Top 10 Education Gamification Examples for Lifelong Learners

These gamification examples were tested by Erik van Mechelen, based on the gamification framework–Octalysis–created by Yu-kai Chou.

Education Gamification Examples for Lifelong Learning

Each of us learn every day, even if we aren’t trying to. As humans, we pick up new ideas through mimicry and even by osmosis. Well, maybe not exactly by osmosis, but it sure feels that way!

Here are 10 gamification examples from education for lifelong learners. Be sure to tell me what I missed in the comments 🙂

As before, I’ve included the ever-powerful Game Techniques along the way.

1. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is famous for its backstory. Here’s Yu-kai’s take:

In comes Khan Academy. What used to just be a guy teaching math on YouTube became a huge collection of over 3000 educational videos on math, physics, chemistry, finance, and a lot more, with millions of people learning from it. Khan Academy utilizes lots of game mechanics such as “skill-growth trees” to unlock new classes and learn new skills. Many have said that they couldn’t imagine themselves ever enjoying or being good at math, but now their world has changed, thanks to some great teaching skills by Khan, and a little bit of Gamification.

Since, Khan Academy has stretched its horizons to other verticals. The video above is a one-hour writing prep course for the SAT. One used to have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for similar test prep. If you need to learn something and can get access to the internet at a local library, you can learn almost anything from Khan Academy. The Skill-Growth Trees Yu-kai mentions above work because they give a tried-and-true path to success with step-by-step progress.

2. YouTube

Here’s a few YouTube series I learn from:

  • School of Life (literature, philosophy, history)
  • Extra Credits (game design)
  • insert your own (Let me know in the comments, always hunting for more gems!)

For me, YouTube is a collection of ideas and entertainment and news and you-name-it. Subscriptions are the collection of things we subscribe to. These are valuable enough to support and be notified when new content comes available.

My primary use-case for YouTube is edutainment, although I do occasionally watch lectures from various university professors. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I went to college 🙂 Either way, it is wonderful to have access to supplement my training and practice as a writer and storyteller.

3. Degreed

While the above video showcases Degreed for enterprise, my experience with the app is as a solo and group learner.

Degreed keeps showing up on my lists because they’d remained dedicated to achieving a place for discovering, tracking, and measuring learning.

The future doesn’t care how you became an expert.

I think this part of Degreed’s manifesto is spot on. Lifelong learning is arguably the only path to quality of life in work and play because the world is changing so fast. If you know how to learn and have the dedication to gain new skills, you can stay relevant to employers or build your own projects and companies. Otherwise, you might be left out. I made a metalearning pathway on Degreed in 2013, which was a top 10 course then. I’m also authoring a new pathway:

4. Duolingo

In the above video, a French-language learner has completed a 500-day streak with Duolingo to complete the French skills language tree.

That’s a big accomplishment for this user and for Duolingo.

Duolingo uses Evolved UI (Game Technique #37)  to give you gold-plated lessons after mastery. It also incorporates Protector Quests (Game Technique #36) on log-ins to “strengthen” your skills. Finally, Streaking (Game Technique #78) helps keep learners motivated.

I’ve even found myself intrigued by the Social Brag / Brag Buttons (Game Technique #57) of the LinkedIn integration.

5. Alexa Skills

AI and NLP and Learning! The trifecta, right?

It’s easy to see how Alexa Skills or Google or Apple equivalents could become a staple in every home.

I previously wrote about my Scaffolding experience with Audible, and see how it could develop into a relationship with Alexa Skills:

It seems I’m well on my way to the Endgame experience with Audible. I’ve habituated my listening and will either go there, to Scribd, or to YouTube for audio content. And occasionally a podcast service. That’s pretty crazy. Just three services right there.

Alexa Skills is probably going to make a huge play in convenient education. It’s just a really natural play.

6. Netflix (yes, I said Netflix)

Casual education is casual, but it still matters. Edutainment works because it entertains while educating. When your 6-12 hours of core work or learning for the day are complete, you can reward yourself with some casual learning or edutainment.

Netflix’s Alfred Effect (Game Technique #83) personalizes my experience over time while also encouraging discovery (CD7).


7. Wordsmith Email, Word a Day

Wordsmith’s Word-a-Day email newsletter has run over 23 years and is one of the longest-running daily email newsletters. I have very few email subscriptions, but this is one I will likely keep for a long time. It relies on accomplishment, creativity, and curiosity each and every day. It spreads the word through the Glowing Choice (Game Technique #28) gift of words.

In this day’s email, note the quote from Albert Einstein, a gem:

If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z.
Work is x, play is y, and z is keeping your mouth shut.

These tidbits of valuable treasure keep me opening this email nearly every day.

8. Blinkist

I’d rather read a full book, but reading a full book isn’t for everyone. That’s where Blinkist comes in.

Having read or listened to about 5 books on the app, I like it for quick takeaways and as a taste for the longer book. Sometimes non-fiction books don’t need to be read in full to be understood (at least on the surface). Blinkist helps provide this Head Start (Game Technique #39) via these summarized previews.

Helps with on-trend recommendations. Read or audio-capable. I’m curious to see how Blinkist evolves their product. I’ve found it useful to get general ideas of books, but I haven’t taken action to purchase any books they’ve recommended so far. But here I am highlighting their app, so they’ve done something right!

9. SoloLearn

Mobile-first learning will be crucial in the years ahead. The adaptability of mobile helps people learn on the go instead of being distracted by other apps or games.

While SoloLearn emphasizes your ability to learn by yourself, it also incorporates Leaderboards (Game Technique #3) to give some friendly competition (Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness.

10. Photomath

This step by step mathematics learning app incorporates a photo scanner to assist your problem-solving and understanding of computational or deep math concepts.

Like many learning apps, the app itself serves not as a replacement but as a companion for learning. In this sense, it incorporates ideas of Mentorship (Game Technique #61), with valuable accomplishment and a feeling of virtual collaboration.

I will probably mention other great Math-based learning apps in an upcoming series on all math gamification.

What did I miss?

Let me know in the comments. Until then, keep learning! It’s one of the keys to a happy life 🙂

You must engage in the conversation!!