What and why

It’s a way to spice up your learning design using gaming elements with a purpose.

It allows learners to explore a concept or acquire knowledge while playing – that is, playing by the rules that you set as part of your instructional design. These rules will determine how the learning objectives are met. Think of it as a different way to package your ‘immediate feedback’: correct action = reward, wrong action = penalty.


Ideally you’d want to draft the concept right after you’ve identified what’s needed for the learning, the type of material you’re dealing with and what you want to achieve. This usually happens towards the end of you writing the first draft Learning Design Report, when you’ve had a solid structure and are starting to flesh out the interactivity.


This will be a collaborative effort between you and the Subject Matter Expert, and some inspiration from existing games out there.


  1. Map out your learning structure.
  2. Ask question 1: Is a game suitable for what you want to achieve? Remember that gamification isn’t always about a full-blown Candy Crush Saga type of module. You can always take one or two learning objectives to be part of the game to do it on a small scale.
  3. Once you’ve determined a game would be suitable, ask question 2: What sort of game would it be? How do you win? E.g. time-based, treasure hunt, sorting, etc. This will help drive the rest of the design – and if you can’t work out how to win then maybe a game is not the way to go.
  4. Ask question 3: What are the rules? You can always incorporate small gaming elements to make learning ‘fresh’ e.g. you can present positive feedback as rewards, such as earning stars when you answer questions correctly, and once you’ve collected enough stars you can ‘unlock’ the next topic or level. Or it can be increased score or bonus in real time. Penalties can include minus points or other elements that make the learner repeat what they haven’t done correctly.
  5. Ask question 4: Are the learning objective/s met at the end of the game?
  6. Recheck the effort required – ask question 5: How much illustration or programming will be needed? Is it still going to be within budget?


Happy creating!


Written by: Anglia Marjadi

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