When gamification is mentioned, it is often about adding playful elements to traditional teaching formats to make the learning process more motivating (cf. Landers et al., 2018). For example, badges, points and leaderboards are introduced in digital learning platforms such as Moodle. Collecting badges and points as a reward for learning progress and success can encourage deeper and faster engagement with learning content.

Such simple gaming elements can also be used in non-digital classrooms, for example by offering special rewards for good homework, by having teams compete for the best presentation, etc. There are now also many apps that offer full gamification of certain learning processes, e.g. to train programming skills. In general, gamification has the desired effects on learner motivation, behavioural change and the acquisition of knowledge and skills (Sailer & Homner, 2020).

Game-based Learning

In contrast to simple forms of gamification, game-based education uses entire (learning) games to achieve specific learning goals (Deterding et al., 2011). The spectrum ranges from analogue board, card or dice games to role-playing, simulations and digital games.

Many games, some of which are commercial, can have valuable learning effects without being used in a learning setting. For example, the board game "Monopoly" (originally "The Landlord's Game") was developed by Elisabeth Magie Phillips to educate people about the dangers of monopolistic land ownership. The term game-based learning refers to the many ways in which people can learn while playing games for fun (c.f. Becker, 2017).

In a narrower sense, however, game-based teaching is about how games can be used profitably in the classroom, i.e. in formal education. Serious games, simulations or simulation games can be used for this purpose, i.e. games that are specifically designed to achieve certain learning outcomes.

Uses at Leuphana


At Leuphana University, for example, the educational game "CO-BOLD" was developed to raise students' awareness of the ethical risks of artificial intelligence. Meta-studies have shown that such serious games can often be more beneficial than conventional teaching methods (e.g. Wouters et al., 2013). However, appropriate conventional games can also be used, such as LEGO bricks or Actionbounds.


With Actionbound it is possible to create digital scavenger hunts, quizzes or educational tours for students. As a tool for gamification and game-based learning, Actionbound can help to enhance learning and increase student motivation. The scavenger hunts, also known as "bounds", can consist of a variety of elements such as quizzes, tasks, surveys, etc. and are designed for both individuals and groups of students.