Gamification is the use of game design elements and game mechanics in non-game contexts. This idea has been used successfully in many web based businesses to increase user engagement. Some researchers suggest that it could also be used in web based education as a tool to increase student motivation and engagement. In an attempt to verify those theories, we have designed and built a gamification plugin for a well-known e-learning platform. We have made an experiment using this plugin in a university course, collecting quantitative and qualitative data in the process. Our findings suggest that some common beliefs about the benefits obtained when using games in education can be challenged. Students who completed the gamified experience got better scores in practical assignments and in overall score, but our findings also suggest that these students performed poorly on written assignments and participated less on class activities, although their initial motivation was higher.© 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.