Gamification » Gamification In Higher Education

10 Best Examples of Gamification in Higher Education in 2024

Updated: February 01, 2024

Higher education can be taxing on students both emotionally, mentally, and financially.

This can lead to burnout, and there are many students every year who drop out of college or continuing education programs because they get discouraged, or they find themselves too stressed to keep going with their studies.

Thankfully, there is increasing awareness about the fatigue that is associated with obtaining an advanced degree, and there are some key strategies that teachers and college program managers can use to make burnout less of a factor for their student body.

Introducing Gamification

Gamification is one of the best ways to make the higher education experience on campus and in the classroom fun and rewarding and to help students avoid burnout. By breaking up tough subject matter into easily-achieved goals and helping to make the process of degree-seeking part of a reward structure, gamification can make the learning process much more rewarding overall.

Higher education gamification

What is Gamification in Higher Education?

Gamification applies strategic game mechanics (points, rewards, leaderboards) to increase engagement and motivate behavior on campus or in the classroom.

Friendly competition, goal-setting, and storytelling can all be used in higher education to make learning more fun and to help make the tough subject matter easier to digest. While the term "gamification" may be new(ish) to you, the mechanisms and principles likely are not. Most notably, video games and modern apps that are meant to train you to be consistent in your efforts to learn or engage with activities, almost always utilize some form of points, levels, rewards, or a combination of all of them to keep you moving from one phase to the next.

In learning,gamification can be used to award achievements for studying, test-taking, engagement with the materials, and more. You can also make it easy for everyone who is in your class to compete in a friendly way with one another with regard to work completion processes. Offering a story that needs to be told through the completion of specific goals can also make learning much more fun.

If you have ever played a story-based game, you know how motivating it can be to complete tasks to find out what happens next. And this storytelling process is even more exciting if you also win little awards for completion.

How to Use Gamification in Higher Education

On campus, you can help incentive students to explore, learn, and interact more by providing small rewards for participating in various activities across campus or for repeated interaction in individual activities.

In the classroom, teachers need to keep things fun to keep boredom from creeping in. Using gamification strategies can significantly help your students to feel engaged and happy about working hard toward their goals. Research even shows that gamification creates dopamine in your brain, which makes learning more pleasurable and enjoyable, as well as rewarding.

Gamifying tough processes can make them much easier to digest and engage with. The training aspect of gamification helps the brain to look at learning as rewarding rather than hard and frustrating, which motivates continued success and engagement in the process.

Examples of Gamification in Higher Education

1. Campus "Bucks"

One of the most basic ways to use gamification for school processes is to award completion of specific tasks with points, tickets, or online “bucks”. Empowering students to get their own chosen awards at an online store or through another process can give them the push they need to reward themselves for hard work and to keep chipping away at learning materials.

2. Reward Daily Habits

When you need to teach things that are fundamentally repetitive, such as math or science concepts, you can use challenges that are actually gamified to make memorization and practice more engaging. Think about your favorite daily habits app or something like Duolingo. The fun game-style practice that these kinds of tools offer can help your students to learn skills with ease.

3. Gamify Studying

Make some of your gamification about building study habits or daily logged-in study time with this tool. You can easily award badges, points, or whatever other kind of prize you think is appropriate just for participation. This makes it easy to encourage engagement, and this is often half the battle with learning the tough subject matter.

4. Friendly Student Competitions

So long as everyone is being supportive and nice about it, competition can be a great motivator for your students. You can easily leverage a leaderboard, team games, and interactive work to help make your students more engaged in the learning process. Rewarding those who participate the most in class can be a big benefit to competitive encouragement, but you need to be careful about being fair in your rewards for this kind of gamification structure.

5. Incentivize Discussion in the Classroom

Think about Reddit and other online forums that offer people badges and “points” for engaging in discussion. This can be a great way to gamify your own teaching and you can give the same rewards to those who take the time to chat on message boards, participate in group study sessions, and more.

The implementation of gamification in higher education

6. Extra Credit Points

Everyone remembers how helpful extra credit was when you were in school, and you were struggling with the subject matter or the completion of a class. You can offer this kind of benefit to your higher education students along with some added gratifying bonuses, such as making the extra credit a team game event or something else that can be done that is fun as well as educational.

7. Use Storyboarding in the  Classroom

If you want to encourage a way to make your tough subject matter more relatable, you can make your entire class structure part of a story arc. You might want to use a story of your own creation, or you can borrow the storytelling benefits of a tool or app to help make your teaching link up with a story that you think will be relevant to your class. Even though this sounds like it might appeal more to young children, adults love storytelling too, and this kind of game process can help cement concepts and encourage engagement with class work.

