Gamification for E-Learning: The Motivating Way to Teach

By Megan Marshall, Thursday, January 20, 2022
e-learning cartoon
Photo by kreatikar on Pixabay

Electronic learning (or e-learning) has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Students, trainees, customers, and the like receive their education via a digital device, as opposed to on-campus or in the office. E-learning is advantageous because of how adaptive it is, allowing you to learn from an instructor from anywhere in the world. If your course is pre-recorded, you can also take it at any point during the day.

The solutions that e-learning provide are not slowing down anytime soon. Whether it supplies an online driving professor to help you get your license or walks you through the skeleton for anatomy class, e-learning pushes personal accomplishments. This is more specifically the case with gamification for e-learning, otherwise known as using game mechanics in non-gaming activities. Let’s consider how children and adults can both enjoy and learn from interactive content.

What types of gamification for e-learning exist?

With the advancements of technology, there are so many ways to diversify learning experiences. The goal is to find something that those you are educating are going to genuinely enjoy taking part in, rather than expecting them to study and short-term memorize information for an exam.


Gamified quizzes aren’t the typical assessments that you received in the classroom. Following a lesson, you can hold quiz competitions so that students can show what they learned. Kahoot! is a great example of this, with its colorful quizzes consisting of questions and answers you can easily import. You can choose how long each question is timed for, as well as add media to make the screen more appealing. It is a free-to-use, cloud-based tool that works on any device with a browser. Educators are provided with analytics to see where students are struggling the most so that they can tailor their lessons accordingly.


One of the best ways to engage with your learners is through storytelling. Stories help with memory retention because our brains are activated when we experience strong emotions, making us recall greater details. A compelling narrative makes the learner more hooked, even if the content itself is complicated or dry. The narrative could consist of a single scenario or several, depending on how many topics you want your students to explore. This e-learning gamification approach is best suited for organizations participating in ethics or safety training. Learners are able to work on a case and have autonomy in drawing their own conclusions.

VR gamification for e-learning

Photo by Stephan Sorkin on Unsplash


With virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), you can create the ideal situations for learning how to handle real-life problems. It is a more efficient way to practice decision-making. This gamification method can test the students’ skills by applying their learning in context. First responders use simulations to see how they would react to emergencies, while pilots in training can participate in virtual flights. VR and AR can even be used for those in the construction industry, so that workers learn how to operate heavy machinery before actively using it. The goal of simulations is to mitigate risks and reduce costs.

How does gamification encourage students?

Your success with gamification for e-learning is dependent on the planning you put into it. With a well-designed game, your learners will improve particular skills as they move toward their mastery of a subject. Here are some ways to keep them on track for success.


Develop a point system that establishes when a student will receive an award. This is a key component of game mechanics because they allow you to give feedback to the player on how their performance is going. In academic situations, particularly with math-based objectives, you can give points based on a student providing a correct answer and the correct work. Depending on which e-learning gamification approach you choose, your learners may be able to use those points to purchase upgrades or fun additions to their character. Virtual currency is a similar motivator to money in the real world.


Once a student has completed an action, they can receive a badge. This will be based on a particular performance style. Think of it like when you used to get stickers from your teacher for a job well done. An example of this is the achievement badges in Duolingo, an application that teaches you how to learn a language through engaging exercises and playful characters. With Duolingo Challenges, there are monthly, XP-focused objectives that are themed. There are specific goals that need to be hit in the course of the month in order to receive an exclusive badge. Because they can only be obtained once, time is of the essence.


Whoever has been receiving the most points or badges will make their way to the top of the leaderboard. This creates even more competition among your players. High-scorers feel validated when they are displayed in front of their peers for performing well in a game. You may even showcase winners across a few different skill set categories. However, be mindful of those who are clinging to the bottom of the leaderboards. In a long-term competition, they may get discouraged. By using a variety of short-term competitions, you give a fair chance to those who got lost in the beginning.

Is gamification the right move for your workplace?

Regardless of what industry you are in, gamification for e-learning can be a great tool because it can reinforce key procedures and concepts. Forward-thinking businesses and educational institutions can leverage gamification to measure the learner’s experience and build a stronger community.

Provide Meaningful Goals

There should always be a point to the game that your learners are instructed to play. If you are more focused on having fun than educating, you are not going to receive the results that you need as an educator. At the core of gamification for e-learning is the challenges that establish what a student needs to accomplish. There should be obstacles set in place that they will overcome to achieve their goals. Your objectives, timeframes, and progress measures need to be clear so that learners do not get confused and lose interest early on.

e-learning social learning

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Emphasize Social Learning

Social learning is important because life, in general, is social. Even though your classroom is online, there shouldn’t have to be a wall between game participants. Because your students are participating with other students, as opposed to just on their own, they get to experience some friendly competition. In the Springer Link study entitled “The Gamification of Learning: A Meta-Analysis,” it was found that learners positively respond to mild social pressure from their community. With gamification, competition is an enjoyable experience that pushes progress over feeling inferior toward peers.

Better Retain Information

Whether you are online or in-person, you need to ensure that your learners remember the information for the future. For employees consuming training materials, approximately half of them will forget what they learned within an hour. With information being presented through gamification, this statistic significantly improves. Playing games releases dopamine in our brains, which makes us retention information for longer. This means formatting your learning materials in a different way can be powerful for the ongoing learning experience. Your students should be excited about what they are learning and be able to take the taught values with them.


Gamification reinvents your e-learning. With experience in a variety of online education needs, WEBii can help create interactive quizzes and integrate your curriculum with video content. Reach out to us if you are interested in receiving custom web development for your e-learning website.

Posted in: E-learning, Mobile Apps, Web Design, WWW Learning Center

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