Gamification: A Practical Guide for the Classroom


The term ‘gamification’ has become one of the hottest buzzwords of the current decade. It has been claimed that gamification can be applied to everything from shopping, exercising, and doing chores to training and business, and that it will increase engagement, motivation, and make things fun. How much of what you hear is just hype? Is there something to it? Can classrooms be gamified?

While the term of gamification is new, the underlying concepts for both reward-based and meaningful gamification are not, and have been practiced in the classroom for a long time. In fact, teachers have been using game-based elements for the real world application of teaching content for decades.

At its heart, gamification is about taking elements from games and applying them to non-game settings. This book connects the dots between instructional approaches and strategies that are grounded in solid theory and those elements of gamification that can be implemented in any classroom to help create a more learner-centered classroom that embodies 21st century learning principles. It provides practical, step-by-step strategies that any teacher can employ without having to completely re-design their classroom.


Why are you developing this project?

I am an educational game design and analysis expert, who has been also teaching for over 30 years. I have developed many innovations in my classrooms, and I believe I can show teachers and teacher-trainers how to use the best aspects of gamification to help increase engagement in their classrooms and to help create an environment for authentic, learner-centered education.

Why do people need help on the topic at this time?

There is a great deal of hype surrounding 'gamification', and teachers and teacher-trainers need help separating the hype from the reality. This book will show them that much of what is now being claimed as gamification, is in fact simply good teaching.

How is the topic of increasing rather than passing or declining importance?

Gartner Says by 2014, 80 Percent of Current Gamified Applications Will Fail to Meet Business Objectives Primarily Due to Poor Design

This means that there will be increased negative attention paid to anything referred to as “gamification” making it increasingly important to provide a balanced and reasoned explanation of what gamification is and how the best parts can be implemented effectively in a classroom.


What is the work designed to accomplish?

The point of this book is to give teachers and teacher-trainers ideas for gamification that they can implement easily and cheaply. Many of these ideas can be implemented in whole or in part, and I provide the mechanisms for translating work into the formats that most formal education systems require.

How does it meet the need you have identified?

  1. It explains the role of gamification in formal education.
  2. It addresses some of the criticism leveled against gamification.
  3. It explains how gamification can be used to enhance learning.
  4. It shows by example, how gamification can be applied to a variety of formal classroom situations.


What new information is offered?

  • Ideas for gamifying your classroom that are simple and can be implemented without fancy tools, and while allowing you to keep the parts that are good in your current practice.
  • A concrete connection between known sound pedagogy and elements of gamification.
  • Ideas that do not require you to be a gamer or to turn your entire course or class into a game.

In what ways would the work add to current knowledge and practice?

  • It provides practical suggestions for implementing gamification in any classroom.
  • It provides feedback and ideas from someone with over 30 years' teaching experience.

This book will help you to

  1. Wade through the hype surrounding gamification to see the nuggets of valuable ideas that can be applied in your classroom.
  2. Gamify your classroom in meaningful ways.

Unique Features

  1. I am an instructional designer and a game designer who’s had 30+ years’ worth of experience in higher ed. I’m a good teacher and a good writer so I am able to make the subject matter accessible to a wide audience.
  2. It includes many examples to illustrate the concepts.
  3. It is a smallish book (250 or so pages) so one that will not seem intimidating to novices.
  4. There are very few other books of this kind available.

Why Me?

  1. I am an expert in this field.
  2. I have a considerable publication record, including a book on the technical aspects of computer simulations and games written for non-technical people.
  3. I have been teaching for over 30 years and so have extensive experience in the classroom.

Intended Audiences

Be specific and describe the primary, secondary, and other audiences with respect to discipline, affiliation, and position or title.


Educators: Practitioners, researchers, and administrators in formal education at all levels.


This book is primarily targeted at educators, but I am defining 'educators' in a broad sense so that is also meant to include the rapidly growing private sector involved in non-profit & for-profit education.


Anyone involved in education, both formal and informal, professional training, and performance improvement.


What would the work help the audiences to do, understand, improve, carry out, and so on?

This book will help you to

  1. Gamify existing lesson and course designs.
  2. Create new, gamified lesson and course designs.

Distinguish between the uses for the practitioner, academic, and general audiences - or whatever distinction is most meaningful.


This book can be used as both a explanation of gamification and as a how-to guide.


Academics can use this as a textbook, but they can use the book to learn how to gamify their own courses in any discipline. Researchers can use the knowledge in this book to create gamified interventions to study.

