Background and Objectives:Despite the emergence and advancement of new technologies and, consequently, the change in lifestyle in recent decades, education systems have maintained the same traditional method of education and have not changed according to the characteristics of the digital generation. Meanwhile, digital generation features have been effective in learning-teaching approaches. One of the most important and recent developments in the field of modern technologies is the use of gamification, that is, the use of game elements in non-game contexts. Gamification is using game mechanics, game aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate them, and promote learning, and problem-solving. The use of game elements in educational environments has been found in developed countries and even in developing countries as a special place to face current educational problems. The purpose of this study was to review the studies in the field of ‘Gamification in e-learning’ and to present the content analysis of this field and its effectiveness in education.
Methods: A systematic search of articles was done in February 2018. After searching the databases Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and Emerald with keywords Gamification, gamify, and gameful and also online, web, tutorial, module, e-learning, electronic, and e-course, and based on input criteria, 60 relevant articles were selected in this study. The selected articles were analyzed in terms of game elements, gamified e-learning courses, and the purpose of the articles.
Findings: Target population in this reviewed article included high school, secondary school, and elementary school students, and also university students from a variety of disciplines, including Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, Business Management, Building Engineering, Computer, Informatics, Library and Information Sciences, Psychology, Journalism, Construction Engineering, Nursing, and Tourism. In these studies, the effectiveness of gamification on learning various educational topics such as the programming languages, English language, data structure and algorithm, mathematics, economy and politics, psychology, informatics, physics, German language, medicine, and biology, have been studied. The effectiveness of gamification on participation/engagement, learning, motivation, anxiety, peer assessment, collaboration, website optimization, cost reduction, and faculty load were among the subject areas studied in these articles. Effectiveness of game elements on behaviors such as leaderboard on anxiety, point on motivation, leaderboard on learning and engagement, half-anonymity avatar on motivation and engagement and, avatar on motivation are among other topics covered in these studies. Furthermore, a few research has been done on determining the game elements affecting learning and motivation, the possibility of predicting the game elements suitable for different users, and gender differences in dealing with gamification. The game element point, leaderboard, badge, levels, challenge, and feedback were used more than other elements. Other elements of the game used in educational environments include avatar, progress bar, social sharing, unexpected rewards, time limit, freedom to fail, currency, missions, and rules/goals. The number of game elements used in these studies varies. In some studies, only one element of the game has been used, and in other studies, two, three, or even more elements of the game have been used and evaluated.
Conclusion: The results indicated the effectiveness of gamified e-learning environments to increase learning, engagement, and motivation of learners. This result is due to the features that are at the heart of gamification; because gamification leads to a change in behavior and extensive learning experiences.
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