘quest for knowledge and understanding’.

Content Gamification
This involves changing the content of your lesson. Rather than starting with lesson objectives you might start the lesson with a problem. For example to Horticulture students: ‘We are going to make a garden today. What are we not going to do?’

It puts the students at the centre of a ‘fantasy’ world and allows students to develop skills in a real but safe environment. As soon as the students come through the door they are emerged in their epic learning, students enter an ‘epic mystery’. The ‘time bound’ learning experience of gamification adds to the challenge.

Gamification enables students to develop gaming skills of curiosity, determination, faster learning, resilience, optimism.

Nicky’s top Gamification tech tips
Use Kahoot, a free technology to gamify learning and
You can also embed You Tube clips in

Another top tech tool is Class Dojo

For more information follow Nicky Gilbert @gillersn and visit her Pinterest Gamification board.

Nicky also recommends slide pocket for great presentations.



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