Opinion: Gamification devalues learning in the long run

You’re entitled to your opinion - but sometimes it’s also fun or even enlightening to inspire debate. Amanda is kicking off this new Category with her opinion on Gamification. Join in the conversation!

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Gamification devalues learning in the long run. Just sayin!
Points and badges, leaderboards…can lead to short term motivation, but I don’t believe they contribute to long term behavior change.
Not to say all game theory is bad for learning…if you look at some types of games (like World of Warcraft) - they use very different mechanisms to motivate people over the long term. If we’re going to gamify learning - we should aim to gamify this way.


Hi @amanda.difeterici

What a great post! I am in agreement with where gamification belongs in learning. While research continues to improve in this area, gamification can be provide a learning pathway that is often viewed as highly motivational for learners. I’m basically in the camp that it should be offered as optional for learners and not mandated. In higher ed, I’ve seen gamification almost made mandatory and there was push back by learners who didn’t understand the goal or were not typical game minded learners.
It’s so important to know your learners and that could mean using quick surveys to see what types of games and what types of past gaming learning experiences they have had and feel supported by.


The points and use of “badges” has been a challenge for actual micro credentials, I understand the intent but leave them at the Peloton and not for assumed proficiency! Thanks @amanda.difeterici

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Instead of focusing on symbols of status, learning communities or networks should focus on helping users create things for each other that have real value: insights, knowledge, and connection.

While I do believe there is a place for badges in that journey, if the badge is the user’s destination, then I would tend to agree; it will fall short on delivering a meaningful impact from the experience.

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Hi @alton512 ,
I’m noticing your mention of the symbol of the badge indicating a status. Yes, I am in agreement that it certainly does identify a status. On the edge, it is a status, but what if there is meaningful learning that has been associated with a badge, not explicitly for the goal of obtaining a badge but for the associated credential for a successful completion of learning/skill/competency, and maybe more importantly the employer encourages and recognizes this as a positive and authentic credential? Furthermore, does the badging/credential/micro-credential represent or sustain a system of inequality too?

I found a deeper look at some of this here from a reliable resouce.

Creating a Digital Badge Taxonomy to Foster Shared Meaning
Sherri Braxton
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Teaching and Learning

3 min read