4 awesome examples of gamification in elearning

Gamification is a word with a lot of baggage! Maybe you hear it, roll your eyes and think “buzzword”? Or perhaps it sounds a bit daunting to you? The truth is, there are loads of ways to incorporate games and gaming elements into your elearning. Read on for a few inspiring examples of gamification in elearning.

gamification featured image

Elearning gamification examples – best practice

When it comes to gamified elearning, it’s not usually about designing a full-blown video game. It’s about taking elements that make games engaging, motivating or educational and incorporating those into the learning experiences you design. Elements such as:

  • Story
  • Visual design
  • Competition
  • Challenge
  • Reward
  • Feedback

Here are four examples of gamification in elearning that show different ways to incorporate some or all of these gaming elements.

1. A timed quiz pits the learner against millions

If you need data but are struggling to engage users, take inspiration from this Open University example. The quiz contributes valuable data to facial recognition research, but from a user perspective a few simple features present it as a game. It manages to be fun and engaging, but also academically useful.

timed quiz screen shot

Why it works:

  • It cleverly sets up the challenge from the outset: a “could you be…” question instantly implies the “goal” of the game
  • The element of competition is also flagged early on: 3 million people have had a go – join them, maybe even beat them!
  • Bold colors, simple language and eye-catching graphics draw the user in more quickly than a traditional invitation to participate in research would
  • Although each question is essentially the same, the user is kept engaged and motivated to continue to the end as no feedback is given in-play
  • The questions get progressively more challenging but the time available remains the same – an important game mechanic in terms of keeping people engaged
  • After the score and feedback, there is an invitation to share it with (and compete with) friends via a social media button, increasing the reach of the research

Click here to play the game


2. A gamified quiz with badges to motivate

When does a quiz become a game? Perhaps when visual rewards and badges are introduced alongside basic point-scoring, or maybe when a timer introduces an element of competition. This gamified elearning example does both of those things, as well as demonstrating several different question types.

Gamified quiz with badges screen shot

Why it works:

  • Using a range of question types (all available in Elucidat), even audio questions, makes this feel more than just a quiz
  • It strikes a good balance between giving the user time to think and using timed questions to add a layer of competition
  • The learning journey involves two goals: to score lots of points, and to win badges (here presented as on-theme Christmas baubles)

Click here to go to this example

gamification guide elearning

3. Scenario + game elements = sales simulation

This demo shows how simple gaming mechanics can be cleverly applied to a scenario-based approach. The result: a realistic learning environment that really resonates with salespeople.

Sales simulation screen shot

Why it works:

  • The sense of competition and urgency created by the game mechanics is relevant to the subject, with real life scenarios reflecting a fast-paced, target-driven sales floor
  • The user isn’t controlling a character; they are the character – so the stakes feel higher and the game can be more directly transferred to the workplace
  • It’s a low-cost audio-driven simulation and a great demonstration of achieving gamification in corporate training without huge expense

Giftable | Click here to go to the demo


4. A story-led life-saving game

This multi-award winning solution stands the test of time as a great example of gamified elearning. What makes it stand out is the combination of gaming principles with immersive storytelling and strong characters.

Story led life saver game screen shot

Why it works:

  • This first-person game throws the user into a high-stakes situation where their decisions are literally life and death choices
  • Each decision is timed, which is a common game mechanic, but in the context of this subject matter it’s also very authentic
  • It’s multi-device and uses the native features of each device (practicing CPR is done via touch on an iPad versus using keys on a desktop)
  • Multiple gamification techniques are used – each decision point means points to win, and in turn, levels are unlocked as the user progresses through the scenario

Click here to play the game


These four examples show that including gamification in elearning doesn’t have to be daunting. Gaming elements such as points, badges and levels can – with a little thought – add an extra dimension to your online courses that will help engage learners and make your content stick. For more info on how to really win at gamification in elearning, check out these 6 practical tips.

If you’re looking for more tips and examples check out our  Guide to elearning design best practice.

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