13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
March 11th-13th, 2019 — Valencia, Spain
L. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, I. Candel Torres
Depósito Legal: V-247-2019
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IMPLEMENTATION OF GAMIFICATION STRATEGIES FOR THE
ENHANCEMENT OF DIGITAL COMPETENCES
Angel Torres-Toukoumidis1, Mario Maeöts2
1Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (ECUADOR)
2University of Tartu (ESTONIA)
Transforming the learning process through strategies and tools dedicated to reinforcing experiences,
producing commitment, unifying tasks and being fun and persuasive will generate changes in the
particular needs of the educational context. In fact, gamification is presented as one of the catalysts of
educational potential based on the application of play elements affecting motivation and knowledge
apprehension. This research aims to deepen in the suitability of incorporating gamification on the
learning process for que acquisition of digital skills. Thus, in this research is examined the disposition
of gamification within the global framework of references to digital skills  organized into 7 areas and
subdivided into 26 competencies: browsing, searching and filtering data, information and digital
content; evaluating data, information and digital content; managing data, information and digital
content; Interacting through digital technologies; sharing through digital technologies; engaging in
citizenship through digital technologies; collaborating through digital technologies; netiquette;
managing digital identity; developing digital content; integrating and re-elaborating digital content;
copyright and licenses; programming; protecting devices, protecting personal data and privacy;
protecting health and well-being; protecting the environment; solving technical problems; identifying
needs and technological responses; creatively using digital technologies and identifying digital
competence gaps; computational thinking; Operating specialized digital technologies for a particular
field; Interpreting and manipulating data, information and digital content for a particular field. The
methodology used is based on the application of a questionnaire to 50 experts in educational
technologies from Europe and Latin America, obtaining as a result that there is greater convenience in
the implementation of gamification for the development of the following digital competencies:
collaborating through digital technologies, managing digital identity, programming, engaging in
citizenship through digital technologies, sharing through digital technologies and protecting health and
well-being. In conclusion, it is evident that the use of gamification for the development of digital
competencies is mainly focused on the areas of safety, communication and collaboration. It is
therefore recommended to formalize designs of gamification interfaces that address these issues.
Keywords: Gamification, digital literacy, Delphi method, interaction, digital competences.
The development of the digital ecosystem and new trends in information consumption has involved the
formulation of new literacies with the aim of facilitating the acquisition of a set of skills, knowledge and
attitudes, that people need in order to function within the Information Society. These include media,
informational and digital literacy, each contributing to the democratization of knowledge and the need
to cope with the mass emergence of ICTs. Precisely, media literacy has been oriented towards the
critical formation of new audiovisual content transmission systems , while information literacy
encompasses knowledge, practices and skills aimed at the use of new tools for the recovery and
handling of information conditioned by the personal, institutional and social context . Finally, digital
literacy, the object of this research, is presented as a set of competencies aimed at developing
instrumental skills, seeking, selecting, organizing, using, applying and evaluating information,
effectiveness and ability to share, creativity and problem solving, security, identity, in short, it is based
on the use of technology, critical understanding and creation and communication of digital content .
The new current technological scenarios towards which contemporary education is directed, make
literacy no matter how elementary it is shown, whether it has to be digital or multimedia. Meanwhile,
valuing teacher recognition and the progressive implementation of digital literacy in curricular design, it
has meant the incorporation of a multiplicity of pedagogical techniques and strategies aimed at its
apprehension, among which flipped classroom , project-based learning , cooperative learning ,
problem-based learning , gamification , among others.
Proceedings of INTED2019 Conference
11th-13th March 2019, Valencia, Spain
As for gamification, a technique analyzed in our research, it is defined as the use of game design
elements in non-game contexts . Although it is the best known and least explicit definition of all, in
which it is omitted to delve into the particularities of the game design elements and their purpose. For
its part, another of the most popular definitions within the academic field states that "Gamification is
using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action,
promote learning, and solve problems"  mentioning both the elements of game design and the
functions of gamification. Under this context, gamification is based on a series of principles, which in
this particular case visualize the six principles of user-oriented efficiency .
According to this analysis, any gamification process needs to specify a set of principles that efficiently
guide the user experience. This is the only way to materialize a set of phases that satisfy the process:
1 Freedom of choice: Give the user the freedom to act voluntarily, allowing them to deactivate
functions and participate in the gamification experience.
2 Benefits and Meanings: The influence of gamification must be relevant to both creators and
users, through components that motivate them. Otherwise, the use of the system will not
produce any influence, therefore, no benefits will be obtained.
