The University of Arizona

Gamification: The effect on student motivation and performance at the post-secondary level

Meaghan C. Lister


Computer games are increasingly part of the daily activities of Canadian students of all ages, and have been shown to support student motivation and learning however can be challenging to implement in the classroom.  Gamification involves incorporating elements of computer games such as points, leaderboards, and badges into non-game contexts in order to take advantage of the motivation provided by a game environment. An analysis of the literature was conducted to determine to what extent gamification supports student achievement and motivation among college level students. The findings from the analysis revealed that points, badges and achievements, leaderboards and levels are the most commonly implemented form of gamification. Incorporating gamification elements into post-secondary environments can motivate students and support student achievement in post-secondary environments. Increased class attendance and participation, which is positively correlated with improved student performance, was seen as a result of gamification. This is significant, as colleges and universities strive to attract, retain, and engage digitally savvy students who are increasingly demanding engaging, technologically rich, learning environments.



Gamification; post-secondary education; motivation; student performance; student achievement; points; leaderboards; badges; game-based learning;

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