Gamification in distance learning

Gamification is a term being used to describe the integration of game elements, in some form, into course design.   The elements of gamification listed below, may increase the distance learners’ motivation by making learning more interesting and encourage them to be more engaged in the content:

  1. Progress bar to indicate completion of tasks.
  2. Learning achievements recognised by issuing and displaying digital badges.
  3. Activities can be repeated until successfully completed.
  4. Challenges and interactive activities to enhance learning.
  5. Interaction between students via social features to build a community.
  6. Storytelling (realistic scenario-based learning, e.g. one or more goal-based scenarios) to develop a defined set of skills.
  7. Progress of individual students is monitored continuously and frequent feedback is given to enable the use of targeted intervention strategies (both automated and manual).

Below is an illustration of the use of some gamification elements in a distance learning course.


The gamification elements’ positive influence on the learning experience can help drive behaviour change and knowledge acquisition, thus the distance learners would be less likely to drop out of the course.


N.McGrath and L.Bayerlein (2013). Engaging online students through the gamification of learning materials: The present and the future. 30th ascilite Conference 2013 Proceedings, Macquarie University, Sydney.

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