Other Audiences:

Anyone else interested in the gamificaiton of education.

Knowledge Base

What is the research or experience base for the information in the project?

This is a very new subject, but various aspects of the approaches outlined in the book are not new, and I will include foundational educational research as necessary, as well as references to my own experience and publications.

Briefly describe any special studies or previous work relevant to this project.

This is a very new topic, but there is a growing body of research on the efficacy of various gamified approaches, both in formal training and in the corporate sector. While this book is not meant to be a research reference, it will include citations to studies and other academic resources when relevant.

Title Possibilities

Along with your current working title, please suggest several alternative titles.

  • Practical Classroom Gamification
  • Gamification in the Classroom


How many pages do you anticipate the manuscript to be?

  • ~250-280
  • 10-20 tables
  • 20-30 images

This is intended to be an easy to read and digest book.

Outline of Contents and Chapter-by-Chapter Descriptions

Sample Chapters

I do not have any chapters to send at the moment, but I do have a book published with Wiley that came out in December 2011. (


How do you envision your final product?

  • This will be a smallish, soft-cover BOOK - it will have quite a few figures but they can all be black-and-white as I anticipate providing color version of the figures online or in an accompanying CD. It will also include WORD and EXCEL templates for quests, player stat and log sheets, as well as grading templates. If desired, Google Doc versions of the templates can also be made available.

Are you proposing a single product or a group of products?

  • Single Product


  • Education
    • Instructional Technology
      • Computers in Education
      • Computer - Based Instruction (Designing)
      • Design of Instructional Software (Courseware)
      • Message Design
      • Instructional Media and Technology
  • Business
    • Management (HR)
      • Training and Development
      • Human Resource Development
      • Performance Appraisal / Performance Management

Please list the author, title, and publisher of the main related and competing works; describe why they are not adequate to meet the need you have identified; and tell how your work would differ or be superior.

My book concentrates on practical and inexpensive approaches to gamification in the classroom. No other book that I know of does this.

Similar / Competing Works / Authors

There are few books out there currently on gamification in the classroom. This one would be targeted at educators and trainers of all sorts.

Title: Subtitle Author ISBN Publisher Pub Date Price (USD) Pages Notes
The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework As A Game Lee Sheldon, Emi Smith, Mark Hughes 1435458443 Delmar Learning 2011 37.99 256 Lee's book provides numerous case-studies, but without a lot of details. My book offers step-by-step instructions for how to gamify an existing classroom.
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education Karl M. Kapp 1118096347 Pfeiffer 2012 66.00 336 Largely focused on corporate training and top-down design. My book takes a more practical approach and is focussed on things teachers can do on their own in the classroom.
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice Karl M. Kapp 111867443X Pfeiffer 2013 66.00 480 Does have some useful strategies, but my book is more down-to-earth and practical. My book is focused on something teachers can do themselves.
Title Author ISBN Publisher Date Price Pages Notes

Potential Text Adoption

In addition to sales to practitioners and academics, some Jossey-Bass works are used as texts in college and university courses and corporate and government training courses. If your work would have such text use, please describe the level, titles, and average enrollment of courses for which it would be appropriate; the kinds and approximate number of institutions with such courses; and the competing texts.

  • This book could be used in any teacher training programs, educational technology programs - undergraduate and graduate level, corporate training, and adult education


What schedule is envisioned for preparing sample chapters (if not already included), the complete draft manuscript, and revisions of the manuscript?

Note: the colors indicate what portion is complete, except for the first entry, which shows the date of the timeline.

Other Publishers

Has the manuscript been sent to other publishers for consideration? If so, which ones? I am assuming that most publishers will have no objection to my informing other publishers who is considering the proposal.

Potential Reviewers

Name Email Affiliation Notes
Clark Aldrich Clark Aldrich Designs Well-known author in the field
Ernest Adams University of Gotland, Adams Consulting Services UK, Well-known author in the field
Kurt Squire Univ.Wisconsin @ Madison Well-known researcher and author in the field
Carry Heeter Michigan State University Well-known researcher in the field
Stephen Jacobs Rochester Institute of Technology Highly respected scholar in the field.
David Gibson Director Learning Engagement at Curtin University Highly respected scholar in the field.
Richard Van Eck University of North Dakota Highly respected scholar in the field.

Background Information

Resume, publications list, and bio available online:.

My Publications

My Resume