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Game Based Learning (GBL) vs. Gamification|Understanding the Difference

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Understanding the world of educational games can be a bit tricky, especially with terms like "game-based learning" and "gamification" floating around.Let's demystify these terms together in our comprehensive guide to educational technology.


If you're familiar with GBL, you've probably heard the words “gamified” or “gamification.” They might sound alike, but they have unique meanings.


Red mark on education and a deep dive into the Game based Learning process.

Red mark on education and highlight with Game based Learning process

Game-based learning is when teachers use games to help students learn. It's like using a fun tool to help remember old lessons or understand new ones. Since most students these days love playing games, using them in class can make lessons more fun and interesting.


Imagine learning math by playing a game where you run a virtual shop and have to give change to customers. Instead of just reading about math, you're actually doing it in a fun setting.


What does this learning style entail?

Infographic of Gamification and it's benefits

Game-Based Learning involves using games as a medium to teach specific educational content or concepts.Dive deeper into the benefits of game-based learning to understand its impact.


Gamification is the process of adding game-like elements to non-game situations, such as classroom activities or lessons. Learn more about how gamification transforms traditional teaching methods.


In GBL, educators introduce games into the curriculum to help students understand old topics or grasp new ones. The primary focus is on the learning that occurs through the game. For example, a game might be designed to teach students about historical events, math problems, or scientific concepts.


In education, gamification might not involve playing an actual game. Instead, it's about incorporating game elements, such as earning badges, accumulating points, or climbing leaderboards, into regular classroom activities. An example would be rewarding students with points for timely homework submissions or giving badges for achieving specific academic milestones.


Refer to our Infographic on Gamification for a visual breakdown of its benefits.


Digital game-based learning (DGBL)

In GBL, educators introduce games into the curriculum to help students understand old topics or grasp new ones. The primary focus is on the learning that occurs through the game. For example, a game might be designed to teach students about historical events, math problems, or scientific concepts.


In today's world, where technology is everywhere, Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) is stepping up the game in education. DGBL is all about blending the power of technology with the fun of games to make learning even more exciting and effective.


So, what exactly is DGBL? Think of it as a perfect mix of traditional classroom teaching and online gaming. Teachers start by introducing students to new topics in the usual way. But instead of stopping at just lectures or worksheets, students then get to play online games that are designed around those very topics. It's like learning and then immediately applying that knowledge in a fun, digital environment.


But there's more to DGBL than just fun and games. A well-designed DGBL platform doesn't just let students play; it keeps an eye on them. It tracks their progress, seeing how well they're grasping the concepts. This means teachers can quickly see which students are soaring ahead and which ones might need a little extra help.

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