How Is Gamification Being Used In The Edtech Sector?

Joshua Stoneham
April 28, 2023

Gamification in learning could be the next big trend that education providers can utilise. This style of learning could be a vital tool in increasing learner engagement and completion rates of training and inspire learners to seek development opportunities proactively. 

But how does gamified learning work, and how is it being used to promote positive learning outcomes in the edtech sector?

What is gamification in teaching and learning?

Gamification is an approach to learning that adds an element of competition or reward to the learning process. This could be in the form of offering points or rewards for right answers, adding in a scoring system, or setting up learning in a way that has a level system similar to the ones seen in video games. 

Shifting the focus from styles of learning that place a strong emphasis on listening or watching a teacher for extended periods is another key approach of a gamified learning experience. Instead, more importance is placed on learner-led experiences that focus on short bursts of learning followed by engaging tests. 

The main goal of gamified learning is to engage the learner, with the aim being that the learner will retain more information than if they interacted with a more traditional form of teaching.

Examples of gamification in learning

Learners can currently access high-quality, gamified learning through a wide range of apps and websites. Whether it’s learning a new language or getting to grips with coding, there are many different ways to access this innovative style of learning. 

Hack the Box

Hack the Box is a platform that allows users to learn about cybersecurity and ethical hacking in a gamified environment. With hundreds of ‘hacking labs’ users can interact with, the idea is for learners to gain an understanding of cybersecurity in a fully gamified space. 

Speaking to Tech Crunch, the CEO and founder of Hack the Box, Haris Pylarinos, said, “Our mission is to create and connect cyber-ready humans and organisations through highly engaging hacking experiences that cultivate out-of-the-box thinking.”

This approach to learning has garnered success, with the platform currently hosting 1.7 million users. Hack the Box uses a subscription model that can allow individuals to access the platform or packages that L&D professionals can use to train entire teams within a company. 

Skill sets in tech often lend themselves to a gamification model. For example, those working in cyber security, coding or working as an IT technician are often solving issues and using their learning in a practical way, not dissimilar to how a game will set a challenging goal and then encourage the player to get to the bottom of it. Hack the Box takes this idea to the next level by setting up scenarios of varying difficulty that encourage learners to use their theoretical skills in a practical environment. 

With the UK, US and Australia seeing large shortfalls in tech-related talent, the success of learning platforms like Hack the Box demonstrates the power gamified learning can have in driving learners to upskill in tech. Other industries that are struggling to upskill their staff to fill in shortages could be encouraged to use this style of learning as well.


The language learning app Duolingo has been a huge success story, with 4.2 million users at the end of 2022, and has established itself as a household name in gamified learning.

Duolingo uses a level system that encourages learners to get to grips with their chosen second language through interactive guessing games and chatbot conversations. This model allows users to learn and test as they go, and users can choose specific topics to learn more about.

The app encourages daily use, rewarding users for completing ‘streaks’ of multiple consecutive days of learning. Designed to be a fun learning activity rather than a chore, Duolingo blurs the line between game and learning experience. 

Becoming the world’s most downloaded language app in 2022, Duolingo proves that gamified learning is becoming the preferred method of foreign language learning. Education providers, especially those within the second language space, could also benefit from the excitement and high levels of engagement Duolingo has received from embracing a gamified learning method.


Set up in 2012, Kahoot has made waves as one of the most popular choices for user-generated quizzes and is used by over 9 million teachers annually. Using a simple format where users can set up personalised, interactive quizzes that can be accessed virtually, the platform has proved to be a useful engagement tool for teachers to use with learners. 

The core idea at the heart of Kahoot is to create a fun and engaging learning experience. By giving users a chance to create interesting quiz content that focuses on any area they choose, it can be used to help learners engage with subjects in new ways.

The platform is another example of how eager students are to access quiz-based learning and how it can be used as an effective tool to boost engagement.

What lessons can providers learn from these examples?

Each of these examples demonstrates the power that gamification can have in learning. With millions of people using these gamification platforms, it’s clear that this style of learning is appealing to students.

For providers who are keen to boost engagement and enrolment, gamification could prove to be a useful tool. Engaging with students in this way can help them apply and test their knowledge in a practical way, all whilst working in a virtual environment. 

For online providers that are looking to increase the interactivity of their courses, a gamification model could be a great way to get learners to interact with course material in a fun and engaging way. During periods of low student urgency, gamification could be a powerful tool to tempt learners into engaging with and enrolling on courses.

Gamification is an innovative and exciting approach to learning that providers could use to increase enrolments and improve engagement levels. 

Learning lessons from some of the biggest providers of gamified learning is a great way to get inspired and think about the different ways in which you as a provider can adapt your course content to suit a gamified model. If you’re looking to reinvigorate your content, gamification could be the way to level up and drive your courses further. 

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Joshua Stoneham
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