Gamification has traditionally been used by corporations as a marketing tool to attract customers, but it is increasingly being used by government and non-governmental organizations to engage citizens and increase participation in public decision-making.
Problems and Purpose
Gamification describes the transfer of games into areas that have no relation to games. This can also apply to individual game elements such as certain game mechanics or game designs.
One of the areas where gamification is used as a method is education. Education in this context refers to informal, non-formal and formal education for all age groups. However, game-based learning is more than just entertainment, it builds a bridge between theory and practice, encourages learners to actively engage and interact with each other, and also creates a stimulating and inclusive learning atmosphere.
In addition to other areas of education, game-based learning has proven to be a particularly useful and effective method for teaching democratic values and norms. This is because gamification is so well suited to illustrate social interactions such as conflict and cooperation. Gamification allows even complex topics to be taught in an interesting and effective way, and players learn important competencies and awareness for their role as democratic citizens.
Origins and Development
Using games in education as a learning method is not an entirely new development. Nevertheless, the use of game-based learning methods is often not taken seriously, especially in the field of formal and higher education, for example at university. Gamification has received broader attention due to the digitalization of society taking place at the beginning of the 21st century. However, this also means that the focus is still on digital and less on analog games and game-based learning methods.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Gamification can and is applied in various areas. As mentioned before, the term simply describes the transfer of game elements to areas that actually have no relation to games. Therefore, the question of participant recruitment and selection can be answered in different ways.
As far as the educational context is concerned, there is actually no area that cannot benefit from gamification. This applies to formal, informal, and non-formal education and to young learners as well as older ones. Gamification can be used in the traditional school classroom as well as at the university or in non-formal youth work.
How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making
Used in education, gamification helps to actively engage learners in the learning process. Players learn through the experiences they make during the game process. Based on Kolb's learning cycle, this means a multi-stage process that "starts with a new concrete experience which is followed by reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation". To achieve the best possible outcome for the learners, this process is framed by an input and an output phase. The input phase is used to introduce the players to the game and explain the rules. In the output phase, a debriefing takes place and the players reflect on the game process and their learning outcomes. A special feature compared to more traditional learning methods is that gamification offers the possibility to combine theoretical knowledge and its practical application.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Analysis and Lessons Learned
 Ruth-Lovell, Saskia P./Welge, Rebecca/Lovell/Robert (2019): Teaching Democratic Norms and Values with Analogue Games. In: Peters, Michael/Heraud, Richard (eds): Encyclopedia of Educational Innovation. Springer, Singapore.https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-981-13-2262-4_44-1.pdf