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How does gamification impact motivation?

Gamification is a multidisciplinary tool covering a wide range of fields including marketing, sales, recruitment, employee training, education. It encompasses theory of thought, methodology and various ways of implementation

Gamification is not a new invention, but only in recent years has there been an intense growth in its popularity. Empirical work from various fields shows how gamification is used and the behavioral and experiential effects it has on people in the short and long term (Seaborn K., Fels D. I., 2015). Its main purpose gamification is to implement game elements into an environment not strictly related to the game, in order to support human motivation and performance in relation to a given activity.

Motivation is something that stimulates action and gives it direction once it has been aroused. There are two main aspects of motivational behavior: the aspect of arousal (source of energy) and the aspect of direction (E.R. Hilgard, 1972). Another definition of motivation is , “the desire to do something, dependent on the ability of this action to satisfy some need of an individual’’ (Robbins S.P., 1998).

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Gamification can be an effective solution to motivational problems in the context of learning or work, as long as it is well designed and based on well-established implementation models. Research findings (Sailer M., Hense J.U. Mayr S. M., Mandl H.,2017) show that badges, leaderboards and performance charts positively affect satisfaction of competency needs and perceptions of task importance, while avatars, stories and teammates positively affect social bonds, demonstrating that specific gamification design elements have specific psychological effects.

As research shows, gamification can be used at all levels of education, from elementary school to college. Because of the variety of challenges and rewards provided by the different parts of games, incorporating game elements into lessons can increase students’ motivation and intellectual achievement. In the results of a study, it was shown that students who participated in educational gamification courses were significantly more interested and engaged in the learning process than students assigned to regular classes (Ansar M., George G., 2022). Gamification also makes learning more enjoyable, which is the first advantage of this type of teaching.


Ansar M., George G., Gamification in Education and Its Impact on Student Motivation—A Critical Review, Emerging IT/ICT and AI Technologies Affecting Society, 25 August 2022, Pages 161–170.

Hilgard E.R., Wprowadzenie do psychologii, PWN, Warszawa 1972.

Sailer M., Hense J.U. Mayr S. M., Mandl H., How gamification motivates: An experimental study of the effects of specific game design elements on psychological need satisfaction, Computers in Human Behavior April 2017, Pages 371-380

Seaborn K., Fels D. I., Gamification in theory and action: A survey, The International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, February 2015, Pages 14-31

Robbins S.P., Zachowania w organizacji, PWE, Warszawa 1998.