Gamification vs Game-based Learning

September 19, 2018 | 2 Min Read

Get started by watching our on-demand webinar, Gamification 101 – What It Is and How to Get Started!

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What is Gamification?

Gamification is more than a buzzword. It is a trend that is shaping how content providers connect with users and keep them engaged in the long term. In the world of eLearning, people use game mechanics and game design elements to create a new learning experience adapted to the expectations of today's learners. These game mechanics are typically found in video games to make the whole process fun, engaging and social.

Integrating Gamification into eLearning

Integrating gamification into an entire eLearning experience should have a purpose. One of the goals can be motivating learners to engage with the content and helping them play a more active role instead of passively consuming the content.

To gamify the learning program and provide clear objectives for the learners, you can introduce rewards and collectibles to online learning. For example, give learners the possibility to earn points or badges for successfully completing a module, or create a leaderboard to display achievements.

You can borrow these gamification elements from video games to structure your learning content:

  • Organize learning content into levels so that learners can keep track of their progress and get to the next level.
  • Allow learners set the difficulty of certain elements such as quizzes.
  • Keep things interesting by unlocking more content as learners progress.

Modern video games tend to replace linear progression with open-worlds where the players' choices and actions lead to consequences. This allows learners to take ownership of their learning journey by letting them explore the eLearning platform, choose which content they want to interact with and help other learners via an online community.

What is Game-based Learning?

Game-based learning is often confused with gamification. Game-based learning is about acquiring new knowledge and applying new concepts by playing games.

Some companies develop mobile or desktop-based games for training purposes. These games are typically simulations of situations learners will encounter in the workplace. For instance, a game that requires learners to play through scenarios where they have to choose from different dialogue options to achieve a desired outcome can improve customer relation skills.

Game-based learning can also be applied by designing trivia questions directly related to the job skills. For example, learners have to answer questions correctly to earn points and move on to the next learning module.

Watch a short video about the difference between gamification and game-based learning from Paula Yunker, Managing Partner and Instructional Designer at Limestone Learning:


If you are interested in gamification, Lambda Solutions has a series of webinars to help you explore this topic and design a unique digital learning experience to keep your learners engaged! Get started by watching our on-demand webinar, Gamification 101 – What It Is and How to Get Started: 

Watch Now!

Originally published on September 19, 2018. Last updated on May 13, 2020.

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