Drivers and barriers to the utilisation of gamification and game‐based learning in universities: A systematic review of educators' perspectives

Danielle Lester, Gregory J. Skulmoski, Darren P. Fisher, Vishal Mehrotra, Iris Lim, Alexander Lang, Justin W. L. Keogh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


While gamification and game-based learning have both been demonstrated to have a host of educational benefits for university students, many university educators do not routinely use these approaches in their teaching. Therefore, this systematic review, conducted using the PRISMA guidelines, sought to identify the primary drivers and barriers to the use of gamification and game-based learning by university educators. A search of multiple databases (Web of Science, Scopus and EBSCO (Business Source Complete; ERIC; Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts)) identified 1330 articles, with 1096 retained after duplicates were removed. Seventeen articles (11 quantitative, two mixed-methods and four qualitative) were included in the systematic review. The primary drivers described by the educators that positively influenced their gamification and game-based learning usage were their beliefs that it encourages student interactions and collaborative learning; provides fun and improves engagement; and can easily be used by students. Alternatively, the university educators' major barriers included a lack of time to develop gamification approaches, lack of proven benefits and classroom setting issues. Many of these and other less commonly reported drivers and barriers can be categorised as attitudinal, design-related or administrative in nature. Such categorisations may assist university educators, teaching support staff and administrators in better understanding the primary factors influencing the utilisation of gamification and game-based learning and develop more effective strategies to overcome these barriers to its successful implementation. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1748-1770
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number6
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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