Gamification as a learning tool

Rui Pedro Lopes


Higher Education Institutions have the missions of education, at a high level, research and cooperation. Regarding education, HEI must create an appropriate environment for learning, towards high-level academic performance. Students must be motivated to use the learning strategies in and out of the classes, to be able to make the best result of the learning effort. People is motivated according to several factors, such as external in nature (earn more money, gain social status, have a higher grade, …) or internal (intrinsic), which results from the core self. The latter is associated to the satisfaction people feel when doing something appealing. This paper describes the approach to applying gamification to a higher education subject in the course of computer science. It uses several game design mechanisms, such as adaptive challenges, rewards, curiosity and chance to increase the time students spend working, experiencing and learning in a HEI. The sections in the curriculum are transformed into levels, awarding stars for increasingly complex achievements. There is also the concept of soft currency, which is used to increase the student autonomy and incentive the work load. Some games are also used as learning experiences, allowing collective knowledge building in the preparation and also playing the games.


Palabras clave

Higher Education; Intrinsic motivation; Educational Games; Gamification

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. E. (2011). From Game Design Elements to Gamefulness: Defining “Gamification.” In MindTrek’11. Tampere, Finland: ACM. Retrieved from

Deterding, S., Sicart, M., Nacke, L., O’Hara, K., & Dixon, D. (2011). Gamification. using game-design elements in non-gaming contexts. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2425–2428). New York, New York, USA:ACM Press. Retrieved from

Dewey, J. (2007). How We Think (p. 108). Retrieved from

Jakobsson, M., & Sotamaa, O. (2011). Special Issue - Game Reward Systems. Game Studies, 11(1), n.p. Retrieved from

Kyvik, S., & Lepori, B. (2010). The research mission of higher education institutions outside the university sector. (S. Kyvik & B. Lepori, Eds.) (Vol. 31). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9244-2

Lindqvist, J., Cranshaw, J., Wiese, J., Hong, J., & Zimmerman, J. (2011). I’m the Mayor of My House: Examining Why People Use foursquare - a Social-Driven Location Sharing Application. In CHI ’11 Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (Vol. 54, pp. 2409–2418). New York: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1978942.1979295

Linehan, C., Kirman, B., Lawson, S., & Chan, G. (2011). Practical, appropriate, empirically-validated guidelines for designing educational games. Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI ’11 (p. 1979). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1978942.1979229

Malone, T. W. (1980). What makes things fun to learn? heuristics for designing instructional computer games. In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM SIGSMALL symposium and the first SIGPC symposium on Small systems - SIGSMALL ’80 (pp. 162–169). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/800088.802839

Pintrich, P., Marx, R., & Boyle, R. (1993). Beyond cold conceptual change: The role of motivational beliefs and classroom contextual factors in the process of conceptual change. Review of Educational Research, 63(2), 167–199. Retrieved from

Pintrich, P. R. (2003). A Motivational Science Perspective on the Role of Student Motivation in Learning and Teaching Contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 667–686. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.95.4.667

Pintrich, P. R., & de Groot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(1), 33–40. doi:10.1037//0022-0663.82.1.33

Weber, B. J., & Chapman, G. B. (2005). Playing for peanuts: Why is risk seeking more common for low-stakes gambles? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97(1), 31–46. Retrieved from

Zicbermann, G., & Cunningham, C. (2011). Gamification by Design. Oreilly & Associates Inc. Retrieved from

DOI: Statistics: Resumen : 1012 views. PDF (English) : 305 views.  

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Copyright (c) 2014 Rui Pedro Lopes

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.

"International Journal of Developmental and Educational Psychology."

Revista Infad de Psicología.

ISSN digital: 2603-5987

ISSN impreso: 0214-9877