SmileTutor Blog Tutors Tutoring Tips Level Up as a Tutor! How to Teach Effectively With Gamification

Level Up as a Tutor! How to Teach Effectively With Gamification

Hey look! Your student’s not paying attention to your lessons again!

Those faces don’t belong to someone who looks like they’re actually studying. Some of them are even blatantly dozing off!

Perhaps it’s your monotonous voice, or the student is plain tired from listening… Maybe it’s time to change things up! 

Ever heard of “Gamification”? Perk those ears up, because what your student needs is just a little bit of fun!

What is Gamification?


Simply put, gamification is like adding fun game parts to things we do everyday, like school or chores, to make them more exciting and enjoyable. It’s a way to turn tasks into games, so we feel motivated and happy while doing them, just like playing our favourite games.

And it’s very much applicable to your studies too! If you’d like to read more about this, we’ve actually written a more detailed article about gamification here!

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Changing Times


In a society where the average attention span has dropped to a record of 8.25 seconds this year, it’s clear that students are going to require even closer attention in order to help them focus and succeed. 

With the number getting even lower amongst the Gen Zs of our time, it’s clear that traditional learning is slowly losing its place in the forefront of the educational standard. 

As entertainment mediums become more prevalent and integrated into our lives through phone apps, smart home living and more, educators must also step up and upgrade themselves for fear of being the “outdated” ones.

A Common Misconception


There’s been a long-standing stigma on playing games, and perhaps if you’re one of the older crowd, you might think so too.

A waste of time, purely entertainment, or “you get nothing by playing games”. Many look upon games and associate it with laziness or unproductiveness, which is not unfounded. 

However, we’re here to address a distinct difference between gamification and playing games. Gamification is a process to change the perspective of how we work. In such a context, you must first be aware that it does not embody everything that defines a game. 

Instead, gamification relies on the “hook” that makes games addictive and engaging, not the content of the games itself. Remember, we’re here to have our students treat homework like a game! 

Sounds like a tall order? Well, let’s see if it works!

How Can I Apply Gamification to my Lessons?


Let’s talk about applications! How do you get started?

Plan Out Your Material


Well to gamify something, you’ll have to identify your learning objectives first

You want to make your lessons more interesting. So plan it out, what’s the priority? What are the phrases, formulas that are important to memorise? What do you want your student to remember the most at the end of your lesson?

What you want to do is to compile the key information or material this way in level of importance. This way, you are able to allocate appropriate time for each agenda.

Gamify Your Lessons

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Next, you align the information using the various gamification techniques discussed above. Here are some examples to how you can implement gamification this way:

1) Points and scoring – Track your student’s individual scores based on their test results. 

For example, English can be dissected into various sections. How well are they faring for listening comprehension? Synthesis? Visual text comprehension? 

Set grades based on the average, so that they can get an idea of what to improve on. 

2) Challenges and quests – Set a goal for your student to reach, and quantify their progress in a percentage, making it easier for them to visualise how much more they have to study.

3) Rewards and incentives – Keep it simple. Set expectations for your learning outcomes, and possibly test results. When the student is able to meet them, you can reward them with something. It can be an inexpensive item like a new pen or eraser, so long as the act of “being rewarded” is experienced.

4) Feedback and progress tracking – At the end of each session, communicate with your student on their progress. What did you observe that is good about the student? What are the areas of improvement? How far are they from their learning outcome? 

Staying updated on their studies allows students to feel more motivated, so that they can voice their doubts and questions without feeling like you’re on the wrong page of their level of understanding.

Communicate Well


The profession of a tutor is often laced with challenges in communication. After all, tuition is oftentimes a crutch or a desperate measure to bring up a student’s grades. Given that they may have learning deficiencies that are not adept for a normal school environment, gamification also has a risk of not being effective!

When approaching your student with such a novel learning method, be sure to let the student and their parents know. Be patient when teaching and conveying your lessons in a “fun” way. If the student still finds difficulty in learning, exercise patience! After all, gamification is a process that’s meant to make studying enjoyable!

Constantly give positive reaffirmations to cement the idea of progression, however small. The effects of a student who enjoys studying will pay itself tenfold! You would rather have your student proactively seek the answers rather than have it explained to them like you would before.

The process of turning difficult material into part of a puzzle piece to solve can work wonders within the student’s mind, and they may even unlock potential that they didn’t realise they had!

Do Not Stray From the Topic


And finally, do not deviate from what you’re supposed to be teaching! Gamification sometimes runs the risk of being too overzealous in explaining concepts through game elements. 

For example, you may spend too much time on a single agenda for the day’s lesson. What was supposed to be explained in a minute or two, is stretched to five, ten minutes just over explaining.

Another common mistake would be to explain too much about how the gamification element of your lesson works, that your student somehow puts in more time and effort into understanding how the ‘game’ works. 

When you’ve come to your senses, you realise that your students haven’t even gotten to what they’re supposed to learn! Putting the cart before the horse, that’s a big no-no!

In short, keep things simple, the ‘game’ part of the lesson must not be distracting so that your student can properly focus on the lesson.

Conclusion: A Need to Adapt to Modern Learning

Games have since evolved from its predecessors and have taken many forms over its time. Today, games are bridges to good storytelling, worlds to capture powerful, ambient music, and one of the most effective ways to send a positive message to the world.

You as a tutor are the gateway to learning. If your student finds themselves lost to their inability to cope with classroom learning, try something new and refreshing for a change! Use the influence that games have on our minds.

More music, more pictures, more… games!

So level up! Do not settle for mediocrity. If your student is struggling with your lessons, step up and make the change! Bring the fun to your students, and make your lessons more effective today! 

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.