As a precursor to the development of a gamified system to improve learning outcomes, we investigate the perception of important stakeholders, namely learners, on gamification in learning. However, as gamification is a relatively new approach/term, we neither assume that learners are knowledgeable about it nor do we attempt to explain the term in detail to them. Instead, we focus on common elements between gamification and learners’ gaming experience, to determine how learners perceive these game elements. This understanding of learners’ perception on the matter will aid in the later development of a gamified system for learning.

In this work, we survey 51 undergraduate IT students to obtain their perceptions on game elements such as points, leader boards, player profiles, progress bars, and achievement badges. We then analyse the responses and suggest how these game elements can be used in a gamified system for education.

It was found that undergraduate students have a positive perception of gamification and are interested in its use for learning. They expect that gamification will make classes more interesting and will improve the learning environment. Students also believed gamification would be beneficial by assisting them to improve their understanding of course material.

Our results also indicate that points and leader boards promote competition, and that points and player profiles (which includes the tracking of performance statistics) can be used to provide users with performance feedback. Students perceive progress bars as motivators to complete tasks while achievement badges are perceived to motivate task mastery. Given these results, we recommend that gamified learning systems should have a strong focus providing different types of feedback to learners, especially feedback related to progression.