Gamification in eLearning

Neha Uddin
Boy sits in front of the computer, playing an educational game | Gamification in eLearning

Gamification is the practice of implementing gameplay elements to make learning, especially online learning, more engaging and effective. The gamification in the eLearning market is expected to grow from $9.1 billion to approximately $30.7 billion by 2025 according to MarketsandMarkets.  

Successful gamification needs to have three basic principles: autonomy, value, and competence. 

  • Autonomy: Students take control of their learning helping them stay engaged
  • Value: Games help students memorize and learn skills
  • Competence: Students practice and see the value of persistence 
Gamification Enhances Engagement

Students benefit from being rewarded for their efforts, and gamified learning makes acknowledging a learner’s efforts simple and tangible. According to a Taylor and Francis Online Journal report, almost 70% of students found gamified courses more motivating than traditional ones. This is because gamification: 

  • Encourages learners to progress through content 
  • Encourages friendly competition
  • Provides a sense of accomplishment
  • Provides an engaging experience resulting in behavior change
Better Learning Experiences 

Gamification encourages students to play an active role in their learning by providing content interaction opportunities. Rather than passively retaining information, students can test their knowledge by applying what they learn. For example, students can solve various puzzles based on content and advance to higher levels. 

A good gamification strategy leads to increased recall and retention. It also provides an effective learning environment enabling students to work through simulated situations and challenges.

Continuous Learning  

The competitive element of gamification stimulates users to beat scores and level up. If users feel they can score higher, they are more likely to revisit a module and retain information. Games provide instant feedback, so learners are aware of what they know, don’t know, and how to proceed accordingly. 

Behavioral Change

There are two types of motivations at play in gamification: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is derived from rewards and depends on incentives. Without rewards, the behavior might wane. Users are motivated when their behavior is rewarded, fostering behavioral change when combined with retrieval and repetition. Extrinsic gameplays have clear goals players must achieve to complete the game.   

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from interest and enjoyment. This means ensuring the activity is fun. Examples of intrinsic gameplay design are simulation games, such as River City, a science-based game.


Gamification helps learners remain engaged and get through more content in less time. Instead of spending hours going through lengthy texts, learners could take part in 10-minute quizzes. 

Social Learning

Social learning, or social pedagogy, is more comprehensive than individual learning. Friendly competition and collaboration enable new connections between peers. Educational Psychology Review states that learners respond positively to mild social pressure when competing with peers.

Performance Data 

Teachers and administrators can leverage gamification in eLearning to gain insights and track student performance to determine topics or concepts students need help with. This informs future learning material and identifies where modules need improvement. 

Gamification in eLearning Best Practices

Gamified learning is about making learning engaging, educational, and motivational by incorporating the following: 


Games with compelling storylines captivate learners. A story that immerses players in a plot helps them tackle content. Incorporating characters or avatars adds an extra layer of fun!

Visual Design

Visual elements make or break the appeal of gamification, from eye-catching visuals to aesthetically pleasing game-play designs. A combination of bright colors and graphics makes the learning experience stimulating. 


A game design that allows players to compete against another (or themselves) maintains motivation. Games can include leaderboards so learners can see how they’re performing compared to their peers, encouraging enthusiasm and participation.


Gamification enables instant feedback when a learner completes a task or quiz helping them identify learning gaps and take action quickly. This keeps students focused and helps them track progress.

Furthermore, you can also read about how to increase engagement in online learning by checking our previous blog: How to Increase Engagement in Online

Gamification, especially gamification in eLearning, helps students reach learning goals efficiently compared to traditional approaches. Leveraging gameplay elements foster the creation of high-quality eLearning content while motivating students to take control of their learning and enjoy doing so.