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On the spectrum of gamified DevEd, I think there are three main levels:

  • No gamification
  • Gamified
  • Game-based

No Gamification

This is the majority of DevEd today. Most documentation is static and plain, with no gamified elements. Even documentation sites that feature backend integration like Twilio and Stripe have no gamified features.


Gamified learning usually incorporates elements of game design, such as points, levels, challenges, and rewards, to motivate learners and help them track their progress. This is the majority of DLXP-based DevEd like academies and universities. Some documentation is starting to incorporate features like challenges, such as the new React docs.

NodeGuardians teaching web3 is gamified learning with even more mechanics inspired by RPGs like "skill trees." This leads to the next level, game-based learning.


These are educational games that teach programming or development-related topics. This is a tiny sliver of DevEd. TwilioQuest is one of the only games I've seen that teaches aspects of the product whereas nearly all other DevEd games teach general topics or are not part of a company's DevEd strategy.

The difference between the two is important:

  • Game-based learning is game-first and actually requires game design paired with instructional design.
  • Gamified learning is still a traditional instructional style that enhances the experience with gamified elements (think like a tutorial with progress tracking)

Blowing more minds and getting more leads is definitely going to be happening on the gamified end of the spectrum since all the extra elements make your DevEd more fun and increase engagement. However, game-based learning is also going to be the hardest to get right (but note that I didn't say it would take more resources – you're imagining Diablo or Halo, but a game like Wordle doesn't take much visual design chops to make).

Have a lovely day,

Gamification vs. game-based learning

What's the difference between gamified learning and game-based learning and how does it apply to creating effective DevEd?

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Hi 👋 I'm Kamran. I'm a consulting developer educator who can help your DevRel team increase adoption with better docs, samples, and courseware.
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