Gamification: its place in higher education and how you fit in


Has the digital world brought too many distractions for your learners?

Teaching in these digital times means that we all have access to more information immediately, and this has many positives, but it also means that we are “competing” with that access, all the time. Should we forbid digital devices during our face-to-face sessions? What about the online sessions that have become ubiquitous with COVID-19? Perhaps we might be asking the wrong question. How about asking what can we do to help learners stick to their learning experience instead of their devices?

The answer can come using gamification. You have probably seen kids lose the sense of time when playing games but, can this be translated to adults with busy lives? There are two things to consider to turn that into a definitive yes. The first one is how the demographics of people who play and enjoy games has shifted in these times. The average gamer, according to US figures is now 35, and only 29% of them are under 18 years old. In fact, the average female gamer is 44! This means that the adult population is certainly drawn into games as well. Another idea to consider is the fact that it is not only Triple-A video games (high production budget games) have the power to attract adult and young audiences but their strategies and design ideas can be used for other purposes, which is where gamification comes in.

There is no formal definition of gamification to this date, but the one I like to use is the use of game design, game elements, and play for purposes beyond entertainment. In that sense, gamification considers our drives and motivations as humans and makes the best of the exciting, motivating, and engaging strategies and design ideas from games. Considered within educational environments, it is usually geared at getting the participants invested in their learning where they would usually be just passing along. The effort in using gamification for learning can result in improved concentration, effort, and determination to succeed, all of which are keys to overall knowledge retention and application.

I’ve seen how students can go from business as usual to raving fans in many different fields. When I started working at IE Business School in the creation of interactive learning materials and saw how they were able to influence student response, I became obsessed with these strategies and have since studied a number of applications of the gamification principles. I created Professor Game Podcast to share experiences like these so others could get inspired, especially because after years of learning and applying and conferences I felt it was time to open to a broader audience and with a wide breadth of ideas from many practitioners who are doing fantastic work in the field.

With such great experiences, success, and also failure to learn from I have distilled the process of creating engaging experiences into five general steps that I talk about on Episode 107.

In a collaboration of EFMD and IE Business School, I will be going into further details of the application of these five steps in the educational world. We will be working on each of these through a project where participants will get the opportunity to apply this in a potential real-life situation. I hope to get a chance to e-meet you there and learn together about engagement in education!

? Learn more about the workshop and register now to start creating learning solutions using lessons from games, the most engaging medium to date!