Play2learn. Gamification in the academic context: impact of gamification elements on student engagement


Gamification is based on the integration of game elements – mechanism and frameworks – into non-game situations and scenarios (non-game settings) (Rapti, 2013). It is defined as a process of game-thinking and game-mechanics with the aim of engaging the player and encouraging problem-solving (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011). The present research examines gamification in the academic context, with the aim of analyzing the impact of gamification elements – points, challenges, levels, ranking, badges, battles, challenges and power-ups – on student engagement. It was also possible to examine the relationship between students’ engagement in the game and their final grades in the Marketing subject, allowing to evaluate the impact of gamification on academic performance. The data analyzed were extracted directly from the applied instrument (mobile application) – Marketing Wars 1.0 developed by Mindflow based on the principles of gamification. The data represent the performance/behavior of students in the game. The study had the participation of 135 students, who at the time of data collection – April 2019 – were attending the second year of the Marketing degree at the Portuguese Institute of Administration and Marketing (IPAM). The analysis revealed significant correlation coefficients of the following game elements with engagement: power-ups (r=.710), badges (r=.503), level (r=.331) and ranking (r=-.241). The results of the linear regression analysis revealed that power-ups explained about 48% of students’ engagement in the game (R2=.48). The last analysis showed a significant correlation between engagement and students’ final grades in Marketing (r=.186), supporting the hypothesis of the applicability of gamification in the academic context.