I am delighted to see that I’m not the only one noticing that “gamification” of education, in the popular jargon, seems to be equated with rewards and badges.
The most basic mistake is thinking that people play games for external rewards like points and badges, whereas in fact people play games because games are intrinsically fun or rewarding. The points are just a way of keeping score, an almost incidental add-on to the process. Sudoku has no points, for instance, but that hasn’t stopped millions from playing.
There’s some thoughtful discussion in the comments of Ferlazzo’s blog post.