What are Games and Gamification?


The culture around digital games is growing to encompass a substantial proportion of the world’s population, with the age of the average gamer increasing every year. The gaming industry is producing a steady stream of games that continue to expand in their nature and impact — they can be artistic, social, and collaborative, with many allowing massive numbers of people from all over the world to participate simultaneously. A 2013 study by the American Psychological Association highlights the cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social impact video games have on human behavior; this significant body of research underlines the overwhelming potential of games to teach new forms of thought and behavior. Studies like these are encouraging the uptake of games into the worlds of commerce, the military, and education, among others. Gamfication — the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios for training and motivational purposes — has added another level of complexity to discussions surrounding the potential of games to transform teaching and learning. Although still in its nascent stages in education, the gamification of learning environments is gaining support among educators who recognize that effectively designed games can stimulate large gains in engagement, productivity, creativity, and authentic learning.

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