The application of game design elements and game principles in non-game contexts is called Gamification. It uses various aspects of game design elements to increase user engagement and motivation to learn. Gamification has been a center of attention in the education industry for a long time now.

Gamification has revolutionized how education was supposed to be. It has shown that learning can be fun and engaging as opposed to being drab and boring. This has made gamified content quite popular among learners and educators alike.


Even before gamification was a popular concept, various elements from videogames were used in other fields like education and scientific visualization.

Nick Pelling coined the term ‘gamification’ in 2002. The first time it appeared in the context of computer software was in 2008, but it didn’t gain popularity until 2010.

The earlier work on adapting game design elements and techniques in non-game contexts is closely related to gamification by many researchers. Some examples of these were Sebastian Deterding’s research on human-computer interaction, which used game-derived elements for motivation and interface design, the Soviet concept of socialist competition, and the American idea of “fun at work.”

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- Badges and Timers – for friendly competition.

- Interactive challenges & scenarios – for real-world application.

- Points & rewards – to motivate and track progress.

Gamified Learning

Mathias Fuchs pointed out that new forms of ludic interfaces may be the reason for gamification’s popularity. When Will Wright, designer of the 1989 videogame SimCity, was invited as a keynote speaker at the gamification conference Gsummit 2013, it became apparent that gamification conferences were also retroactively incorporating simulation.

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Uses of Gamification

Many different factors come together to provide an engaging and gamified experience. These include points, levels, different challenges, leaderboards, and badges. These encourage the learner to actively participate in the rewards, competition, status, or just simple pride amongst peers.

The end goal of gamification is to drive a user-desired behavior predictably. Gabe Zichermann, the co-author of “Gamification by Design,” states that Gamification is 75% psychology and only 25% of technology.

Prof. B.J Fogg developed a behavior change model, an experimental psychologist at Stanford University. He said that three elements should be activated simultaneously for a behavior to happen; motivation, ability, and trigger.

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A gamified system must:

  • Motivate users to perform an action.
  • Give users the ability to complete the action.
  • A trigger that will start the action.

The most important part of the gamification process is timing. If all the pieces don’t fit together perfectly, the player will lose interest or become frustrated with the experience.

Gamification makes learning fun and engaging for the learners. Hence the eLearning courses that include game elements have proven to be more effective than the standard eLearning courses.

Given below are some of the gamification principles that you can incorporate into your eLearning courses:


The eLearning course should reward learners with virtual goods like points that they will feel optimistic about receiving. The rewards could be given after they have completed specific actions like finishing a task. The points should act as a key to exclusive privileges and rewards like more levels or better prizes.

Status, competition, and reputation:

Humans are inherently competitive. That is why leaderboards are a good idea to motivate people. Making achievements socially visible makes people more incentivized to work even harder.

Avoiding Losses:

Avoiding losses is much more important to people than acquiring gains. Giving people something at the start they can lose is a great motivational strategy for people to continue forward.


Feedback is like an instant reward system. It indicates that the learner is one more step closer to the goal. Continually doing small tasks to reach an end goal is what makes the games addictive.

Benefits of Gamification

Aids in Cognitive development:

Using gamified eLearning aids in cognitive development by increasing the brain’s activity that allows adequate development. Brain games are developed specifically for enhancing cognitive development. They are based on various questions and problems which the learner has to solve. It has been found that brain games can improve brain processes and maintain information.

Increases motivation:

The more motivated we are, the more productive we become. Gamification uses goals, points, leaderboards, achievements, and reward systems to motivate employees to work harder.  Incorporating game dynamics into the work environment will help increase employees’ skills, which will lead to an increase in productivity.

Increases retention level:

It has been seen that any activity is done in a fun way results in higher retention levels. Hence, the eLearning courses that use gamification in training have higher retention levels of the learners’ concepts.

Encourages creativity and problem-solving skills:

Gamified eLearning courses have resulted in increased creativity levels in the employees. They also learn to develop new perspectives and come up with new creative ideas to solve problems.

Increased engagement level:

A recent study performed to measure engagement level when using gamification found out that a game-like atmosphere was favorable in a classroom environment and drastically increased productivity. The scientists assigned a point system to various daily class activities. Then the students were measured on their engagement level, which showed a high level of engagement in the students. Similar results are also seen in the eLearning courses using gamification.


Gamification is one of the most used tools in our daily life. Gamification can boost your business results by incorporating it into your training and using it to motivate your employees and increase their retention rate. Gamification can quickly transform a once dull routine into a fun and engaging experience.

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