The new article ‘THE JOY AND BENEFITS OF GAMIFICATION IN LEARNING’ defines the concept of gamification, sheds light on the benefits of gamification and playfulness in learning, and creates an overview of the survey conducted in the background of the BIG GAME project on what makes gaming an enjoyable way to learn.
FotografiaGamification in learning refers to using game mechanics and reward models adapted from games in the context of learning. Another concept closely related to gamification in learning is playfulness, as it challenges the unambiguous notion of what a game is and pays more attention to play as an attitude and state of mind. The aspect of playfulness is particularly important in learning because playfulness as an activity is seen as a key means of sustaining the motivation of target groups, for example, in learning and assimilating new content and in pursuing professional development.
Over 60 years of university research on game-based learning has shown that even the most critical research indicates that there are many positive aspects to learning. The concept of gamification in learning incorporates and exploits the familiar characteristics of games, such as arousing enthusiasm, fun, sociality and rewarding achievement of goals. Other benefits of games for learning include:
  • Wide applicability -> Games can be used to teach the content of almost any subject, theme or learning unit.
  • Variety and immersion -> Games offer diverse environments and immersive learning experiences. They can be used, for example, as a training environment, as a basis for discussion, or to anchor what has already been learned.
  • Effectiveness as a learning tool -> Studies show that games are effective as a teaching tool. However, it has not been possible to prove the exact reason for this.
  • Enjoyment and motivation -> For many, games offer a more enjoyable way to learn than traditional schooling. Games motivate learning, especially for those who find it difficult to concentrate on traditional schooling; on the other hand, however, they may not be well suited to the hard-working learner.
Why students enjoy learning through games - what did the BIG GAME survey said?

Our BIG GAME project (THE BIG GAME: Immersive and Multidisciplinary STEM Learning through A Cooperative Story-Driven Digital Game; Erasmus+) conducted a 20-question English-language student survey focusing on students' experiences and preferences in relation to games (for more information, see The online questionnaire was sent to teachers in our project partner schools, who distributed it to their students. The questionnaire generated 251 responses, of which 175 (69.7%) came as expected from two Romanian schools with a significantly higher number of students than the other partner countries (see response statistics: Players were first asked why they enjoyed playing the game.
The options were:
1) Overcoming challenges and getting into the game,
2) Competing against other players,
3) Experimenting and discovering new things,
4) Character creation and development, and 5) Immersing oneself in the story of the game.
The results showed that over 50% of respondents identified mastery and competition as key elements of enjoying the game, suggesting that it is desirable to have elements of competition and progression in the game.

Fiadotau, M., Tramonti, M., Brander, H., Callaghan, P. (2022). BIG GAME: Balancing Player Preferences and Design Considerations in a Serious Game About Environmental Issues, in Kiili, K., Antti, K., de Rosa, F., Dindar, M., Kickmeier-Rust, M., Bellotti, F. (eds) Games and Learning Alliance. GALA 2022 Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13647. Springer, Cham.

Harviainen, T.  PELIT LEETUSVÄLENEN - TEORIA JA TUTKIMUSTA - luku 10 in Pelikasvattajan käsikirja, p.65 (Games as tools for learning - Theory and research)

Kalmi, P. Eronen, S. & Jaskari, M-M. 2020. Universities are interested in gamification - experiences from the University of Vaasa Yliopopedagogiikka 1/2020.