Game-Based Learning vs. Classroom Gamification: The Fight of the Century

Game-Based Learning vs. Classroom Gamification: The Fight of the Century

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It’s finally here: the championship match between, would you believe it, the two essential favorites.

In this corner, we have the long-standing media darling, Gamification, poised and ready to deliver exciting techniques for motivating students in the classroom. And in this corner, we have Game-Based Learning, the intrepid young challenger, bound with endless potential and promises of great things to come.

The bell rings! The match has officially begun, and the two combatants are already circling one another.

Round One: Warming Up

The conventional media lightweights are nowhere to be seen tonight, this is the big leagues, the new kids, the innovators, the hungry ones. I’m not going to lie, it could swing either way.

Gamification starts the round off strong: leaderboards, direct competitions, stickers and badges, all of its coolest tricks are immediately on display. Game-based learning (or “GBL” as it is known among friends, back in the neighborhoods of MinecraftEdu) has a lot to match!

GBL dodges blow by blow. All these exciting concepts - leaderboards, competitions, achievements, stickers - all of them are found in the offerings of GBL as well. Some of these features are not only integrated in educational games, but in a far more efficient and natural way than any applied gamification. Gamification takes a step back. But then it takes a step forward, because not every game tracks leaderboards or offers exciting prizes.

The bell rings. The first round is officially over.

Game-Based Learning vs. Classroom Gamification: The Fight of the Century

Round Two: Getting Serious

Both combatants return to the fray with renewed vigor.

This time
GBL makes the first move: immersion, a marriage of visuals, sound and interactivity in a class of its own, all heavy hitters. Gamification takes a beating, but it’s got an ace in the hole: physical activity. Representatives from Seppo and Classcraft cheer as Gamification debuts the idea of excited students racing from activity to activity, learning, socializing and engaging.

For a moment all seems still. The audience, consisting of industry professionals, teachers that are ever-ravenous for more tools in the classroom and a few people that just wandered in are all holding their breath.

Gamification presents another curveball: analytics. This is the big one: Classcraft representatives nod enthusiastically as Gamification eloquently shows all the incredible data that students automatically provide just by completing virtual assignments.

But it’s not meant to be. In a masterstroke, GBL wows audiences by astonishing opponents with its newest offering: game analytics. Not only are they real-time, in-game and available for all the games on the best services, but they are automatic and effortless. The first hint of panic appears on the glamorous face of Gamification.

The bell sounds its hollow call once more.

Game-Based Learning vs. Classroom Gamification: The Fight of the Century

Round Three: Championship

Now it’s down to the shrewdest tactics and most desperate of gambits, getting down to brass tacks. Both are tired, exhausted. Even the most ardent supporters of both sides are now wavering. Who will win? Nothing is certain.

Then it begins anew.

Graphics. Apps. Number of customers. More are tuning in by the moment. But then the killing blow comes: GBL reveals the crucial upcoming feature of TeacherGaming Desk: curriculum implementation. Rather than just a separate, incohesive afterthought, the Desk is getting its own automatic curriculum system that lets teachers know exactly what they are teaching, and which game and lesson they need to get where they want to go.

It’s a close call, but Gamification throws in the towel. After all, Gamification never was about creating something new. It just can’t keep up with the new kid, not with these offerings. Gamification tries to make things engaging that are not, GBL takes something that already is engaging, so here we are.

The whistle blows and the bell rings, the referee’s hand shoots up to the stars!

The brilliant minds from the GBL-side breathe a sigh of relief. Filament Games and TeacherGaming smile, sitting together in the front row. BrainPOP and Legends of Learning clap earnestly. GBL is the undisputed champion of innovative edutech solutions of 2018, and looks prepared to defend its title for many years to go.

The flashes go off, the smiles are radiant, and
GBL disappears behind the curtain amidst a deafening choir of cheers and excited shrieks.

But there’s no time to rest for GBL. There are classrooms who need to see the light: bask in the glow of the champion. Everyone needs to start somewhere.