Understanding the difference between Gamification, Simulations and Serious Games
I came across an article by Linda King of G2G3 that succinctly delineates the differences between the terms Gamification, Simulations and Serious Games. This is a timely article as many clients contact Caspian Learning using these terms interchangeably (even in the same sentence). Read Linda’s full article on the G2G3 blog: http://bit.ly/LKtU5o
A summary is here:
Gamification is all about applying game elements (the ‘DNA’ of games) to non-game activities. It’s about making ‘normal’, day-to-day activities more compelling. Gamification leverages ‘game mechanics’ such as points, levels, badges and achievements to create engagement and interest.
Simulations are real and immersive games which offer an experiential educational experience. Simulations place people in a risk free environment which supports their engagement in an authentic experience which contextually demonstrates benefits and consequences.
Serious games use traditional gamecraft techniques (for example video game technology, Kinect, strategy) around serious concepts such as business, education, environmental or social issues.
In practice most serious games will based upon and use simulation as the dominant method of learning transfer. There may be a handful that are not, such as a Tetris like game that may improve visual search skills that may be transferred into performance on other tasks like air traffic control or bank trading screens. But in most serious games the student will practice the task / content of the domain.
If you are interested, I have a presentation on simulation/game distinction here http://slidesha.re/gkPkXF
What terms we use to describe them may change depending upon who we are talking to. It’s funny, for corporate clients they prefer the term simulation even though many implementations include a lot of game mechanics. In the military, the term simulation refers to realistic models of behaviour only and they are happy with the game based learning term.