Engaging Strategies: Gamification

What is Gamification?

Gamification is “the process of adding game elements or mechanics to an experience to increase engagement or enjoyment” (Wright, n.d.). These game elements can include any of the following: timed activities, leaderboards, digital badges, rewards, or points. 

How is Gamification Engaging?

The purpose of gamification is to implement game elements in non-entertainment contexts to promote learning, and gamification of learning has shown positive effects on cognitive, motivational, and behavioral learning (Sailer & Homner, 2019).

Gamification-based assessments into online systems helped improve the students’ learning motivation and perceived learning, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. During the post-pandemic phase, the game quiz could also be used in blended learning or traditional face-to-face classes. 

Engaging platforms that you can use are:


Kahoot! is an online “game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes.” Players answer on their own devices (either a computer, phone, or tablet), while questions are displayed on a shared screen. In addition to live games, you can also send Kahoot challenges that players complete at their own pace – for example, for homework (Kahoot!).


The following are examples of how Kahoot! can be used in your course:

Reviewing Course Material

Kahoot! can be used to review a previous lesson or for a future assessment. Throughout the game, you are able to see the number of students who answered each question incorrectly. If the majority of the class answers multiple questions incorrectly, you are able to stop the game and clarify any misconceptions or confusion. 

Examples of Kahoot questions are:

  • For a history course: TRUE or FALSE… George Washington was the first president of the United States of America.
  • For a math course: View this link that shows an example of an equation question on Kahoot! (Kahoot!)

Checking for Students Understanding of the Material Presented

Kahoot! can be a great way to check for understanding at either the beginning, middle, or end of class. A brief 3-5 question Kahoot can be created for students to answer. This will provide you with immediate feedback.  

Examples of Kahoot questions are: 

  • For any course (English, history, biology, etc): Ask questions about the assigned readings given to students. 
  • For a physics course: Visit this Duke University page for an example of how Kahoot might be used in a physics course: Kahoot! as Formative Assessment

These are the types of questions that can be created

The types of questions that can be created range in the free and premium versions. For example:  

Included in the free Kahoot! version: 

  • Quiz: multiple choice question – present question and answers 
  • True / False: Present a statement which students then mark as true or false. 

Included in Premium Kahoot! version: 

  • Open-ended questions: faculty write questions and enter the correct answer. Students offer an answer that is supposed to match whatever the faculty member has entered. 
  • Puzzle: faculty offer a question or assignment involving a proper order of answers that students need to arrange. 
  • Poll: faculty enter statement or question with answers or views and the results are offered by percentage 
  • Word cloud: open-ended question that does not have a given correct answer.


Jeopardy is a game which consists of students answering questions that are divided into different categories. Students compete against each other to achieve the highest number of points. They do this all while being timed. Jeopardy can support them in mastering the course material in an engaging way. 

The following are examples of how Jeopardy can be used in your course:

Reviewing Material and Checking for Student's Understanding of the Material

For examples of how a Jeopardy board can look like for a biology or business course:   

Jeopardy Labs Biology questions   

Intro To Business Jeopardy Game! 

Download a Powerpoint template that you can edit to your liking. Once completed, present the Jeopardy game to your students! 

Quizlet Live

Quizlet Live is a collaborative classroom game that students can play together from their own devices. They can use it while in the same classroom or while studying from home. Once logged into the game, students are randomly assigned to a team.   

In the game, teams work together to match terms and definitions.  Quizlet Live keeps track of correct responses and adds up the scores for all the participants to see. The team with the highest score wins the game. Quizlet Live focuses on accuracy over speed. If a team answers a question wrong, they have to start over from the beginning. This will however, allow the students and yourself to know what is needed to focus on in order to achieve mastery. 

The following are examples of how Quizlet Live can be used in your course:

Assessing Students Understanding of Key Terms/Vocabulary Discussed in Class

  • For a psychology course: students can practice vocabulary focusing on the important individuals in the field such as Piaget, Freud, and Vygotsky. 
  • For an anatomy/physiology course: students can practice vocabulary focusing on 10 major systems in the Human Body (e.g. Muscular, Cardiovascular, Skeletal Systems.)

What faculty have to say

Successful engagement strategies

“Pair work has been effective for me, especially to get students thinking about a reading/prompt before sharing with the whole class.”
“…the reward aspect could be effective, e.g. extra points on your essay for the top 3 winners.”
“You could use [Kahoot!] to test whether they did the reading, which could lead to discussions.”
“In the class I can walk around and ask questions.”
“The Duolingo system gets people to engage w/o grades. Check it out!”

Additional strategies shared by faculty

  • Start Zoom sessions with questions and give them time to answer
  • Encourage students to  chat in Zoom sessions
  • Relate course content to to students’ lives
  • Use interactive, entertaining videos or film clips from YouTube or other video platforms
  • Have students create fun, course-specific memes

Works Cited

Sailer, M., & Homner, L. (2019). The Gamification of Learning: a Meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 32, 77-112.

Wright, C. (n.d.). Game-based Learning vs Gamification: What’s the Difference? https://blog.mindresearch.org/blog/game-based-learning-vs-gamification