Game Based Learning, Gamification and Gaming – What’s the difference?

Recently, gamification and game based learning have come into prominence as some of the key trends of the coming decade as enterprises struggle deal with the problem of trying to keep their employees engaged and more importantly, actively learning.

As a consequence of this, us here at Indusgeeks have noticed that there appears to be a certain lack of clarity about what specific terms mean especially. In this case, let’s examine the common misconceptions that people have regarding games, gamification and game based learning.

Games: Games are, simply put, a form of entertainment which doesn’t necessarily carry any sort of learning objective with it. Or, if it does (for example, in the case of hit games such as Minecraft) the game puts it at a level that’s far more abstract. We shouldn’t dismiss games, though – numerous studies have shown that video games have a number of positive effects on the human mind and that more and more companies are beginning to see the value of employees who enjoy gaming. Us here at Indusgeeks know this all too well!

Game Based Learning: Game based learning has a more driven agenda – it takes learning material to begin with and fashions the content into a more game-like experience, which makes it a lot more palatable for today’s millenial worker than legacy elearning content or a CBT. Through the power of “content transformation”, we perform the same service – we take the source material to be converted from the client and with the help of our art, technical and instructional design teams, transform the content into a fun, immersive game based learning experience that imparts knowledge, while still being fun.

Gamification: To state that gamification is a system of motivating people to learn, would be an over simplification. In reality though, gamification taps into what makes Humans who we are – the competitive spirit – and then redirects that drive into a motivation to learn. Using rewards systems like badges or social systems like leaderboards, gamification systems help boost engagement while also improving user experience.

One key point of note which highlights the difference between gamification and game based learning is that gamification can be likened to a layer on top of an existing solution (and this solution can be anything – from a banking application that the bank would like to see more users take advantage of, or an induction program for a large multinational energy giant). Game based learning, on the other hand, has to be designed to create a specific user experience from the ground up, with specific Learning Objectives in mind.