By no means are the concepts of game and gamification universally accepted as valid learning strategies, so we have some work to do in terms of educating more learning and development professionals of the value of these tools.”- Karl Kapp

The above quote is from Karl Kapp’s interview with Learnnovators that attempts to gaze into the future of e-learning.


After our inspiring and thought-provoking interview with Karl Kapp, we were left wondering about the amazing possibilities of gamification and game-based learning. In addition, this also made us think about the other areas of our lives where gamification and game mechanics are making an impact. We set out on a journey to explore and see how the community and the industry are presently perceiving and practicing these methodologies in learning as well as in other situations.

Below are the questions that we had in mind when we embarked on our journey:

  • Where are we on gamification and game-based learning?
  • What are some of the interesting use cases on these methodologies?
  • What are some areas, other than learning, where gamification is practiced? What are some of the interesting use cases in this regard?
  • What are the tools available for incorporating gamification in our business areas?
  • What are some of the useful resources available on the different aspects of gamification?


Here are some of the wonderful resources (from a big list we examined in this exploratory journey) that we would like to share here…


What is the present state of gamification? What is the future? Here are some amazing insights (in the form of excerpts from some of the authoritative survey findings that we reviewed):

  • Although the term ‘gamification’ was coined by Nick Pelling back in 2002, it didn’t gain popularity till 2010.” – Andrzej Marczewski
  • By 2014, more than 70% of global 2000 organizations will have at least one ‘gamified’ application.” – Gartner
  • Gamification increases participation in online communities, with an average of 13 percent more comments, 22 percent more sharing on Twitter and Facebook and 68 percent more content discovery.” – Gigya Survey
  • Serious game mechanics will be embedded in daily life by 2020.” – Pew Research
  • By 2014, 80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives primarily due to poor design.” – Gartner

Case Studies

What are some of the success stories of organizations who are using gamification to drive business results? Here are some interesting case studies:

  • Decoded Jay-Z: One of the most interesting gamified marketing experiences in the history. For the release of Rapper Jay-Z’s memoir ‘Decoded’, a scavenger hunt style campaign was organized (by Bing). As part of this event, 300 hidden pages of his book were positioned in 600 placements in 15 worldwide and web locations. The challenge was to have players find and assemble the book online before its release date. Here is the link to a short video on this wonderful event.
  • The Fun Theory: Gamification can be used as an effective method to change people’s behaviors (personal, environment, etc) and make healthier choices, which could be challenging otherwise. Here is an interesting video (from ‘The fun theory’ – an initiative of Volkswagen) on the use of gaming to help increase respect for speed limits.
  • Adobe: This is an interesting case study on how Adobe used gamification to convert free trial downloads into satisfied customers.
  • Ford: Here is an inspiring story on how the Ford Motor Company of Canada utilized gamification to shift sales, parts and service teams into high gear.
  • Samsung: This is an interesting story of how Badgeville (gamification platform) helped build Samsung Nation – Samsung’s online community designed to encourage its web site visitors to interact with their content. Samsung saw a 500% increase in customers’ product reviews after introducing Samsung Nation.

Gamification Solutions

There are many companies that provide the tools and consulting services required to help clients integrate gamification into their business activities. These solutions include social media tools, points, badges, and leaderboards to help drive ‘user’ engagement. Please note that ‘user’ here could include website visitors, employees, partners, or customers that you want to motivate or engage. Here are some the key players in this field:


Here are some additional resources that we found on our journey:


  • The Gamification of Education Infographic: A valuable infographic that discusses how we can use gamification to deliver truly meaningful experiences to students. It also includes a short history of gamified-learning.
  • The Business of Gamification Infographic: An interesting infographic from Demand Metric on gamification and how it works. The infographic also includes brief points on how some companies have benefitted through gamification.

TEDx Talks




  • Foldit – an interesting puzzle game that helped make a major breakthrough in AIDS research in just 10 days (that scientists couldn’t solve for 15 years)! Check out a video HERE.
  • Elevation of Privilege – a card game developed at Microsoft to help developers learn threat modeling (security vulnerability analysis) in a gameful way.
  • Recyclebank – an interesting project that was created to encourage people to recycle more and reduce landfill trash. Check out a video HERE.
  • FreeRice – a quiz game that will help you fight hunger worldwide. This game gains significance in our world where millions of children die from starvation every year. Check out a video HERE.


  • Gamification – A 10 weeks long free massive open online course (MOOC) from Coursera on the mechanisms of gamification and its effective use.


The Gamification of Learning and Instruction – one of the best reads on this subject authored by Karl Kapp. This book is available at the Amazon bookstore.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Theory into Practice – a new book from Karl Kapp with step-by-step examination of the way to craft a game, gamification experience or simulation. The book is filled with case studies, worksheets and examples of what needs to be done to carefully craft immersive learning experiences.


As we came to end of our search, we had the following learnings as ‘take-aways’ from this little journey:

  • Gamification is still in its infancy. And, though there is some amount of hype surrounding gamification, it will evolve dramatically in future.
  • We foresee a tighter integration of gamification with tools, devices, systems, and social media platforms. It will also amalgamate further with the power of other emerging technologies such as Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), providing us with more powerful gamified experiences.
  • We are going to see the evolution of exciting strategies for gamification and GBL in this multi-screen world, where the gaming elements complement each other across devices around us.
  • Learning Designers need to up-skill themselves to successfully apply gamification in learning. As Karl Kapp said, what it requires is ‘thinking like a game developer’.
  • Gamification will be leveraged by most business applications for better ROI. It will transform more areas of our lives, including our jobs. It could even drive the cultural behaviors of the gamified age of future!
  • However, we do not wish to see a future where all aspects of our lives are gamified, forcing us into a competition for each and every move that we make!

What are your thoughts and ideas on gamification in learning and other areas? What are some of the interesting experiences that you would like to share?


Written by Santhosh Kumar


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