Traditional school is perceived to be ineffective and boring by many students while most schools are facing significant problems finding methods to motivate the learners (Lee & Hammer, 2011). On the other hand, the characteristics of the game, electronic or not, provide effective means of enhancing students' motivation, allowing them to experience activities with a high degree of interaction (Squire, 2005).
The term gamification is commonly used to describe the process of importing game mechanisms into situations that were not originally intended for a game (Sahin, Karadag, Bozkurt, Dogan, Kilinic, Ugur, Gumus & Guler, 2017). In contrast to gaming-based learning, which is essentially the incorporation of video games in the classroom, whether designed for educational purposes, the so-called serious games, or commercial games with an educational value (Squire, 2005), the gamification process does not aim to design a whole new game but rather to use the mechanisms that bind it so as to encourage and reward behaviors that promote learning and good social interactions (Fu Rude, I., Tomozei, C., & Köse, 2017; Yuan, 2017). Gamification can be found in a variety of fields, from organizations and companies to schools, but the concept is thriving in applications that are designed to operate on the Internet (Sanchez, Young & Jouneau-Sion, Caroline, 2017).
Gamification allows teachers to put learners as active participants in the educational process through the enhancement of interest they demonstrate, ultimately leading to increased engagement with the subject (Kapp, 2012; Furdu, I., Tomozei, C., & Köse, 2017). Regarding the motivation of people in engaging in an activity, it plays a crucial role since it contributes to the achievement of learning and preservation of knowledge over time (Sahin et.al, 2017). A study by Turan, Avinc, Kara, and Goktas (2016) advocates this view, highlighting the element of improved performance in learning objectives in a team that used game elements, compared to a group taught in the traditional way of teaching.
The typical features of a game based learning environment include the use of video game devices such as missions, levels, badges, point system, leaderboards, avatars, virtual goods and progress bars (Deterding , Sicart, Nacke, O'Hara & Dixon, 2011; Yuan, 2017). Missions, as well as the levels that are the basic features of games, link the theory to practice and provide students a picture of their skill, allowing them to move to higher levels after they have first mastered the previous ones (Stott & Neustaedter, 2013). What is important is the existence of mechanisms that promote competition, as competition with other participants influences the way experience is experienced in a game system, reinforcing the motivation to engage through the element of challenge (Griffiths, 2002; Glover , 2013). Besides, it should not be forgotten that for the successful assimilation of information and knowledge, motivation is a key factor, since without its existence, learning may face serious problems (Gee, 2003). According to a survey of (Sahin et al., 2017), the existence of leaderboards led the participants to wish to participate more in the game, as it enhanced the sense of competition, simultaneously leading them to a continuous effort to rise to a higher position in the board. The virtual prizes are also useful as they support user’s motives, feedback and reflection as they provide a picture of its level, thus strengthen self-regulating learning (Glover, 2013; Yuan, 2017). Finally, progress bars are in addition to feedback a guidance to the user about what needs to be done to achieve improvement and progress (Glover, 2013).
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Stott, A. & Neustaedter, C.(2013). Analysis of Gamification in Education. (Technical Report 2013- 0422-01) (p. 8). Surrey, BC, Canada: Connections Lab, Simon Fraser University. Ανακτήθηκε Νοέμβριος 9, 2017 από http://clab.iat.sfu.ca/pubs/Stott-Gamification.pdf
Yuan, A. C. H. (2017). A Critique and Defense of Gamification. Journal Of Interactive Online Learning, 15(1), 57-72.