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Your brain on games


Before I tell you all the benefits of gamification let us quickly define what it is. Gamification of education is increasing learner’s motivation and engagement by incorporating game design elements like badges, points, and leaderboards. Besides that, gamification is also known to build customer loyalty and increase engagement.

First of all

I am sure you have heard many times the saying “It’s all in your head”. Well, it turns out that this is the main science behind gamification. With fast information from smartphones and fast-food for our bellies, levels of dopamine in some individuals might be remarkably high. This means that even achieving ordinary task could be hard. Gamification works because, every time our brain achieves something, you get that good feeling, and that good feeling is called dopamine. It also works when your brain thinks you are about to achieve something good, thus finishing simple task repetitively might end up in spiking your dopamine levels. Wranx blog says that: “by providing rewards or fun into every task, the individual is more likely to finish that task in much more efficient and successful way.”

Efficient and successful (because it is easier to finish)

Gamification has measurable blocks of lessons that help with cognitive overload by breaking the task into smaller blocks. Since the lessons are short and “doable” you are more likely to enjoy them and finish them in much shorter time. And after finishing you get a reward in the form of a trophy or a certificate. People on their own are awfully bad at estimating the right workload, either they set too high or too low goals, gamification is pre-set and therefore you skip this part. Skipping the scheduling saves your time.

But besides providing the structure because gamification really works is motivation. Although we cannot exactly say why you might be motivated because “different people are motivated by different things” but here are the main three types of motivation in gamification:

three types of personality

Motivation in gamification might also be explained by Dan Pinks book called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us where he states that there are two specific types: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation is driven by external forces such as money or praise. Intrinsic motivation is something that comes from within and can be as simple as the joy one feels after accomplishing a challenging task.

In gamification both of these are combined. You not only get a good feeling after finishing each individual segment, but you also collect the virtual reward at the end.

Not only it saves time, but you remember more (and the chemicals that re behind it)

Dopamine is not the only chemical that is being released during gameplay, there are a bunch of other chemicals and hormones that make our brain remember more of what we are learning.

  1. Serotonin: If you have enough serotonin, chances are your mood is particularly good and vice versa. One of the things that trigger serotonin is remembering past success. Trophies and badges are therefore helping with release of serotonin.
  2. Endorphins and neurotransmitters: endorphins act as a body’s painkiller and a result of playing a good game might end up triggering their release. They are also responsible for creating a sense of euphoria, lower stress, and anxiety levels. Combined with neurotransmitters, endorphins create amazing ground for focused learning.
  3. Cortisol: cortisol is a stress hormone and the results of a Texas A&M International University study suggest that games reduce depression by releasing cortisol.

So, the conclusion is: through gamification of your learning courses, you can help your clients with pre-structuring the content into bite-sized lessons, so you prevent cognitive overload and save them a lot of time. Then you motivate them the right way, make them less stressed and remember more. All the links that were used while writing this article could be found below.

We have this infographic for you as a bonus: 10 statistics on the use of gamification in e-learning. (Source)

gamification in Education
Henrieta Kozová

Henrieta Kozová


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