Gamification in Teaching and Learning

By Colette Rossignol (Education Technologist, Digital Learning), and
Prof. Mahfuja Malik (Assistant Professor, Accounting), WCB,
and Judith Tacuri, (Graduate Assistant), MACOMM
Webpage maintained by Barbara Gerwien
July 2017

Faculty Examples   How To    Resources

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the process of integrating game elements to motivate and engage your students. Unlike Gaming in which students create games, Gamification uses game rules, scoring, and competition in the classroom for active learning. 

Gamification in the Classroom -
The Excitement of Learning
Classroom Applications

Video Tutorial by Mahfuja Malik, PhD,  
Assistant Professor, Jack Welch College of Business

 Students’ participation and students' analytics on the mock CPA exams in MSA 630
 Advanced Topics in Financial Accounting course


Course Title: AC 221 (Financial Accounting), AC 222 (Managerial Accounting), AC 401 Advanced Accounting, MSA 630 (Advanced Topic in Financial Accounting)

Semester: Late Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Late Spring 2017

My Teaching Challenges and Objective: I teach accounting courses for both major and non-major students. For the non-major students, the challenge is to increase their interest in accounting.The students hardly pay attention when I deliver lectures on theoretical concepts. Instead, they are more interested in practicing some calculation-based problems for most of the cases on which they will be tested.

For both major and non-major students, the challenge is to engage them in class. It is hard to make all students participative. Even if I assign grades for participation, I find that only a few students participate every time. I also find that my students have “exam phobia.” Even after learning the materials well, some students still do not do well on exams because of their nervousness or stress. We encourage our major students to take the CPA exam. In my master-level advanced accounting course, all of the students are required to take a mock CPA test. But I found that my students always felt nervous about that exam. I found it challenging to motivate them to prepare for the CPA exam and conquer their phobia.

Based on these challenges, I determined my teaching objectives: (1) motivate the students to learn the concepts, (2) engage all students and make them participative, and (3) overcome the test phobia, especially for the CPA exam. After attending the Digital Pedagogy Summer Institute, I decided to incorporate some innovative digital tools into my teaching, as doing so might help me achieve my teaching objectives. To apply gamification to my teaching and learning processes in an innovative way, I selected “Kahoot!”

Task Description Integrating "Kahoot": “Kahoot!” is an online game-based learning platform that can be used for formative assessments such as quizzes and surveys and for reviewing concepts or initiating conversations. I use Kahoot! in all of my courses. I make multiple-choice quizzes by selecting a few questions on every topic. I then decide how much time students will get for each question. I prefer quizzing immediately after delivering my lecture. I display the game on the projector screen so the students can see the question and the answer options. The students need to enter the game PIN and their names to submit their answers. They can use their laptops or cell phones to play the game. When the questions appear on the screen, the students hear a suspenseful countdown tone that creates an emotional trigger that makes learning exciting. After every question, I check the overall class responses and review the concept if I find the class seems confused based on their responses. At the end of the game, the scoreboard shows the top five scorers and that keeps students competitive and motivates them to pay attention in class. I also download all students’ scores in an Excel format from the game website to keep track of their learning progress. In this way, Kahoot! helps me to covert my classroom into a game show that engages all students in a fun learning environment.

Observations about Student Learning:

  • Kahoot! provided a great stimulus to motivate my students to learn concepts as most of the games I play in class are based on theoretical concepts.
  • The engagement level of my students has improved substantially. 100% of my students play the game that makes them all work on conceptual problems and come up with their answers that they need to submit.
  • Since doing instant quizzing using Kahoot!, I have noticed that my students now pay more attention.
  • Reviewing concepts in a fun game-based group learning environment also makes them more interested in the subject.
  • Kahoot! also helps my students to overcome their CPA exam fear because I started using real CPA questions in my graduate class while playing the game.