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Making Gamification Easy for the Professor through "Lean Gamification": Theoretical Foundation and Empirical Evidence

Many university students struggle with motivational problems, and gamification has the potential to address these problems. However, using gamification currently is rather tedious and time-consuming for instructors because current approaches to gamification require instructors to engage in the time-consuming preparation of course contents (e.g., for quizzes or mini-games). In reply to this issue, we propose a “lean” approach to gamification, which relies on gamifying learning activities rather than learning contents. The learning activities that are gamified in the lean approach can typically be drawn from existing course syllabi (e.g., attend certain lectures, hand in assignments, read book chapters and articles). Hence, compared to existing approaches, lean gamification substantially lowers the time requirements posed on instructors for gamifying a given course. In this project, we seek to establish the theoretical foundation of the lean gamification approach and obtain empirical evidence for the potential merits of the approach.





  • Essink, J. 2018. Motivationsfördernde Push-Nachrichten als Mittel zur Kundenbindung: Ein Literaturüberblick, Bachelorarbeit, Universität Paderborn
  • Olschewski, M. 2018. Motivieren durch Ranglisten: Ein Literaturüberblick, Bachelorarbeit, Universität Paderborn
  • Hanxleden, R. 2018. Gamification und Lernmanagement-Systeme: Ein klassifizierender Überblick über Anwendungen in der Praxis, Bachelorarbeit, Universität Paderborn
  • Cawalla, J. 2017. Gamification in Smartphone-Apps: Analyse von Verbreitung und Wirksamkeit am Beispiel von Apps zur Motivationssteigerung, Bachelorarbeit, Universität Paderborn
  • Maciejok, M. 2016. Authentifizierungsverfahren einer mobilen eLearning Plattform aus Nutzer- und Anbietersicht, Bachelorarbeit, Universität Paderborn


Summer Term 2015
  • Initial idea created at the Start-up Weekend Paderborn
Winter Term 2015/16
Summer Term 2016
  • First prototype available for Android and iOS
Winter Term 2016/17
  • Pilot studies at Paderborn University: Methoden der IT-Investitionsbewertung (Prof. Dennis Kundisch), Forschungsmethoden in der Wirtschaftsinformatik (Dr. Thomas John), Empirische Managementforschung (Dr. Behnud Mir Djawadi)
  • Main improvements: No registration required, status levels of learning activities extended from “no tick”/”tick” to traffic light (“red”/”yellow”/”green”)
Summer Term 2017
  • Pilot studies at Paderborn University: Grundlagen der Corporate Governance (Prof. René Fahr), Organisation und Unternehmensführung (Prof. Bernd Frick)
  • Main improvements: Additional screen “task overview”, change from ionic 2 to ionic 3 framework, A/B testing functionality, design overhaul, anonymous ranking
Winter Term 2017/18