Gamified & Game-based Learning

The success of games in engaging and motivating the players, from the digital ones we play on our phones to the analog ones we play on the table, has gained more attention in Higher Education on how to adopt the same elements for pedagogical use in designing and delivering face-to-face and online courses to promote and sustain higher engagement and motivation in learning. The two most common strategies in introducing games in your courses are gamification and game-based learning.

Gamification can be defined as integrating game elements, such as point systems, badges or leader-boards into your existing teaching & learning activities in order to boost your students' engagement and motivation, without needing to design a full-stack game from scratch. One of the most popular usages of this strategy is creating a point system to reward students' desired demonstrable behavior and visualizing their learning progress on an online platform. Depending on your students' learning needs and preferences, you can consider introducing one or multiple gaming elements at the same time with the growing aid of digital platforms to 'gamify' your courses, such as 'Kahoot!' to make your end-of-session assessments much more engaging.

Game-based learning, on the other hand, usually refers to designing and delivering online or offline game experiences embedded with your courses' learning outcomes; in other words, students learn in the process of playing the games. Unlike gamification, this requires a more comprehensive adoption of game elements, design and execution - from character development to plot writing, and from level distribution to feedback system; you can either consider directly adopting the existing games, like '2030 SDG Game' a card game to teach sustainability, or developing a new game yourself, like 'Playconomics' a video game to teach 'microeconomics at UNSW'. If you decide to create an immersive learning experience, more than adding game elements to engage your students with the existing content or activities, this strategy is a better option.

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