What are Games and Gamification?


The games culture has grown to include a substantial proportion of the world’s population, with the age of the average gamer increasing with each passing year. A 2012 survey conducted by the Entertainment Software Association showed that the age demographic of game players in the U.S. is split in almost equal thirds with people ages 18-35 representing 31% of gamers, along with roughly equal proportions among those younger than 18 and those older than 35. As tablets and smartphones have proliferated, desktop and laptop computers, television sets, and gaming consoles are no longer the only way to connect with competitors online, making game-play a portable activity that can happen in a diverse array of settings. Game play has long moved on from simply recreation and has found considerable traction in the worlds of commerce, productivity, and education as a useful (and engaging) training and motivation tool. While a growing number of educational institutions and programs are experimenting with game-play, there has also been increased attention surrounding gamification — the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios. Businesses have embraced gamification as a way to design incentive programs that engage employees through rewards, leader boards, and badges, often with a mobile component. Although more nascent than in military or industry settings, the gamification of education is gaining support among researchers and educators who recognize that it is well established that effectively designed games can stimulate large gains in productivity and creativity among learners.r instruments that can teach a user how to operate them.


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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • There seems to be increased recognition of the opportunity to incorporate games in learning in both education and corporate sectors, in part driven by growing appreciation of the engagement power of games, as well as the widening demographic of game participants. Interest in incorporating gamification elements also on the increase, and reflects recognition of user interest in competition, the motivation for leaderboard status, rewards etc.- NSweeney NSweeney Feb 10, 2015


  • It is recognised that Gamification can increase student engagement so the obvious relevance is in the efforts to address the challenge of student retention - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015


  • I think the great potential is in placing learners into a particular world with a particular rule set and getting them to think from the inside out (I think the GBL theorist Paul Gee said something like this once). This gives rise to a qualitative different kind of learning from, e.g. textbook or chalk and talk. It links as an idea to Ian Bogost's view of games as a kind of procedural rhetoric, as persuasive environments that addresses, e.g.attitudinal learning and how we identify in a way we often don't reach (though we try to) in our formal systems - Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Feb 13, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • We need to develop robust strategies to support the effectiveness of games for learning purposes, i.e. 'serious games'.
  • Developing games can be time-consuming and expensive. Engines or templates to enable the re-usability of game structures for games on a range of topics/content themes would help make games and gamification more accessible.- NSweeney NSweeney Feb 10, 2015
  • Developing any game (educational or entertainment) requires a set of skills usually only to be found in a multi-disciplinary team. Game production is close to film production in how it should be approached. The exception are numeric/business simulations that can usually be constructed by one person and realised in a spreadsheet. - jimdevine jimdevine Feb 11, 2015
  • Personally I'm not sure the talk of "game play" above explicates the field or practice all that well. Gameplay (one word) in about the way we interact with games or our whole experience of them. It links to concepts like playability and, I think, a user experience (UX) orientation to games. - Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Feb 13, 2015
  • Something worth capturing I think it the reason why we might think of games as pedagogical tools or learning environment at all. The literature speaks, for instance, of the way they facilitate flow state, collaborative problem solving, information literacy, situated understanding, identity work, authentic assessment, learning by doing etc. - Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Feb 13, 2015
  • Feedback provision is an important aspect in the design and use of serious games. There is a growing body of research in the domain of Computer Assisted Language Learning on this. - francoise.blin francoise.blin Feb 14, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on third-level education in Ireland?

  • If implemented properly it could significant increase a students engagement with their course which inevitably will lead to better student attainment and retention - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015
  • As lecturers want to implement gamification into their courses I hope that they will "open their courses up" to instructional designers and learning technologists. Bringing in other people (experts) to help co-design courses will hopefully lead to better course design and student learning experience - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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