Gamifying higher education. beyond badges, points and leaderboards

Research output: Contribution to book/conference proceedings/anthology/reportConference contributionContributedpeer-review



Purpose - Gamification or related concepts such as serious games and playful design are discussed intensively in the field of academic education. Since 2011, gamification has continuously been recorded as a medium-term trend of online education in the annually published Horizon Report. In all areas in which engagement, participation, and motivation of individuals are the key success factors, strategies of gamification are considered. But, what are potentials of gamification in the field of higher education? How can educational technologies such as learning management systems be gamified? An essential part of this article is a study regarding the gamification of the learning management system OPAL. Design/methodology/approach - Based on a master thesis at the faculty of educational sciences, a study was conducted in order to investigate how the use of game elements can increase the attractiveness of OPAL for students. OPAL is the central learning management system at the Technische Universität Dresden. The study should answer the question: Which game design elements increase the attractiveness of OPAL for students? The research question was answered with a qualitative approach, while the collection of data was carried out by a focus group and expert interviews. The sample included six master's students and one expert. The findings provide recommendations for redesigning OPAL. Originality/value - Often gamification is related to tools like points, badges, and leaderboards. But what elements exist beyond these? The contribution initially provides conceptual foundations and refers to game mechanics as the specifics of games. Based on this, the potential of gamification in higher education teaching was discussed. Practical implications - The article describes the concept of gamification and how this approach can be used in university teaching, especially for designing Learning Management Systems.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge Communities in Online Education and, Visual Knowledge Management - Proceedings of 19th Conference GeNeMe 2016, as part of IFKAD 2016
EditorsThomas Kohler, Eric Schoop, Nina Kahnwald
PublisherTUDpress/Thelem Universitätsverlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (electronic)9783959081443
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

SeriesGemeinschaften in Neuen Medien


Title19th Conference on Communities in New Media: Knowledge Communities in Online Education and Visual Knowledge Management Conference, GeNeMe 2016, as part of IFKAD 2016
Abbreviated titleGeNeMe '16
Duration15 - 17 June 2016

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-0327-6577/work/142660979



  • Gamification, Higher Education, Learning Management Systems, Online Education