3 Personalized experience: The system must act on different user profiles to trigger acts that
demonstrate general acceptance.
4 Long-term interaction: Interactions change. Here it is important to consider motivational
5 Unwanted side effects. Inducing stress, giving the feeling of lack of credibility and privacy,
subjectivity with rewards, are factors that can play against gamification systems.
6 Legal and ethical issue: There is a legal context about data, privacy and user interests that must
These principles contribute to the possibility of issuing a gambling process that has as its priority the
safeguarding of the interests of those who participate towards a common goal. Basically, gamification
occupies two variables within its principles that allow the creation of specific emotional experiences in
1 Interaction: Also defined as feedback. Basically, it is about participants communicating and
receiving a response to their actions. Regardless of whether it is done with other players or with
artificial intelligence, the gambling process has to incorporate the exchange of information.
2 Motivation: From it comes the fun, the commitment of the players for an activity, the
entertainment, the freedom of choice. Motivation is part of the human cognitive process that
stimulates learning and, therefore, the ability to connect with an activity. Motivation is and must
be a necessary and prevailing element in the design of the gambling process.
1.1 Gamification in education
According to the results of the application of gamification in the educational context, it is considered
that effectively, the transformation of the learning process through strategies and tools dedicated to
reinforce experiences, produce commitment, unify tasks and that in turn is fun and persuasive has
generated positive changes in the particular needs of the participants .
With respect to the fields of study, gamification began to be applied within the field of informatics and
information technologies , and progressively there was also an incursion into disciplines derived
from social sciences such as psychology  or those derived from experimental sciences, including
mathematics and biology .
Similarly, incorporating gamification into learning has involved the formation of three particular
approaches. Therefore, structuring ideas on this subject can be summarized as follows:
entrepreneurial, empirical and theoretical.
• Business: Projects based on a freemium business idea, adding game elements to motivate
participants and increase profitability: Khan Academy, Coursera.
• Empirical: Field research related to playing elements in education, in which it is possible to
measure the usefulness of gamification components in the educational services provided ,
new guidelines are also proposed based on the results of gamification experiences .
• Theoretical: Conceptualizations , models  and strategies  linked to education are
taken into account, coinciding in the educational potential of play elements to change behavior
and promote learning.
Indeed, gamification is a practical system that provides quick solutions with which the user
progressively learns through a rewarding experience . In addition, in the educational context,
gamification is kept on a path of growth and experimentation predisposed in the different learning
modalities, including the presence-based, blended and online modalities, with the purpose of
motivating the apprehension of knowledge through the change of attitude in people's behavior .
1.2 Gamification in digital literacy
The emergence of virtualization, technological literacy, and the need to deepen knowledge has implied
the extension of tools that promote digital skills in students in order to train in a collaborative way in
problem solving. Among these tools, gamification classification is presented from the perspective of
pedagogical renewal and updating, being a relatively new concept within the teaching-learning theme
produced in parallel with the development of new technologies. The link between gamification and
digital literacy, is proposed from two approaches, in the first gamification and leisure activities has
been used as a tool to establish pedagogical strategies approaching users towards the acquisition of
digital and informational skills  both for secondary students  and higher education teachers
, specifically this link has facilitated the understanding of lexical and mnemonic principles of digital
grammar, digital navigation, network operation, determination of the communicational environment
and critical evaluation of content .
While in the second approach, gamification and leisure activities are proposed as an object of study in
digital literacy, that is to say, games form part of the current technological ecosystem in which the
training of users in the knowledge society has an impact. Meanwhile, recognizing that interaction with
playful platforms generates an influence on players when determining ways of thinking and affecting
cognitive skills , these must be taken into account in the assessment and promotion of digital
In order to limit the variables corresponding to the link between gamification and digital literacy, the
first approach has been predisposed towards the use of gamification strategies to promote the
teaching of digital competences, thus building the solid bases for their formal integration.
The general objective of this study is to analyze the suitability of incorporating gamification on the
learning process for the acquisition of digital skills. The following specific objectives have been
• Reviewing the disposition of gamification within the global framework of references to digital
• Evaluating the convenience of the implementation of gamification for the development of digital
competences according to educational technologies experts.
