How to use game elements to enhance learning: Applications of the theory of gamified learning

Richard N. Landers, Michael B. Armstrong, Andrew B. Collmus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

26 Scopus citations


The theory of gamified learning (Landers RN, Simul Games 45(6):752–768. doi:10.1177/1046878114563660, 2014) presents a theoretical model in which game elements, drawn from the serious games literature, are used in isolation or in limited combination to gamify existing instructional processes in order to improve learning. Critically, individual game elements must be linked to specific behavioral, motivational, or attitudinal outcomes, which in turn must be linked to learning outcomes, in order for gamification to be effective. Without establishing such links, gamification may appear to be unsuccessful when implementations have in fact succeeded. In this chapter, we expand upon the theory of gamified learning by providing applied examples of each of the nine major categories of game elements and linking those elements theoretically to the behavioral and attitudinal constructs they are best predicted to affect. In short, we explain how to gamify learning in a scientifically supported fashion. We conclude with recommendations for both research and practice of gamification in learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSerious Games and Edutainment Applications
Subtitle of host publicationVolume II
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783319516455
ISBN (Print)9783319516431
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • Educational technology
  • Gamification
  • Gamified
  • Learning
  • Motivation
  • Psychology
  • Serious games
  • Technology


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