I’ve been using the terms gamification and game-based learning (gbl) interchangeably. It wasn’t until the Reform Symposium 4 that Shelly Terrell made a comment that brought to my attention the difference between the two.
Now I’m still new at all this stuff but here’s what my new understanding is regarding gamification and gbl. Gamification is when you take an existing course and add gaming elements to it such as giving experience points (XP) instead of just points, using XP to have students level up instead of using grades, giving badges for topics or content learned, etc. It’s the same course with the same activities, projects, lessons but it is delivered like a video or computer game. Gaming terminology is used as well as gaming techniques and strategies.
Now gbl is using existing games to learn content. For example, using the game called Spore, where the player creates a creature from a single cell and gives different adaptations to make it survive, to teach students about adaptations and evolution in Science.
Pretty simple and yet I never thought of it before. And now that I know there’s a difference between the two not only can I use the terms correctly, I can also say that I have used both strategies with my students. 🙂