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History of Gamification in Education

Page history last edited by jtonelli@... 3 years, 3 months ago


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History of Gamification


     Gamification refers to the application of game dynamics, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game settings. The concept of Gamification has been around for more than 100 years. However, with recent improvements and advancements in technology as well as increased interest in Constructivist approaches to education, gamification has recently become an interest to educators. Take a look at the list below that outlines the history of Gamification with some significant contributions dating back to 1896 (Smith, 2014).


Nearly 20 years before the Model T was introduced, marketers were experimenting with ways to inspire loyalty in their customers. (Dunwill, 2016). Over 100 years later, brands are still searching for methods to positively reinforce buying behavior and engagement, with gamification producing unprecedented results. Gamification draws from an eclectic range of sources, but this timeline specifically explores the relationship between loyalty, games and fun. (Smith, 2014) 


  • 1896 – S&H Green Stamps. Marketers sold stamps to retailers who used them to reward loyal customers
  • 1973 – Charles Coonradt founds a consulting firm called “The Game of Work,” and brings feedback loops found in sports into the workplace
  • 1979 – MUD1 is created by Roy Trubshaw at Essex University. It was the first multi-user virtual world game
  • 1980 – Thomas Malone publishes “What Makes Things Fun to Learn: A Study of Intrinsically Motivating Computer Games”
  • 1981 – American Airlines introduces AAdvantage, the first frequent flyer program
  • 1983 – Holiday Inn launches the first hotel loyalty program
  • 1987 – National Car Rental launches the first car rental rewards program
  • 1990 – 30% of American households own an NES. A new generation of gamers is born
  • 1996 – Richard Bartle publishes “Who Plays MUAs” which divides video game players into four unique types
  • 2002 – Serious Gaming Initiative forges a link between the electronic gaming industry and training, health, education and public policy
  • 2003 – Nick Pelling coins the term gamification
  • 2007 – Bunchball creates Dunder Mifflin Infinity, a gamified website for the TV show The Office. It receives over 8 million pageviews in six weeks
  • 2009 – Quest To Learn accepts a class of 6th graders into a game-based learning environment
  • 2010 – DevHub adds a points system to its website, and increases user engagement by 70%
  • 2010 – Gamification Co. holds the first Gamification Summit in San Francisco, CA
  • 2012 – 45,000 people enroll in Professor Kevin Werbach’s online gamification course through Coursera
  • 2012 – Mozilla Open Badges initiative is launched. The open source badges can be used to mark accomplishments online
  • 2012 – Gartner predicts 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least 1 gamified application by 2014
  • 2014 M2 Research predicts that gamification will be a 2.8 billion dollar industry by 2016

      (Smith, 2014)  

Gamification in Education took off in the 1980's with the emergence of the Children's software industry and educational games.  The graphic below shows educational elements of gaming and a brief history of gamification in education.  


Created by Knewton and Column Five Media


Dunwill, E. (2016, Feb 23) Beyond K -12: 8 Reasons Why Higher Education Should Adopt Gamification. Emerging EdTech. Retrieved on July 1, 2017 from http://www.edtechupdate.com/gamification/?open-article-id=4700926&article-title=beyond-k-12--8-reasons-why-higher-education-should-adopt-gamification&blog-domain=emergingedtech.com&blog-title=emergingedtech


Knewton Infographics. (2010) EdTech Update. Graphic Retrieved on July 1, 2017 from: http://www.edtechupdate.com/gamification/?open-article-id=3415599&article-title=gamification-in-the-classroom&blog-domain=isaacpineda.com&blog-title=kairos-edtech


Smith, F. (July 11, 2014) A Brief History of Gamification. EdTechMagazine. Retrieved from: https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2014/07/brief-history-gamification-infographic


Gamification Image, no attribution needed, Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/gamification-progression-coins-1474879/ 



Comments (5)

Nikki Johnson-Scheutzow said

at 10:38 pm on Jun 29, 2017

What does everyone think - lose the graphic or keep it? I liked how it was designed and had a lot of good information. I'm still adding some references and it was posted on a website with a link for use by the owner so I think it's ok to use it???

Patrick Williams said

at 2:20 pm on Jul 7, 2017

I like the graphic. Keep it

Nikki Johnson-Scheutzow said

at 1:06 pm on Jul 8, 2017


emily said

at 1:37 pm on Jul 13, 2017

keep the graphic, for sure!

Andrew Silbaugh said

at 12:59 pm on Jul 15, 2017

I say keep the graphic as well since it adds a nice touch to the page. Also, it has some really pertinent information on it.

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