8. Gamify Tried-and-True Learning Tools

While it might seem like this is an old method that does not work well anymore, flashcards are actually still a really effective means of creating engagement and gamified fun. You will be able to tap into this by-rote learning tool to help with memorization as well. Making the flashcard activity part of a group game session or part of an award-based structure can also help make this tool really useful.

9. Earn as You Learn

There are many ways that you can help your students to earn rewards as they go through class materials. You can make this points-based, or use any other system that you wish, with the understanding that there will be a total sum award that is offered at the end of the class.

10. Incentivize Teamwork

If you have a classroom that is struggling with team effort and with working collaboratively, you can offer added credit or added bonuses for work that is done in teams. This can be self-selected, or it can be part of the normal curriculum, but you can help encourage the engagement of your students in teamwork efforts by rewarding them through games and points, and badges for this choice.

Why Use Gamification in Higher Education? Benefits Explained

The benefits of gamification are plentiful. Below are few reasons to consider integrating gamification into your university, college, or campus.

  • Reward-seeking behavior connected to learning
  • Learning feels fun and engaging
  • Sets education habits that are positive and committed
  • Creates earn-as-you-go motivation to keep going through tough subject matter
  • Helps offer chances for teamwork opportunities and team support
  • Helps tap into dopamine responses which encourage improved mood and improved performance while learning
  • Keeping teams and students connected with the material on a regular basis
  • Creates a sense of autonomy that helps make learning feel personal and relevant
  • Increases feelings of competence and success

Gamification is highly successful because it is connected with so many parts of the reward structure that makes our brains happy and keeps our focus engaged.

Implement gamification in higher education

Gamification Platforms for Higher Education

There are various tools that you can use to help make it easy to gamify your class and encourage your students to learn more effectively.

These tools can all offer their own unique benefits, and you should look into the various mechanics of each one before you choose the tool that you think is right for your classroom. There is nothing stopping you from using more than one of these cool gamification tools and sites, either. The more that you can make learning fun, the easier it will be for your students to learn your subject matter and retain it into the future.

These are the best gamification platforms that you can access for your higher education needs. As always, make sure that you think about your strategic level goals when considering the best platform for you. 

1. Scavify (Campus Orientation, Student Engagement, Team Building)

Scavify takes the concept of a scavenger hunt to create fun programs to help students become acclimated with campus and subject matter. Using "challenges", points, rewards, leaderboards, and more, Scavify turns your campus into an interactive scavenger hunt. It can also be used for smaller team building activities and events.

2. Arcademics (Fun Games and Quizzes)

This is a great choice if you want to use multiplayer games for education. This is targeted at K-8 students, but you can use Arcademics for side games and quizzes as well as fun activities that keep things fresh and new, even in higher education.

3. Bookwidgets (Interative Exercises and Assignments)

This is a really useful software tool that is made for all levels of education. BookWidgets can be used to create exercises and activities based on premade templates, and you will be able to create a grading system of your own. This is also a great option for virtual learning as this site works really well on all kinds of devices.

4. Brainscape (Flashcards)

Want to use flashcards to cement student learning? This is the right app for that need. You can create any kind of flashcard deck that you want with this app, and you can award your students for using this tool in whatever manner you want. The tool itself is gamified and makes the process of using flashcards fun and interactive.

5. BreakoutEdu (Games and Quizzes)

This cool gamification tool allows you to access core subjects of all kinds through templates and set up reviews, games, quizzes, and more. This is a really fun way to have fun learning, and your teams will be able to solve puzzles, review topics, and use team-building tools as well while they are rewarded for their efforts to keep their knowledge fresh for your class.

System of rewards based on points

Gamification Can Produce Incredible Results for Your Higher Education students.

While college and other higher education can be full of tough testing, hard lessons to work through, and lots of information to cover, there are many ways to make the process of teaching at this level more fun for everyone involved.

Your students will be able to enjoy all kinds of fun games and other teaching tools when you use these gamifying apps, sites, and tools for their benefit. Teaching tough class topics doesn’t have to cause burnout or make your students so fatigued that they skip a class here and there.

Being able to help your students to learn without effort can feel impossible, but gamification can make all the difference when it comes to effective learning tools for higher education. There are so many ways to make even the hardest topics easy to learn and retain. Using the tips and suggestions in this article can help your high education classroom to be full of engaged learners who are having fun each day.

Get Started with Gamification

Scavify is the world's most interactive and trusted gamification app and platform. Contact us today for a demo, free trial, and pricing.


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