The 6 Best Gamification Tools to Engage Your Learners Blog Feature

The 6 Best Gamification Tools to Engage Your Learners

While technology has had an impact on almost every aspect of our daily lives, the modern classroom has surprisingly been left almost unchanged over the last few decades (or centuries, for that matter).  In most classrooms, the teacher still covers the materials, typically out of a textbook. The learners study the materials and are tested on them. This type of passive learning has undergone little change.

However, with widespread digital reliance, (73% of Americans have computers, 68% have smartphones, and 45% have tablets) there are a plethora of opportunities to transform the learning landscape with technology.

One such opportunity is gamification of learning. This article will explore what gamification is, how it impacts learning, and some examples of real-world gamified approaches to learning.

What Is Gamification?

Does learning have to be boring? Regardless of how you may have felt in your freshman algebra class, the answer is no. Learning can be made fun with gamification.

What is gamification? To put it simply, it is transforming learning into a game in an attempt to increase retention and engagement in the process. One gamification expert defines gamification as "the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.”

Gamification takes learning from a passive state to an active state by transforming study materials into elements of a game-like activity. Perhaps at some point, a teacher played a quiz game with your classroom on terms relevant to a future test. That was a rudimentary form of gamification. Instead of feeling like you were studying, you felt like you were playing a game.

Modern gamification is the digital version of classroom memory games, using badges, points, and leaderboards to motivate users. 



What Is the Value of Gamification?

Gamification may be fun, but it holds actual value over traditional learning methods. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate the power of incorporating gamification into your learning model.

  • Using game-based motivation boosts engagement by 48%.
  • 90% of employees were more productive when they engaged in gamification.
  • 72% of people believe that gamification inspires them to work harder.

Gamification delivers value for learners in a few different ways. First, with increased motivation and engagement, learners are more likely to use these methods of study. It’s also easier to retain knowledge when you’re more engaged in the material.

Additionally, as 72% of learners are inspired to work harder due to gamification, they’re more likely to achieve their goals. It also increases competition among groups of learners. There are a couple of features that tap into the competitive side of gamified learning:

  • Badges – Learners can earn badges for accomplishments that include correctly answering five questions in a row, accruing knowledge points, or interacting with key program features such as notes and bookmarks. Badges act as rewards enticing the learner to strive to earn more.
  • Leaderboards – Leaderboards track and reveal which users have made the most progress and have the highest scores. Learners are encouraged to perform better so they too can be on the leaderboard.

Based on data collected by BenchPrep, when our learners complete around 40 assessment items, their engagement and performance levels begin increasing at a faster rate. Gamification thus leads to faster gains and greater mastery of the material.

6 Types of Games Ideal for Learners

So, what does gamification actually look like in context of a learning platform? With the following six games, you could engage learners in active learning, encouraging them to work harder and retain more material.

1. Card Picker

The object of Card Picker is simply to match side one of a flashcard to side two. While this may sound simple enough, the game increases in complexity by offering six possible matches and requiring the learner to pick the correct option. With each answer, the learner earns points for correct pairings and speed of selection. Learners also have a set number of lives, which are used up with each wrong answer. To better hone their knowledge, learners can select a specific category of flashcards.

2. Card Hunter

Card Hunter is essentially a matching game – with a twist. The game increases in difficulty as learners successfully complete each round. In round one, the learner is presented with two pairs of flashcards and they must match the correct pairs. If the pairs are matched correctly on the first try, the learner earns points and moves to the next round. If the pairs are incorrectly matched, the user loses a life and starts over with two pairs of cards.

Learners can also choose specific categories of cards to focus on, and the learning platform tracks the total amount of time it takes to finish the game, which the learner can use to compare their progress for next time.

3. Card Sweeper

When playing Card Sweeper, the goal of the game is to match each pair of cards on the board. The board begins with 16 cards, eight of which are blank. Among the other eight cards is a single successful match. If a user pairs both sides correctly, those cards disappear, a new side is added, and the remaining cards are shuffled. Among those six existing and one new cards, there is another match. The learner pairs the new match, and the process repeats.

If cards are paired incorrectly, two cards are added and all are reshuffled.  Once all the cards are matched successfully, the learner has won the game. Learners earn points based on speed and having a minimal number of attempts.



4. Card Coupler

Card Coupler is similar to the game Memory that you may have played as a child. The object of the game is to match 8 pairs of cards correctly. Before the game starts, the learner sees both sides of each card correctly. Once the game begins, the cards are turned over and shuffled. The learner then proceeds to click through the cards to find matches, trying to remember which cards are pairs and where they are located on the board.

5. Crossword

For learners that love crossword puzzles, this game is an easy and fun way to learn. The terms from the flashcards are used to create an interactive crossword puzzle. Learners use hints to come up with the terms, then filling them in on the puzzle.

Points are earned based on mode of difficulty, how many hints are used, and how quickly and accurately the puzzle is completed.

6. Sudden Death

In Sudden Death, learners test their knowledge of terms by attempting to answer as many consecutive questions correctly as possible. The learner continues on their streak of correctly answered questions until they get one wrong. The user has only one life, allowing them to continue playing. Once the life has been used and a question is incorrectly answered, the game ends. The learner can choose both a category and subcategory of practice questions, and their score is determined by how long their streak is.


With gamification comes greater opportunity for progress, and better outcomes for your learners. And, as gamification of learning becomes more widespread, the methods will only become more creative and more successful.

Want to learn how to gain a competitive advantage by digitizing your content and meeting the needs of today's learners? Check out of McGraw Hill Case Study, to learn how McGraw Hill increased engagement by 10 x by leveraging BenchPrep. 

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