Bobby Pedersen

Game on - learning through play - Gamification

Blog Post created by Bobby Pedersen Champion on Oct 2, 2019

I danced a little jig when I saw that the Canvas Community gamification/reward system has been restored. I didn’t realise how much I had missed those regular notifications of missions completed, badges awarded, points gained. 


It did make me stop and think about how aspects of gamification have impacted me and how I have learned about using Canvas. 


Gamification is about more than just playing games, sometimes it does not involve playing games at all. It could be defined as the concept of applying game-design thinking to non game applications.

  • Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”.


Whenever I do Canvas training I get participants to join the canvas Community. More often than not they become instantly engaged when they see they hold the status of Freshman, then become absorbed in changing their avatars. Once this excitement settles they discover they can be awarded badges and points all through sharing, commenting, liking and being active in the Community. I like to pause them and get them to reflect on how that makes them feel, and how they could replicate that in their own classroom environments in Canvas. Food for thought. 

I found a cool website 6 Killer examples of gamification which listed some great benefits of gamification:

  1. Better learning experience.
    The learner can experience “fun” during the game and still learn if the level of engagement is high. A good gamification strategy with high levels of engagement will lead to an increase in recall and retention.
  2. Better learning environment.
    Gamification in eLearning provides an effective, informal learning environment, and helps learners practice real life situations and challenges in a safe environment. This leads to a more engaged learning experience that facilitates better knowledge retention.
  3. Instant feedback.
    It provides instant feedback so that learners know what they know or what they should know. This too facilitates better learner engagement and thereby better recall and retention.
  4. Prompting behavioral change.
    Points, badges, and leaderboards would surely make training awesome. However, gamification is about a lot more than just those surface level benefits. Gamification can drive strong behavioral change especially when combined with the scientific principles of repeated retrieval and spaced repetition.
  5. Can be applied for most learning needs.
    Gamification can be used to fulfill most learning needs including induction and onboarding, product sales, customer support, soft skills, awareness creation, and compliance.
  6. Impact on bottom line.
    On account of all these aspects that touch and impact learners (better learning experience, higher recall and retention, catalyzing behavioral change, and so on), it can create a significant performance gain for organizations.

I can’t thank the Canvas Community enough for providing the push for me, through gamification, to engage, share, discuss, and provoke. This nudged me carefully to knowing so much more than I thought I ever could about using Canvas. I’ve gone from feeling lost and frightened about how much there was to learn to feeling confident about where to go to find things out and being enriched by engaging in some deep pedagogical conversations with amazing people.

How has gamification impacted the ways you learn and teach?