Gamification vs. Game-based Learning

Written on

Sep 18, 2021

Gamification and game-based learning (GBL) are used synonymously, but in different ways. These are two different ways to increase the performance and motivation of students.


Gamification is best explained with an example. Everyone who knows Harry Potter also knows the house points that are awarded when students have done something well. And this is exactly the trick to increase performance with motivation.

In everyday life, one also experiences this when collecting points in the supermarket or at the bakery. After buying ten loaves of bread, you get the eleventh for free, or after a certain number of points you get a bonus. All this is gamification, a great marketing trick. With a higher participation, just to always go to the same bakery or to behave better in school, you get points. In this way, customers or even students are encouraged to do more. To get more involved at school or to always go to the same bakery when shopping.

Just as with games, the use of game-typical elements, i.e. points, means that the advantages are used in a different context.

Through gamification, the zeal can be increased and that over a longer period of time. Especially in connection with school or even projects, the motivation for positive action is significantly increased.

Gamification therefore uses points, badges, competitions and successes for the boost in motivation.

Game-based Learning (GBL)

Game-based learning uses games to increase learning success. Here, motivation is also targeted. In addition, there is the fun of learning. The advantages of GBL are very diverse.

A great example of this is Minecraft. When constructing buildings, students are engaged in such a way that they discuss the difficulties that might be ahead, they engage in making tools, mining new resources, and set new goals for themselves. Experimenting, thinking, puzzling, exploring hells, creating a rail system and discovering new things. Through these many possibilities, an amazing creativity is released, which would not be possible in this way. Especially with Minecraft, game-based learning gains new dimensions. The joy of learning is almost unparalleled here.

Minecraft was not only used for playing, but also as an assessment tool for learning. Teachers learn from students how they can better grasp new facts and learn best.

Depending on the game, of course, different concepts for learning emerge here. In the case of Minecraft, creativity, spatial thinking and, for example, working together with other players are promoted.

Whether game-based learning or gamification, both have many advantages and will continue to develop. Gameplay and the intertwining of learning is a great effect, especially in this day and age, to encourage learning and increase motivation for action.