For the first specific objective it is worth mentioning that although there are multiple frameworks aimed
at developing digital literacy competencies ,  , the choice of the Global Framework of
Reference on Digital Literacy Skills  is justified by its current validity when it was published in 2018
and because it is a global study carried out by UNESCO, a supranational organization legitimized by
195 countries. This framework is organized in 7 areas and 26 competencies:
Table 1. UNESCO Digital Literacy Global Framework 
Devices and software Operations
Physical operations of digital device
Software operations in digital device
Information and data literacy
Browsing, searching and filtering data, information and digital content
Evaluating data, information and digital content
Managing data, information and digital content
Communication and collaboration
Interacting through digital technologies
Sharing through digital technologies
Engaging in citizenship through digital technologies
Collaborating through digital technologies
Managing digital identity
Digital content creation
Developing digital content
Integrating and re-elaborating digital content
Copyright and licenses
Protecting personal data and Privacy
Protecting health and well-being
Protecting the environment
Solving technical problems
Identifying needs and technological Responses
Creatively using digital technologies
Identifying digital competence gaps
Operating specialised digital technologies for a particular field
Interpreting and manipulating data, information and digital content for
a particular field
The framework used by UNESCO is based on The Digital Competence Framework 2.0  adding 2
new areas each with 2 new competencies, specifically devices and software operations and career-
related competence. Both are correlated. The first of these, although approaching information literacy,
aims to ensure that the user generally identifies and knows how to use hardware and software,
recognizing the advantages of their operability, while career-related competence refers to the use and
interpretation of digital tools within each specialized field.
As for the second objective, 50 experts in educational technologies were selected, the experts
selected to answer the questionnaire are doctors and researchers from the departments of applied
technology education and communication belonging to the University of Huelva-Spain-, University of
Cantabria-Spain-, University of Coimbra-Portugal-, Università di Torino-Italy-, Katholieke Universiteit
Leuven-Belgium-, Saint Cloud State University-United States-, Tecnológico de Monterrey-Mexico-,
Universidad Politécnica Salesiana-Ecuador-, Universidad Luis Amigó-Colombia, Universidad de la
Habana-Cuba- and Universidad Metropolitana-Venezuela to the convenience of implementing
gamification for the development of digital competences. In the first instance, to determine the number
of experts selected, one of the most cited researches in media literacy  was used as a reference,
which likewise incorporates 50 experts from Europe and America to construct the dimensions and
indicators of this subject. Under this heading, the 50 experts questioned answered 27 questions based
on a 3-point Likert scale questionnaire about the degree of agreement: 3-agree; 2:
unsure/uncertain/neutral; 1-disagree. In total, 26 questions were about the implementation of
gamification as a strategy for the development of each of the digital competencies, while one question,
and in this case the last of the 27, referred to the degree of agreement on the use of the Global
Framework of Reference on Digital Literacy Skills  to connect gamification with digital literacy. It
should be noted that next to each question a blank space was proposed for experts to optionally
express their views on the link between gamification literacy and each competency.
Table 2. Example of the question’s items
1. Information and data literacy
1.1 Browsing, searching and
filtering data, information and
digital content with gamification
1.2 Evaluating data, information
and digital content with
1.3 Managing data, information
and digital content with
The questionnaire was applied from October 15 to November 15, 2018 to experts from Spain,
Portugal, Italy, Belgium, United States, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela, generating
the following contributions.
After evaluating the results obtained, it should be mentioned that there is a high degree of agreement
among experts in linking the Global Framework of Reference on Digital Literacy Skills  with
gamification classification, thus obtaining a positive response of 98% of those surveyed. Only one of
the experts commented on the need to make a comparison between the different digital literacy
frameworks analyzing the suitability of applying gamification in digital competences. In spite of this, the
competencies that received the greatest degree of agreement regarding the use of gamification
strategies for their teaching are the following: collaborating through digital technologies, managing
digital identity, programming, engaging in citizenship through digital technologies, sharing through
digital technologies, and protecting health and well-being.
3.1 Collaborating through digital technologies
The 92% of the experts surveyed agree on the suitability of gamification and use digital tools and
technologies for collaborative processes and for co-construction and co-creation of resources and
knowledge. Some of the comments made show that gamification enhances teamwork and group
cohesion through proposed challenges and feedback of the solutions obtained. Likewise, gamification
offers the opportunity to establish networks of collaboration and consensual decision making
motivated by a group reward.
Basically, there are a series of gamification platforms that invite collaborative work, among which are:
Duolingo, Tango Card, LevelEleven and so on.
