PRESS RELEASE: Gamification and Gametize-powered app increase engagement by 60% in SMU’s pilot group

First SMU module gamified to increase engagement and interactions among students in a pilot implementation shows encouraging results. 94% of students want to see more modules gamified. The Gametize-powered app is designed by four students, facilitated by their professor, Dr Rani Tan. 

SINGAPORE, 6 Aug 2014 – In early 2014, Singapore Management University (SMU) and Gametize Pte Ltd co-produced a pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building (LTB), a core module for freshman students. Gametize CEO Keith Ng, a head teaching assistant in LTB five years back, tapped on this opportunity to improve engagements between students. It was first proposed in early 2013 to his mentor, Dr Rani Tan.  After a year of planning, the GameLead app was made available on both web and mobile platforms. Lessons became more interactive and inclusive with the introduction of the app. GameLead became a success with SMU’s LTB teaching staff and students alike, with 94% of students recommending the use of GameLead for future classes of LTB.

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Gamification is the application of game mechanics and psychology to non-game context, in this case, learning. A gamified experience will ignite interest and build motivation during class, with the goal of instilling lessons as lifelong habits.

GameLead is an app for students by students. The game structure and content were wholly designed by four Teaching Assistants (TA), senior SMU students who had taken the LTB module. With the aid of head lecturer Professor Rani Tan, the TAs were able to design a gamified experience with the course content. LTB students were given a large degree of freedom as there were no deadlines to quests’ completion. Additionally, students can influence their peers by voting on others’ answers, through viewing an activity feed of submitted responses by other classmates. The app facilitated active class participation, as well as enabling SMU and Gametize to collect feedback about the module.

To provide an immersive gamified experience, GameLead consist of challenges for the students to act upon. A series of simple challenges, such as photos, quizzes, and videos prompted students to reflect on and apply what they have learnt in class. Group activities involving discussions and photo challenges were also introduced to bolster social interaction. With every successive lesson of LTB, an additional quest (group of new challenges) was made available for the students to attempt. Supplementary content, such as videos, were provided in weekly ‘bonus quests’ to help students learn better. The students commented that content introduced through videos was interactive, interesting, and relevant to the theories learnt in class.

A core goal of Gamification is to instil strong intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Rewards such as points and progression acted as extrinsic drivers for challenge completion. The option to choose prime presentation slots is an example of extrinsic drivers.


To experiment with the expectations of extrinsic drivers, students of one of the classes (G1) were explicitly informed that using GameLead (or not using it) will not deliver bonus marks/penalty to their grades (other than logging participation in class discussions, which was a crucial assessment at SMU). The TA left the information dubious deliberately at another class (G3). In the end, G3 had the highest challenge completions, compared to G1’s lower activity, showing the importance of extrinsic rewards to get users on-board or not.However, the provision of a point-based leader board did resulted in some students engaging in unwanted behaviour of not completing the game, seeing that they were nowhere near the top.

“GameLead is an evolution of traditional classroom learning. Through the use of digital technology, lessons can be made more interesting and interactive. The challenge is to find a balance between motivation and rewards” says Keith Ng, CEO of Gametize. “Thanks to the innovative team at SMU, we are able to conceptualize a unique learning pedagogy. From the successful pilot and enthusiastic response of students, we are encouraged to bring this app further.”

GameLead was designed to solve the problem of motivating and engaging students beyond the classroom, by providing a seamless and engaging experience through Gamification. Survey results revealed that over 60% of students felt more engaged through GameLead, demonstrating the pilot’s success. Gamification in education is a fairly new concept. With the success of GameLead, SMU and Gametize are set to develop a second edition with an enhanced storyline and reward system.

The press release can be viewed here.



About Singapore Management University
A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is internationally recognised for its world class research and distinguished teaching. Established in 2000, SMU’s mission is to generate leading edge research with global impact and produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy. It is known for its
interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes.


The pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building is helmed by the following Professor and Teaching Assistants:

Professor Dr Rani Tan has been teaching undergraduates at SMU, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, for almost a decade. She is also actively engaged in conducting a HRM module at the Master’s level for the School of Information System and does executive education at SMU. Besides her passion for teaching and coaching, she is also a trained counsellor and is very much involved in voluntary work in the wider community, especially in the area of mediation for the Community Mediation Centre, Ministry of Law in Singapore.

