Lee Sheldon made a presentation about how students can play to learn during classes. Unlike traditional classes where students begin with the maximum grade and get penalized by every mistake they make throughout the term, Sheldon proposes this approach where students start with 0 experience points and get more as they progress. Students are encouraged to learn from failure (they can retake tests) and are also graded by attrition (even attending classes counts!). As a result, they seem to be more engaged, to retain more stuff and to learn faster. Interestingly, this approach does not necessarily have additional costs. Giving extrinsic rewards, such as prizes, to students may spoil their intrinsic motivation to study. You can watch the talk here, on YouTube.
I know this is not new, but only now I got the time to watch the whole thing. I found it very interesting, specially when Sheldon says he hates the concept of gamification (or maybe “pointsification”?). At some extent, his experiments look like gamification to me.