Gamification in Online Learning

If you are an active e-learner, you have probably heard that gamification is a stable trend in the e-learning industry. Let’s find out more about this concept and how it is used to make online courses more engaging and effective.

What is Gamification

Gamification is the practice that employs game techniques like points, levels, prizes, etc. to enhance motivation and commitment in activities and processes. The aim of gamification is to improve the user experience through dynamic and engaging activities that help to reach an increased interest of people involved.

In e-learning, gamification means applying game-like activities to online courses or training processes. It is used to increase the engagement of students and this way to help them complete more within a course. Now, gamification is even taken to the next level, such as being able to give levels, make rankings, award points and everything automatically.

How does Gamification work?

Gamified learning works by applying game-like activities, and below are the most common ones.


This technique is based on giving a reward to participants for valuable actions they perform within the learning process. For example, the more videos you watch or assignments you complete, the more points you accumulate. It also can give participants the possibility of collecting badges or prizes. E.g., a student gets a badge after completion of each topic and at the end, she/he needs to collect a list of them in order to get a certificate.

Comparisons and rankings

This technique is based on building a ranking with the participants’ performances, in order to foster a competitive spirit. This means saving the scores of all students and comparing them to your score. For example, after completing an assignment, you get a message like “You’ve done this task better than 65% of students.”


This technique usually includes a differentiation by complexity. It is usually used for coding courses that start from easier topics and go to more complicated ones. This way, a student feels the gradation and his/her progress of being able to grasp more complex concepts.


Each game has a scenario and a story behind it. This can be used to implement associative learning and by this, improve the results and engagement. Thus, an inline course can have a plot and a character that you use to complete each level.

Gamification course
Learn more about Gamification

If you want to dive deeper into what gamification is and how to implement it, take this free course by Coursera.

Benefits of Gamification in E-learning

The rise in the popularity of gamified learning means there are a lot of benefits of this technique.

  • It increases the motivation of the participants.
  • It helps to keep students’ attention for a longer time.
  • With levels and points, it allows to measure the outcomes better.
  • It helps to visualize the results of learning more effectively.
  • It creates more enjoyable learning experience.

Disadvantages of Gamification

However, there are still limitations of gamified learning, and here are the main ones:

  • Gamification can shift the focus from the learning itself to entertainment.
  • When implemented improperly, it can be more disruptive than useful.
  • It is not appropriate for many areas.

Examples of Gamification

The company offers online courses to learn STEP subjects and uses a lot of gamification techniques.

For instance, the company uses a kind of points to show your progress within a course. With each assignment, you get more points.

Moreover, there are levels of complexity employed. With each task, the complexity grows which means you need more time to think to answer correctly.

Another example of how Brilliant uses gamification is comparison. When answering a question of a quiz, you see stats of other users which is like the comparison of your results to the results of other users. When you go deeper into the course, this percent decreases which also motivates you to proceed.


This company teaches kids to code using gamification and this is a clear example of gamified learning.

CodeMonkey uses a story with the monkey as a key character. Here, you use the main character to complete the course, and tutorials with assignments are incorporated into the plot. The platform also has points to collect and level which open when you complete the task and get the points.

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