Leon Lim Jun Yang is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Information Systems Management. He is very passionate in the area of leadership studies and strongly believes that learning can be made fun.

Joel Koh Yong Kiat majors in Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship in SMU. He believes in holistic learning and is the founder of The platform offers people the easiest way to learn and discover new experiences.

Patricia Anne Carthigasu is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Social Sciences, majoring in Political Sciences. She believes in developing and harnessing the leadership potential in students to inspire social change in our society. She strongly believes in providing students a holistic, value-based education; and that learning should never be confined to the classroom.

Tay Weng Yew is a second year undergraduate at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and a regular serviceman of the Singapore Armed Forces. His passion lies in leading teams to serve the community and believes that the world is everyone’s classroom.


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (3rd and final episode)

Welcome the third installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in learning, and how to improve the problem of focus.

Welcome the third installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in learning, and how to improve the problem of focus. 

This week, we’ll be giving you the scoop on our final 2 smart ways through which you can make learning more engaging and fun with gamification. If you’ve missed out on our earlier tips, don’t fret! Keep up to speed here with our first and second posts respectively.

Tip number 6: Focus

urlFocus on the content, design, process, and pedagogy. Technology is just an enabler here. Gamification channels focus by automating important functions of the learning agenda. For e.g. A self-serve gamification platform like Gametize lets you manage the game flow, point system, levels, and rewards for the benefit of user engagement. It also manages the platform technology for learners to act upon (quizzes, passcodes, taking photos), freeing up your time and expertise to focus on delivering quality learning content.

The user analytics and metrics provided allow you to narrow down and focus on what problem areas you’d like to improve on specifically. The issue of engagement in learning, for instance, is linked to the problem of knowledge acquisition. Gamification can work to solve either of these issues, but starting small with what area you’d exactly like to improve would be of great benefit to you in the long run.

Tip number 7: Repetition 

motivation-feedback-action-loop“Practice makes perfect”. The wisdom underlying this adage is that repetition allows learners to apply or test what they’ve learnt, gain feedback on their performance, and re-apply their newfound knowledge.

The intrinsic human need for self-improvement will encourage the learner to measure proficiency and iterated improvement by completing the same quiz, questions and practical tasks. Here, repeated tasks can be made less monotonous by exercising some creative license with wordplay, or a simple change in context. Another way is to introduce varied feedback, e.g. in the form of badges, to reward the user for repeating the same activity.

Voila, and bearing in mind I just advocated for “repetition”, here is a quick recap of all seven deadly tips to make a killing with engagement in learning with gamification!

1. Applying gamification is not the same as making a game. The former fulfills the problem of engagement without distracting the learner from his/her true learning objectives.

2. Give timely feedback to let learners know where they are in their learning journey, and the next steps they should take moving forward.

3. Empower your learnersTheir involvement in their own learning process ensures that learning becomes proactive.

4. Capitalize on social dynamics to add weight to a learner’s personal achievements

5. User experience trumps everything. Always keep the motivations of the learner in mind.

6. Focus your energy on creating a comprehensive and effective learning program for your class or audience, through use of technology.

7. Encourage repetition to reinforce learning by encouraging your learners to constantly reapply their knowledge, and gain feedback.

If there’s only one lesson that you can take away from this series, gamification is a strategy to bring fun, engagement and clever design back into otherwise tedious activities in life, not a means to escape from them. At the heart of the matter, you’d want create a truly meaningful learning experience for your audience or class, one that expands beyond the classroom and into the larger experience of learning. Cheerios, and have fun making fun!


This blog post is the third and final installation of our weekly 3-part series,  7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification. We’ve based this series on our whitepaper, Corporate Learning: Making it work with Gamification. If you’d like to receive a copy of our white paper, please go to

Missed out on our first 2 posts of this series? No worries! Read more about our first and second posts respectively.


This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (Part 2)

Welcome the second installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, you’ll learn about the benefits of user empowerment, how to leverage on social networks, and the fundamental importance of user experience. 

If you have seen my previous post sharing two tips on improving learning with gamification, welcome back! Else, hello there, its not too late! I’ll be discussing three more smart ways that you could use gamification to simplify any learning agenda, and boost engagement with your class.

Tip number 3: Empower your target audience

Can you recall some of the *worst* learning experiences you’ve ever had to sit through? Such experiences were probably  felt mechanical, rigid, and offered absolutely no room for growth. To summarize: they were downright b-o-r-i-n-g.


