Gamification vs Game-Based Learning: Know the Difference

Children love to play, and when games are introduced into learning and education, it becomes a perfect recipe for success.

Gamification vs Game Based Learning Know the Difference

Two new buzzwords are increasingly becoming popular in education – Gamification and Game-Based Learning (GBL).  The goals of both of these are relatively the same:

  • Improve children commitment and engagement
  • Promote sustained motivation in learning
  • Enhance memory and retention 
  • Make the learning experience more positive, interesting, and fun

But, there is a difference, and we’ll get to it once we define gamification and GBL clearly.

What is gamification? 

Gamification of learning is an educational approach of incorporating game-design elements and principles into learning environments to trigger engagement while inspiring the students to continue learning.

Gamification is effective because it activates people’s natural desires to compete and achieve. The game elements motivate the user to take actions to meet a challenge and earn a reward in the form of levels, badges, points, leaderboards, and XPs.

In ideal gamified learning environments, students can see the online badges earned by their peers to create an atmosphere of healthy competition.

Also Read: Top Most Dominating Mobile Games in India

What is game-based learning?

Game-based learning (GBL) is an approach to teaching, where games are used to enhance the learning experience.  At its core, GBL aims to achieve a specific learning outcome or teach a discrete skill rather than being a complete pedagogical system. 

The key difference between gamification and game-based learning is: 

Gamification is turning the entire learning process into a game, while GBL is using games as a part of the learning process. The elements of gamification are normally present in a GBL activity, not vice versa.

Examples of Gamification

  • Google Doodle: Google, on the 44th anniversary of Hip Hop, rolled out an interactive gamified doodle that allowed users to drop the beats. When the user completes various tasks on the turntable, they unlock achievements along the way. This doodle received a large number of impressions and engagement all over the world and was a massive success.
  • Duolingo: This gamified language-learning website converts tests and lessons into challenges and keeps track of progress. In this way, Duolingo keeps its learners engaged and motivated. 

Examples of GBL 

Taboo Words

In this exciting game, children are motivated to practice their speaking skills and expand their vocabulary. The players on the two teams attempt at explaining the guess words to their teammates without using specific clues, gestures or words flagged as taboo. 


This GBL game motivates children to apply their minds to solve complex problems. While it is proven to improve abstract learning and sharpen memory, it also teaches children essential life skills such as decision-making, focus and patience. 

Benefits of Game-Based Learning

  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Motivates to complete more tasks 
  • Sharpens memory
  • Improves conceptual knowledge
  • Enhances real-world skills
  • Improves analytical skills

Key Takeaway

In today’s world, games are more than a reward or a pastime activity. They are tools that can be used in the learning process to make it fun and engaging. 

Also Read: Top 5 Best Mobile Apps for Pet Care

Author Bio:

Samidha Raj works as part of the content marketing team at PlanetSpark, a platform that provides online classes to K8 learners on “New Age Skills” like, English Communication, Public Speaking, Grammar, Creative Writing, Debating, etc.

She is passionate about empowering the youth by educating parents about the importance of 21st-century skills. In her free time, you can find her watching documentaries or animated movies and organizing game nights (board games are her thing)!

Samidha Raj

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