Gamification – Relatively New Concept in Education

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Aug 21, 2023
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  5
Order Original Essay

How it works

Copious amounts of literature can be found on the professional development of teachers, while ‘gamification’ is a relatively new concept in education. However, merging the two subjects was relatively straightforward. Professional development furthers the education of teachers, and gamification has been used to further the education of students and employees for the past twenty or so years. The purpose of the study was to see if providing a gamification choice for teachers would be as effective as providing a gamification choice for students.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Furthermore, we questioned if professional learning would be internally motivated if there were perceived incentives involved for teachers to learn new concepts, technologies, or teaching strategies through the gamification processes.

The primary focus of this study was to emphasize the importance of quality professional development for teachers. By gamifying professional development materials, teachers would then be able to more effectively fill gaps in skill sets for new teachers specific to a district or building, and continue to develop the expertise of seasoned professionals, all at their own pace. Professional development is necessary to keep teachers current in an ever-changing educational world.

The Historical Perspective of Professional Development

High-quality professional development is commonly defined by many as having certain characteristics. These characteristics include how and what students may learn, project-based learning opportunities, objectives defined and commonly connected to high standards, the potential for teachers to participate in leadership roles, and the collaboration of teachers in similar schools, departments, and grade-levels. Although lists of characteristics such as these commonly appear in the literature on effective professional development, there is little direct evidence on the extent to which these characteristics are related to better teaching and increased student achievement (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002).

Historically, in education, being a lifelong adult learner has been integral to the teaching profession. Professional development oftentimes must address the needs of the teacher, the student, and even the community. The learning potential in a variety of subjects can be addressed in the professional development arena including budgeting, special needs of students, state and national standards, technology advancements, specific content area learning, classroom management, student motivation, and many other essential elements to teaching in today’s world (Badri & Mohaidat, 2016).

The needs and impacts of individualized professional learning are often difficult to measure, while seemingly evident. Professional development success requires well-planned activities and high levels of engagement in order to be effective (Badri & Mohaidat, 2016).

Targeted and predetermined topics are essential for competent staff development and maximizing learning potential. Technology integration through gamification could assist in pre-planning topics and creating high levels of engagement.

Defining Gamification

Gamification does not require the use of technology; rather, in the beginning, it was a process for collecting points, which has since evolved into a call for social action according to some researchers. Other researchers base the definition on levels of engagement by participants, while still others clarify the difference between game elements and gaming systems (Shpakova, Dörfler, & MacBryde, 2017). However, through technology integration, gamification of everyday activities is readily available to the masses. Examples of gamification outside of education include applications many use daily, such as LinkedIn, which uses a progress bar to encourage completion of a user profile. Additional examples might be a consumer using a FitBit to reach a goal of 10,000 steps, or even the application “WaterMinder”, with users creating water consumption goals. Both applications employ the element of “earning” a badge to achieve user-defined goals. These applications incorporate one of the most common game elements. Game elements can be defined as, and include, badges, leaderboards, time constraints, variety of game styles, and aesthetics (Cheong & Cheong, 2014).

Many companies already reward their employees for demonstrating their knowledge on the job through contests and recognition. Corporations, many times, are encouraged to think outside the box for gamification possibilities. Utilizing a badge system for gaining additional trainings, having employees rate materials, or even receiving additional compensation for participating in advanced training, could be gamification possibilities for educators (Shpakova, Dörfler, & MacBryde, 2017). Researchers Shpakova, Dörfler, and MacBryde (2017) caution that certain criteria should be considered when implementing gamification, including, but not limited to, age, gender, technology experience, and cultural background.

The Educational Perspective of Gamification

Numerous case studies have been conducted on game features being utilized to support formative assessment practices for students. To highlight one such study, the A-GAMES project (Analyzing Games for Assessment in Math, ELA/Social Studies, and Science) was conducted by the University of Michigan and New York University to explore how educators were using games, specifically digital games, to support their teaching and deliver formative assessments to the classrooms. The project was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the Spring of 2014 (Fishman, Riconscente, Snider, Tsai, & Plass, 2015).

