Examples for Gamification in higher Education

In recent years, gamification has been used in colleges.

Example 1: Legends of Zyren (Düsseldorf)

Students of the University of Dusseldorf playfully learn the knowledge representations with the aid of a fantasy role-playing game „Legend of Zyren“ (Knautz & Sabousta 2013). Students can choose between orcs, elves, humans and goblins to create their own game characters (heroes). Both individually and as a group, in so-called guilds, students solve tasks on a learning platform or in a classroom session.

Example 2: Creatures of the Night (Heidelberg)

Another example of role playing game gamification in teaching is „Creatures of the Night“ at the University of Heidelberg. The game design elements are used as motivators to support learning in the maths lecture (Kruse et al., 2014). The students represent vampires or werewolves and can receive points and badges as feedback on their own performance in council meetings (= lectures) and clan meetings (= exercises) as well as by solving tasks in the learning platform.

Example 3: Pokemon in Business Information Systems (Mönchengladbach)

In a module for data modeling with ERM in the module „Methods of Business Information Technology“ for students in the extra-occupational business studies program at the University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein short educational videos (Microlearning) and an online worksheet are used. Pokemon is briefly displayed in strategic videos. The worksheet asks for the terms that are briefly covered by the Pokemon. This encourages students to watch the video at least a second time. The concept behind the Time on Task (Anderson, 1986), due to a combination of several motivational factors, is to increase the time on task (effective time spent with the learning object) (Brell 2017). Both the average improvement in the exam points as well as the positive feedback in the teaching evaluation encourage the development of the concept.


The classes in examples 1 and 2 use narrative and characters in fantasy subjects, which may leave some students unaware (Kruse et al., 2014). It is thus to be weighed on a case-by-case basis whether the chosen scenario for role-playing elements complies with the reception habits of the addressees. Possibly. Real world roles are less critical, even if they make the game environment more difficult and less flexible.

The insertion of the Pokemon in Example 3 has nothing to do with the non-playful content. This was criticized by (few) students. It would be better to create a connection that students find more significant.

List of references:

Anderson, Lorin W. (1986) Instruction and Time-on-Task: a Review. In: Time and School Learning: Theory, Research and Practice. Croom Helm, Beckenham, ISBN 978-0-709-90518-9, S. 143−166

Brell, Claus (2017) Gamification. In das wirtschaftsstudium WISU 11/17, Düsseldorf. p.1263-1269, 1283-1284

Knautz K, Sabousta S (2013) Aufbruch nach Zyren:  Game-based Learning in der Hochschullehre. Universitätsbibliothek Hildesheim, Hildesheim

Kruse V, Plicht C, Spannagel J, Wherle M, Spannagel C (2014) Creatures of the Night: Konzeption
und Evaluation einer Gamification-Plattform im Rahmen einer Mathematikvorlesung, präsentiert bei DeLFI, Freiburg