For the love of the game: roundtable on gamification

During REFER 2019, the opening panel allowed experts to share the game's success factors: the narrative, collaboration, game culture, objectification and progression.

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The Rendez-vous Francophone des Écoles en Réseau is an annual event where the sharing of practices and activities carried out in class is in the spotlight. It is under the theme of The school in play (x) that the 2019 edition of the REFER allowed participants to be inspired to develop their practice.

The very first panel of the event Different perspectives on play in learning allowed expert panelists to share what they consider to be the success factors of a game. After a presentation of their experience and what led them to this game world, Stéphanie Dionne, from École branchée, presented invited each of the participants to share the winning conditions so that the game comes to life and is fun and effective in terms of learning.

The panelists

Coming from different backgrounds and disciplines, each of the panelists brought their own flavor to the discussion thanks to their career, expertise and achievements, each more varied than the next.

David Bertrand, secondary school teacher and founder of Science bunker offers a place where participants must complete several missions in a post-apocalyptic context in order to rebuild humanity through science.

Christelle Quesnel and Émilie Lebret are teachers and designers of educational escape games. In a philosophy of mutualisation, the site Escape 'n games was created in September 2018 and is fed by several collaborators.

While he was a student, Benjamin Lille wondered a lot about educational innovation in history. He worked in order to involve the students in the construction of the story using the game Minecraft and, on the other hand, in order to get them to develop their skill in design thinking in creating their own game.

Shawn Young, high school science teacher, founder of the classroom and learning management environment Classcraft, a modular platform for teachers to enable students to experience educational situations such as “adventure in which you are the hero”.

The success factors of the game

During their discussions, the experts noted several factors that promote the success of a fun learning experience:

Narrative frame

From the outset, David Bertrand argues that the script is a very important element that allows the student to enter the game. Positioning the student in an unknown situation where he is deprived of instructions promotes the development of its tolerance for ambiguity.

Collaboration and coopetition

According to experts, a model of non-competitiveness should be favored. By promoting the establishment of a meaningful and meaningful collaboration, everyone plays their role in order to succeed in the mission at hand.

Game culture

Thanks to play, the fact of experiencing the relationship to error differently allows the student to accept it better, and even to play down failure. The latter is accepted more easily since it is expected.

“To learn is to take risks and go wrong. "- Benjamin Lille

Debriefing, objectification and reinvestment

Feedback on the playing period is essential, it is at this point that we consolidate the learning, that we take a step back to position ourselves. It is even possible to lengthen the life, the playful "momentum" even if the game situation is over by looking back on the lived experience.


According to Shawn Young, constant progression is a metaphor for learning. Some types of games allow you to evolve continuously, without losing points. Thus, the student is invited to adopt a growth mentality and a position of lifelong learner.

Finally, it is important to point out that the game has an indisputable impact on the players. Research on the subject has made it possible to identify effects, in particular on motivation, commitment, inclusion, academic results, and the use of technology in the classroom. What is more, the experts present noticed the effects on the person in terms of leadership, risk taking, change of perspective, taking charge by the student actor, pleasure, collaboration as well as culture change at the classroom and even school level.  

“Just because you're having fun doesn't mean you're not learning. "- Benjamin Lille

To watch the full panel, visit REFER's YouTube channel.

To find out more, several resources are available on the subject:

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About the Author

Julie R.-Bordeleau
Former teacher and mother of a military family of 4 boys, Julie R-Bordeleau is an alternative learning guide and author. She loves discovering new educational and holistic resources and approaches that allow her clients to learn and develop in different ways, depending on their needs. Its website, its newsletter and its services are dedicated to adults who are changing the world in their own way, whether they are parents-educators, parents or professionals.

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