3.2 Managing digital identity
Second, 86% of experts believe that gamification affects competition aimed at creating and managing
one or multiple digital identities, to be able to protect one's own reputation, to deal with the data that
one produces through several digital tools, environments and services. The gamification grants the
advantage of motivating the personalization and the creation of avatars fulfilling the search to reach a
social status and a representation of the person with the purpose of promoting the sensation of being
inside a social circle.
Among the gamification experiences that incorporate the idea of identity are GamEffective, Classcraft,
Byju's and Bounty Tasker.
Considering that programming is inherently embedded in gamification . In this case, 82% of the
experts agree to add gamification in this process, in fact, there are already experiences  in which
the use of gamification mechanics for teaching programming is exhibited by applying the PBL system
(points, badges and leaderboards) together with levels and restrictions that facilitate student
As for programming, gamification can be seen in Treehouse, Codecademy, Code Hunt, Dungeons
and Developers, Ruby Warrior, Hack n Slash.
3.4 Engaging in citizenship through digital technologies
The 78% of experts recognize that gambling can boost participation in society through the use of
public and private digital services. To seek opportunities for self-empowerment and for participatory
citizenship through appropriate digital technologies. Among the gaming elements promoted by
gamification in this context are feedback, levels, reward systems, challenges and random elements
. In short, gamification allows for the configuration of an active citizenship that makes decisions
and is actively involved in public policy programs geared towards digital technologies, especially
young people, who will face the orientation of future public policies.
Regarding the following indicator, the commitment of citizens through gambling can be observed in the
following experiences that combine e-participation: Love Your City!, OldWeather, DoGood ,
3.5 Sharing through digital technologies
Admitting that this competition concentrates on sharing data, information and digital content with
others through appropriate digital technologies acting as an intermediary, to know about referencing
and attribution practices. The 74% accept their link with gamification, essentially arrange alliances and
meetings for common purposes, build teams, support interaction in chats, appoint ambassadors,
influencers who sponsor good practices and finally are awarded rewards for inviting and sharing
actions that could benefit the use of digital technologies.
The new technologies have facilitated the exposure and the interweaving of contents between digital
platforms, which is why the gamification is evident in applications such as: Evoq Engage, Rise and
3.6 Protecting health and well-being
The problems caused by the excessive use of new digital technologies, among which are visual
problems, obesity, depression among others can be prevented through the use of gamification .
The 72% of the experts agree with this premise, some of them have commented that gambling
stimulates physical activity and breaks with sedentarism, they even express that gambling has been
applied in preventive campaigns producing greater interest on the part of society and changes in
Finally, the protection of health and well-being has also been specifically highlighted in gamma
applications, among which are: Loseit!, Mango Health, CaféWell, Blue Shield California, Ayogo,
Reflexion Health, Cohero Health, Pact, HubBub, Cog Cubed, Fitocracy, Zombie Run! among others.
The information addressed our research demonstrate that safety, communication and collaboration
are the areas of digital literacy that have the greatest attachment to learning with gamification
strategies. In addition, the interactive trend produced by the incorporation of gamification for the
development of digital competencies is seen as an opportunity to generate an active engagement
learning through a constructivist approach. .
The use of multiple mechanics from game elements tends to create greater motivation among
students , thus impacting on the acquisition of digital skills. In sum, this study has achieved the 2
specific objectives through the questionnaire applied to the 50 experts. The first of the analyzed
objectives states that the use of frameworks can be used to determine the gamification disposition. In
the second instance, although the 26 (100%) digital literacy competencies are over 50% agreed for
the implementation of gamification, there are 6 competencies that are over 70%: collaborating through
digital technologies, managing digital identity, programming, engaging in citizenship through digital
technologies, sharing through digital technologies, and protecting health and well-being, which are
more suitable for the potential application of gamification. We recommend that future researchers
apply gamification empirically in each of the above-mentioned competencies in order to measure its
effect on digital literacy.
This work has been prepared within the framework of Alfamed (Euro-American Interuniversity Network
for Research in Media Competencies for Citizenship), with the support of the Coordinated R&D&I
Project "Media Competencies of Citizens in Emerging Digital Media (Smartphones and Tablets):
Innovative practices and educommunicative strategies in multiple contexts" (EDU2015-64015-C3-1-R)
(MINECO/FEDER), and the "Media Education Network" of the State Program for Scientific Research-
Technical Excellence, State Subprogram for Knowledge Generation (EDU2016-81772-REDT),
financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Ministry of Economy and
Competitiveness of Spain and the first Games Laboratory of Ecuador GameLab UPS.
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