#Gamification in the (language learning) classroom...how engaging, effective, and efficient can it be?

This Sunday, we're hanging out to discuss gamification.  How do you use games to motivate learners?  If you'd like to know more, visit the event page.


Gamification, coined by Nick Pelling back in 2004, is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to engage users and solve problems (Wikipedia). Ahmed (2012) list the following elements in his Guide to Gamification

  • Progress paths – The use of challenges and evolving narratives to increase the likelihood a task will be completed.
  • Feedback – Instant feedback on the user's actions. In business this is usually slow, however in gamification you need to feedback in real-time to help the user on their journey.
  • Rewards – Think of the best way to give the user a pat on the back, such as a target they can increase. This can include power, leadership or responsibility.
  • User experience – In 2012, there is no excuse to for users to be unsatisfied with how a game looks or functions. Develop engaging, straightforward graphics and an intuitive interface that helps users on their journey.
  • Social elements – The social viral loop has to be built into your platform. For centuries, games have been played with friends and family, and gamification and social media help to amplify this. Think about the ability to challenge people or have the ability for the user to boast about their score via Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms.
 What's your opinion about the notion of gamification and how these elements fit into your own teaching practice?