Reconceptualising gamification: play and pedagogy

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Gamification is a complex and controversial concept. It has been both embraced as a marketing and education revolution, and dismissed as practice of exploitation. Contested within the debate around gamification has been the very concept of what a game is, what the core mechanics of games are, and whether gamification truly mobilises these core mechanics. This paper will challenge the foundation of this debate through reconceptualising gamification not as a simple set of techniques and mechanics, but as a pedagogic heritage, an alternative framework for training and shaping participant behaviour that has at its core the concepts of entertainment and engagement. In doing so it will recontextualise current practices of gamification into a longer and deeper history, and suggest potential pathways for more sophisticated gamification in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-333
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Culture and Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • gamification
  • exploitationware
  • play
  • pedagogy
  • game mechanics
  • engagement

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