Many university students struggle with motivational problems, and gamification has the potential to address these problems. However, using gamification currently is rather tedious and time-consuming for instructors because current approaches to gamification require instructors to engage in the time-consuming preparation of course contents (e.g., for quizzes or mini-games). In reply to this issue, we propose a “lean” approach to gamification, which relies on gamifying learning activities rather than learning contents. The learning activities that are gamified in the lean approach can typically be drawn from existing course syllabi (e.g., attend certain lectures, hand in assignments, read book chapters and articles). Hence, compared to existing approaches, lean gamification substantially lowers the time requirements posed on instructors for gamifying a given course. Drawing on research on limited attention and the present bias, we provide the theoretical foundation for the lean gamification approach. In addition, we present a mobile application that implements lean gamification and outline a mixed-methods study that is currently under way for evaluating whether lean gamification does indeed have the potential to increase students’ motivation. We thereby hope to allow more students and in-structors to benefit from the advantages of gamification.

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