Bringing empowerment back with gamification ensures that learning doesn’t fall into the trap of being a one-way street. This can be introduced through simple but effective means such as allowing your students to gain access to learning material when they wish, respecting different viewpoints offered and truly listening to their feedback. You should also look to integrate methods such as these into existing learning systems for greater engagement in the long-run.
By valuing your students’ contributions, learning becomes a proactive endeavor that’s much, much more enjoyable for everyone.

Tip number 4: Capitalize on social dynamics

Social networks lend considerable weight to the feedback we receive. For instance, badges earned by employees through Deloitte’s Online Leadership Academy act as both a sign of personal achievement, and of an earned business credential. For this reason, the badges earned proved very useful to showcase on professional networks such as Linkedin.

badgeville-behavior-platform_SCREENSHOT_Thu Feb 28 00-16-35 MST 2013

The figure illustrates a user’s profile, showcasing their progress levels, points and achievements. 

To weigh in on the power of social dynamics, make sure to draw clear parallels between your learning material/ agenda and a greater collective culture and its aims. This could be to meet a certain business objective, or helping your students achieve a particular social goal.

Tip number 5: User experience trumps everything

Creating a winning user experience requires a keen understanding of your target audience, and an acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone is motivated by the same things, and that everyone learns things in a different way, and at a different pace.

Optimize your learning agenda by introducing a measure of flexibility into activities and procedures. Do this by catering to multiple motivations and suppling your learners with a range of rewards so that they always feel included. For some, the value of gamification could be as simple as giving them a clearer picture of their learning progress. Others may derive enjoyment from social features that lets them discuss their views with their peers and mentors.

Well, dear reader, that’s all for this week! Do tune in for our final installation next week, where i’ll be telling you more about our last 2 tips to gamify learning: creating focus in the classroom, and the importance of repetition.


This blog post is the second installation of our weekly 3-part series,  7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification. Next week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in game-play, and how to improve the problem of focus. Seeya then! 

Missed out on our first post? Read more about it here!


This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (Part 1)


Welcome to the first installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! In this post, you’ll learn about the fundamental differences between gamification and games, and the importance of giving timely feedback to your audience. 

Learning anything can feel like a bitch of an uphill battle, for anyone. Lucky for you, we’ve got the perfect solution! That’s because it’s simple, and most elegant in its delivery. See, that’s the beauty of gamification. Simply put, gamification works because it gets straight to the heart of what motivates people, finds out what sticks, and uses it to mould a fun and effective experience. So if you’ve ever had a tough time learning anything, or need to create an effective learning experience for an audience… Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll be sharing with you 7 smart ways for you to apply gamification for learning for your student audience. Feel free to apply them however you see fit, but remember this: the gems of gamification shine brightest if applied correctly, and intelligently.


Tip no. 1:  Applying gamification is not the same as making a game.

The key thing with gamification is to understand what motivates your audience, and to correctly apply elements found in games (points, challenges and levels) to pique interest and keep them on their toes. On the other hand, games (read: Candy Crush/ Flappy Bird) simply aren’t optimized for the learning agenda. In the virtual worlds that they create, it’s easy for users to get distracted by all that flashy, gimmicky jazz that technology has to offer. Sooner than you’d expect, users have been led far off the learning trail and into a dizzying pursuit for special powers and extra lives.


For an effective learning experience, an intelligent application of gamification will work to keep your campaign fresh and fun, while staying true to the aim of acquiring knowledge.

Tip no. 2: Give (timely) feedback

Feedback acts as the fundamental navigational tool that tells us where we currently are, and what we’d need to do to get to our desired goal. Acting on timely feedback also provides users with a sense of moving forward, and some mastery over their learning journey.

An effective gamified learning experience should offer your learners immediate feedback on whatever actions they’ve just accomplished, be it answering a question or offering a suggestion or two. Points-based interfaces can also be used to reward your learning audience for their effort as well as performance.

feedback-loop (2)


Well dear reader, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about our first 2 tips for gamifying learning. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this fun and highly informative video detailing the benefits of gamifying education, courtesy of the Extra Credits team, after the footnotes below.

This post is the first installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With GamificationNext week, I’ll be giving you 3 other tips; the low-down on the benefits of user empowerment, leveraging on social networks, and the fundamental importance of user experience. Stay tuned! 


This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng