When you build a gamified classroom you need to develop two sides of the same coin. The problem with it is that it requires two almost opposite ways of thinking.

On one side you need to think as an educator and on the other as a gamification designer.

We will not address the curriculum design on this article, but we will address the gamification design. If I try to write down all the concepts of gamification here it would require one thousand posts and it’s not worthy.

However, in my experience there are three things you need to consider when gamifying your classroom.

  1. The system
  2. The feedback
  3. The story

The System

The rules. Nothing more. However, you must make them clear and balanced.

Here is a sample system.

You will give coins for every homework in turned in. The coins will be used for getting additional points in class (one to 10 scale). One point = 1000 coins. You decide to assign 100 coins to every homework turned in on time. So every time a player turns in 10 homeworks on time they will get an additional point in their final grade.

What’s the problem with this system? It’s most likely that you will assign more than 10 homeworks in a school year and at the same time if you assign 100 homeworks they already have 10 points meaning they won’t need to do any additional work, right?

Maybe you won’t assign 100 homeworks, but buying your grade for that conversion rate is a little too easy for the players to get the best possible grade.

When you build the system you need to try it and test-run it as if your players are using it. You need to play the game once you made the rules to see if it works. Just remember not to make it either too complex or too simple, the point is to make it fun.

The Feedback

Wether you choose a complex online platform to keep track or a simple spreadsheet in google apps, it really doesn’t matter as long as you make sure to give feedback to the players as fast as possible.

One of the most stressing things for the players is not to know where they stand. If you assign coins to the players, let them know IMMEDIATELY how many they have and make sure they have access to that information.

Grades can wait. They are part of the educational system of the world, but when the player receives the coins, it gives them a fair sense of PROGRESS in the class and they know they have more resources to power up their grades, you take the stress away from them and they will focus on earning an infinite amount of coins rather than the limited grade.

The Story

Hello, welcome to Multimedia Design. As of now, you are no longer students. We don’t have space in our ranks for that. You are now Creative Professional Freelancers working for the PublishUs agency and we need all your skills to help the world get better.

This is the story I tell my players the first day of school. They don’t feel they are studying. They feel they are working towards a goal. Learning happens because otherwise, they are unable to meet the goal, not because they will be punished forever with a bad grade.

Think about it.

What makes people choose between books, movies or games? What made you wait in line for 3 hours before they released the last book of Harry Potter?

This is the most important element of your gamified classroom. People need to feel emotionally attracted to your class and the best way to do it is with a story.