Digging a little deeper into the concept of gamification, I think there are actually two types of gamification. The first type is Structural Gamification and the second is Content Gamification
This is the application of game-elements to propel a learner through content with no alteration or changes to the content itself. The content does not become game-like, only the structure around the content. The primary focus behind this type of gamification is to motivate the learner to go through the content and to engage them in the process of learning through rewards.
An example would be a learner gaining points within a course for watching a video or completing an assignment where the assignment or video had no game elements associate with them other than the fact that the learner received points for watching the video or completing the assignment.
The most common elements in this type of gamification are points, badges, achievements and levels. This type of gamification also typically has a leaderboard and methods of tracking learning progress. As well as a social component where learners can share accomplishments with other learners and share what they have achieved. Although, it is possible to add elements of story, characters and other game elements to structural gamification the content does not change to become game-like.
This is the application of game elements and game thinking to alter content to make it more game-like. For example, adding story elements to a compliance course or starting a course with a challenge instead of a list of objectives are both methods of content gamification.
Adding these elements makes the content more game-like but doesn’t turn the content into a game. It simply provides context or activities which are used within games and adds them to the content being taught.