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Gamification - A definition

Gamification refers to the application of game-typical elements in a non-game context. Knowledge is conveyed in a playful manner and thus packaged in an entertaining way. It can be applied in a wide variety of areas.

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Beginnings of gamification

Gamification was used for marketing purposes for the first time. For example, loyalty points were awarded in supermarkets, which could be exchanged for rewards or prizes. This strengthened customer loyalty in a company. In addition to customer loyalty, gamification is also used in the marketing industry to increase consumer motivation and learning success. More about this can be found in the article "Gamification in marketing: from advertising to game".

Areas of application of gamification

In addition to the entertainment and advertising industries, more and more companies are becoming aware of the topic of "gamification". For example, in the areas of mechanical and plant engineering, automotives, ICTs and automation. In the mechanical engineering sector, operating aids can be created for employees to make it easier to work on complex machines. For more information on "Gamification in the engineering industry", see the article "Get the gamers on the machines".

Gamification in the non-profit sector

Other areas in which gamification can be implemented are non-profit sectors. These include foundations and museums. An example of this would be an app that contains mini-games. These mini-games could be distributed at all stations of the museum and accessed via QR code. You can find out more about "Gamification in museums" in the article "Is the museum allowed to be fun?. Or: What makes gamification exciting for cultural institutions"

What can gamification
be used for?

Gamification helps to increase motivation. Reward systems in the form of achievements, experience points or awards can have a supporting effect. Furthermore, team-building measures can be promoted in this way.

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Gamification in education

Nowadays, gamification is already frequently used in education. It is used to drive learning success by increasing motivation through playful elements. Feedback, challenges and the idea of community play an important role here. More on this topic is explained in the article "Gamification in education".

Gamification in healthcare

Gamification can also be used in healthcare. Here, athletic progress or healthier eating habits can be achieved more quickly and easily. For more, see the article "Gamification in healthcare"

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Digital or analog gamification

Both digital and analog games can be realized with the help of gamification. For example, a board game can be developed that visualizes a retailer's new product range. The game can facilitate the process for employees to internalize the new products more quickly. More details can be found in the article "Analog Gamification - Playful Brand Communication".

The different elements
of gamification.

Due to the pronounced play instinct of people, different, game-typical elements are used to successfully implement gamification. Each element has its own individual benefit. In the following three paragraphs you can find examples that show the benefits of some elements.


Rankings can drive competition. At the same time, players are encouraged to improve their performance in order to achieve the best possible result and thus move up in the rankings. In addition, the progress of the other players drives the players.


Quests are challenging tasks that a player must solve in order to receive a reward. These tasks must be completed in a certain amount of time. They serve to gain the player's competence and lure him out of his comfort zone.

Progress bars

To visualize the learning progress, a progress bar is extremely helpful. Its benefit lies in providing a quick, clear overview. In parallel, it makes it clear how much work is still ahead to achieve the goal.

You can find more game-typical elements in the article "Game-typical elements".


Why is gamification so effective and successful? Among other things, because of the pronounced play instinct of people. Gamification can help to convey knowledge in an entertaining and effective way. With the help of playful elements, processes can be anchored more easily in memory. Gamification can be used in a wide range of areas, from the entertainment industry, education and healthcare to non-profit sectors.

An article by Danielle Kern / Status: 11. August 2020

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