Using Gamification to Develop Students As Strategic Thinkers – A Qualitative Perspective


  • Michael O'Brien University of Limerick
  • Yvonne Costin University of Limerick



gamification, e-learning, strategic thinking, decision-making, business simulation


The use of gamification as an instructional strategy has gained significant attention in recent years as a way of increasing student engagement and motivation. Gamification involves the application of game design principles to non-game contexts, such as higher education. One area in which gamification has shown particular promise is in developing students' strategic thinking abilities. This qualitative study explores university students' post-module reflections on their experience of working in teams over the course of a seven-week intensive postgraduate business analytics simulation module. Reflections were analysed using thematic analysis to identify common themes and patterns with respect to students’ strategic thinking in terms of decision-making. The study findings strongly suggests that gamification, particularly the use of business simulations, can be an effective tool for developing students' strategic mindsets, in terms of the process for decision-making, impact of critical incidents, the lessons they learned and corrective action taken, along with the role of the team itself.