Image of the definition of gamification

What is gamification?


The formal definition of gamification is the use of game mechanics, dynamics, and frameworks to promote desired behavior in people (Lee & Hammer, 2011). Gamification guru, Gabe Zichermann, defines it in simpler terms: “Gamification is the process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage users” (Zichermann, 2012).     

In the context of training, game mechanics refer to the external or extrinsic rewards—the different actions, behaviors, and control mechanisms that designers use to “gamify” training. They consist of points, levels, challenges, virtual goods, leaderboards, gifts and charity, and so forth. Game dynamics mean the internal or intrinsic satisfaction that people get from doing activities that result in status, achievement, self-expression, competition, and altruism (Bunchball, 2010).

Gamified training produces results     

Using game mechanics and dynamics together can create a compelling employee experience that fosters participation, sharing, interaction, and learning. Designers that specialize in creating a customized gamified training program use both game mechanics and game dynamics to create the most effective outcomes. By engaging employees, encouraging them to join a community, driving active participation, employees become fans, and some even become evangelists (Bunchball, 2010).      

Recent research at Stanford University at Hope Lab showed that games affected players motivation in ways that reading and lectures could not. The Kaufman Foundation found that gamification can affect educational outcome by over 100% as compared to the best possible lecture at 17% increase in educational outcome (Zichermann, 2012).


Bunchball. (2010). gamification 101. Retrieved December 2, 2012, from

Zichermann, G. (2012). Getting started. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from