Gamified Learning vs Game-Based Learning

Gamified learning and game-based learning are popular instructional strategies in Instructional Designing. Both approaches use game elements to engage learners and motivate them to learn. However, there are some key differences:

Gamified Learning:

In gamified learning experiences, the learning content itself is the central focus, and game elements are utilized to support and enhance the learning process. It aims to make learning more immersive, interactive, and rewarding.

Gamified learning involves incorporating game elements, such as points, rewards, leaderboards, and challenges, into a non-game context (like education or training) to enhance engagement and motivation. Learners make choices, earn points, progress in the game, and potentially receive rewards or recognition for completing different paths successfully.

For example, a gamified learning program for teaching a foreign language might involve a website where learners can complete lessons and earn points for their progress. Learners can also earn badges for completing certain tasks, and they can compete on leaderboards with other learners. The goal of the gamified learning program is to make learning the foreign language more fun and engaging, and to motivate learners to keep practicing.

In most of the ID career, you will be working to create Gamified Learning Experiences.

Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning involves learners interacting with a full-fledged game that is explicitly designed to teach the content. These games have educational objectives and are designed to teach specific skills or concepts while players engage with the game’s mechanics.

Examples include Leadership Simulation – Patient Zero which immerses players in a healthcare scenario, teaching leadership skills through strategic decision-making, Entrepreneurship Simulation – Start-Up, which instills entrepreneurial concepts by simulating real business challenges.

On a rare few occasions, in our ID career, you will be working to create Game-Based Learning Experiences. When you do, reach out to me to share your experiences. I would love to hear from you.

Parting Note

“Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen and “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction” by Karl M. Kapp

Although, both Kapp and Dirksen agree that game-based learning involves using games for educational purposes, while gamification involves integrating game elements into other contexts.

Kapp focuses on the integration of game mechanics with learning outcomes, while Dirksen focuses on the distinction between using games as a medium for learning versus using game-like elements for motivation.

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