The application of game-design elements and gaming principles.

Gamified solutions are action driven. They require the user to make decisions, act, and receive meaningful constructive feedback.

Types of Gamification

Structural Gamification

  • The application of game-elements to propel a learner through content with no alteration or changes to the content itself.
  • The content does not become game-like, only the structure around the content.
  • The primary focus behind structural gamification is to motivate the learner to go through the content and to engage them in the process of learning through rewards. For example, gaining points for completing an assignment.
  • Common elements in this type of gamification are PBLs (points, badges, leaderboards), achievements, and levels.
  • Structural gamification generally has methods of tracking learning progress.
  • Structural gamification also often has a social component where learners can share accomplishments and achievements with other learners.
  • Although it is possible to add elements of story, characters, and other game elements to structural gamification the content does not change to become game-like.
  • This type of gamification provides external motivation to complete the content.

Content Gamification

  • The application of game elements and game thinking to alter or modify content to make it more game-like. For example, adding story elements to a course, or starting a course with a challenge instead of a list of objectives, adding quests or levels. Adding these elements makes the content more game-like but doesn’t turn the content into a game.
  • Content gamification provides context or activities which are used within games and adds them to the content being taught.
  • There’s no definite gameplay (see below), though the course itself feels like a game.

(Karl Kapp)

Game-based assessments

Game-based assessment are a more engaging way to assess learning, using mini-games, branching scenarios, and simulations.


Gameplay introduces new elements: a start and an end with a clear result of a win or lose state.

Note: Not all games are competitive. In fact, the best game implementations for learning are collaborative, since that is more likely a desired behaviour at work.
While gamification feels more like a process that is gameful, gameplay is an event with a distinct start and end.

(Nicole Lazzaro)

The MDA game design framework

In game design the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework is a tool used to analyse games. It formalizes the consumption of games by breaking them down into three components – Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics. The MDA framework provides precise definitions for these terms and seeks to explain how they relate to each other and influence the player’s experience.


  • Game Mechanics are the base components of the game -the game rules, elements, and agents, and their relationships in the game. Every basic action the player can take in the game, the algorithms and data structures in the game engine etc.
  • Game Dynamics are the behaviours that arise from the gameplay. How player interact with the mechanics and the strategies employed. The mechanics acting on player input and interacting with other mechanics.
  • Aesthetics are the emotional responses evoked in the player.

Gamified Knowledge Check Examples

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World Cup Challenge

Space Invaders


Spin the Wheel

Question Cards

Mini Game Examples

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Matching Pairs

Find the Answer

Word Puzzle


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