When looking at learning motivation, an idea that you may keep hearing about is gamification.  As technology and gaming evolves, the use of games as a standard teaching mechanism becomes closer to reality, especially with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) devices.

Two factors in effective e-learning are motivation and community building, both of which coincide nicely with gamification.  Games and simulations can have a motivational effect, as most use a story-line and have some type of reward for winning or completing a task.

Games can also be used to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Studies have shown that there is a good level of acceptance by ASD students, and that gaming can help behaviors related to social initiation.  Also, in cases where the student demonstrates repetitive tendencies, games can increase exploratory behaviors.  (Malinverni, 2017)

So how do you gamify your curriculum?   An important element involves integrating your game’s storyline with your instructional objectives.  You want to be certain that the game is aligned with your student goals, so students are concentrating on the correct information.

You also want to incorporate feedback directly into the game, in order to determine whether students are getting the correct message.  This is even more effective if the feedback is explanatory.  It should also be noted that rapid response games work well for automating skills through drill and practice exercises, but may not be effective when pursuing cognitive learning outcomes.  (Clark & Mayer, 2011)

Another tip is to make sure your game contains cognitive activity and not just discovery learning.  Exploring without cognitive activity has been shown to be ineffective, and may produce unintended learning results. (Clark & Mayer, 2011)

Still on the fence as to whether or not gamification has educational value?  Watch this 20 minute Ted Talk!


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction (Third Edition ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Malinverni, L. M.-G. (2017, June). An inclusive design approach for developing video games for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Computers In Human Behavior, pp. 535-549.

1 comment

    • Deb Corso on November 8, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    First of all, thank you for this excellent post! Gamification appears to be an effective tool for a wide range of learners and most promising for students on the ASD spectrum.

    Also, thank you for the Jane McGonigal TEDtalk. She is brilliant!

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