In the A-GAMES case studies, several commonalities were found that educators could use to improve student learning. These same findings could be applied to professional development for teachers when gamifying content. The commonalities included: learner engagement through clear feedback, symbolized commonly by points, stars, or badges; dashboards effectively displaying information on the learning processes; screen capture providing leverage for learning and reflection; essential questions offering a path for learning, while review questions provide self-checks; and finally, replayability allowing the learner to progress at their own pace. Other elements evaluated included the ability to unlock levels, complete quizzes, and use of scaffolding graphic organizers (Fishman, et al., 2015).

Using these elements in the classroom for students has been proven to be effective. Therefore, utilizing similar gamification methods could easily be applied to professional learning for educators.

Professional Learning and Gamification

The business world has utilized knowledge management to assess the success of products, marketing, and other forces that drive profits in business. Knowledge management is the ability to disseminate and manage the knowledge of an organization to enhance the organization, making it more efficient and productive. However, knowledge management has not always been successful. Many cited studies have shown the failure of knowledge management for an organization. Nevertheless, the organizations that were able to demonstrate success with knowledge management systems had some type of motivation including the gamification of capturing, sharing, and transferring knowledge among members of the organization. Gamification is not a solution, but rather an enhancement to employee engagement, productivity, and positive behavior (Shpakova, Derfler, & MacBryde, 2017). Therefore, it can be assumed that gamification would be effective in professional development for teachers.

When incorporating gamification into professional learning, what are the essential elements? The three most important aspects for gamification to be effective are understanding who is participating in the gamification of the learning concept (the audience), what you want the participant to do (the objective), and using the appropriate elements of a game to motivate the players to increase their learning (Cheong & Cheong, 2014). The first two elements are equally important in professional learning, while the last element is specific to the gamification model.

There are numerous advantages to utilizing technology in personalized learning. Gamification allows continuous learning to be available for professionals. Teachers do not have to go to a conference or wait to attend a PD day in order to learn new concepts or information. The gamification of professional development can be adaptive. Checks for understanding in games are implemented to determine if the user grasps the concept or strategy before they are allowed to earn a badge or points. This provides instant knowledge of who is understanding the new material and who needs more practice time. Gamification can trigger a personal response by allowing participants to see their progress and move at their own pace. “By definition, a game is assessing a player all the time,” states Barry Fishman, co-author of the 2015 report, “The A-Games Project.” Embedding gamification allows professional learning to keep participants on track and engaged throughout the learning process (Davis, 2015).


It is beneficial to incorporate technology-related professional development when there is joint participation of teachers from the same school, department, or grade level. This is congruent with thoughts about the way teachers learn and implement best practices within their own classrooms. Findings are also consistent with the idea that professional development characterized by “active learning,” where teachers are not passive “recipients” of information, also boosts the impact of professional development activities (Desimone, et al., 2002).

Gamification promotes “active learning” instead of “sitting and getting,” the traditional approach to professional development. This type of learning further supports the idea that teachers benefit from relying on one another while developing technological skills.

The introduction of web-based information technology has presented new opportunities for offering professional development and knowledge online (Berkant, 2016). Attitudes toward the use of technology and computers are predictors of teacher attitudes towards computer-supported education (Celik & Yesilyurt, 2013). Additionally, teachers’ use of technology is affected by their views of technology and beliefs about their capabilities (Teo & Koh, 2010). Education professionals must have positive attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs about technology, as they are expected to use computers effectively in classroom activities. Implementing professional development with gamification would assist in achieving this goal while also providing engagement, choice, and self-paced learning experiences for educators – everything a teacher wants for their own students.

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Gamification - Relatively New Concept in Education. (2019, Feb 18). Retrieved from