This post was recently updated to reflect the 10 best educational apps for adults that use Gamification for 2023
Get ready to learn, the fun way! We have scoured the internet and app stores to find the 10 best educational apps that use Gamification for adults. See how companies and organizations are making learning languages, music, coding, art, history, and more fun and exciting for everyone!
10. TEDEd – gamified educational app to create actionable video lessons
How it works: TEDEd creates amazing, fun, entertaining educational videos for all ages to enjoy. In addition to their videos, they’ve created a web app that allows users to create video lessons that are actionable. Choose a video, add a description, add a quiz (multiple choice or open-ended), and prompt some discussion.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: TEDEd empowers educators to select a video, create their own lessons, and share it with the world.
9. Khan Academy – gamified educational app to learn anything for free, forever
How it works: Khan Academy is an educational platform where students can learn math, science, computer programming, history, and more. What makes Khan Academy standout is their mission: they aim to provide this education to everyone around the world (currently in 36 languages) completely for free forever.
They’ve accomplished some amazing results:
- Students who complete 60% of their grade-level math on Khan Academy experience 1.8 times their expected growth on the NWEA MAP Test, a popular assessment test.
- Student use of Khan Academy correlates with score gains on standardized achievement tests.
- 20 hours of practice is associated with a 115-point average score increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain of students who do not practice on Official SAT Practice.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: Khan Academy truly utilizes CD1 to motivate donors, teachers, and volunteers on its quest to accomplish its mission. Because of their mission to provide free education to everyone forever, they’ve gotten companies that have donated over $10,000,000 each.
- Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Khan Academy utilizes the power of CD5 to recognize their interns from around the world:
8. Coursera – gamified educational app to get Ivy-League education from your own home
How it works: Coursera is an online learning platform that provides universal access to the world’s best education from top universities. Universities add their courses onto the platform and students can use Coursera to pay for and take a course.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Coursera utilizes CD2 in a way that Udemy does not: it gives students the opportunity to earn their degree online.
- Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Coursera is a community driven, allowing students and teachers to collaborate and communicate while taking a course.
7. Udemy – gamified educational app for user-generated learning
How it works: Udemy is an online platform that allows educators to upload courses and for students to purchase these courses and learn online. Anyone from anywhere in the world can upload a course: you can learn anything from coding, to languages, to fashion, and even parenting.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: on the student-side of the platform, Udemy utilizes progress bars to indicate the student’s progress and to encourage completion of a course. They also dangle a trophy at the end of the course as their reward for completing it.
- Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Udemy truly excels on the teach-side of the platform. Anyone from anywhere in the world can create their own online course. They have the complete creative freedom to choose any topic and use their video editing skills to make their course stand out.
- Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: Udemy provides instructors with the chance to generate passive income.
6. Tinycards – gamified educational app for learning with flashcards
How it works: Tinycards (by Duolingo) makes learning with boring old flash cards actually fun and enjoyable through the use of Gamification. Pick a subject: language, science, movies, and start to learn with flash cards.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Tinycards makes boring old flash cards fun by adding a gamified layer on top of them. As you progress through a deck of cards, your progress bar fills up and you earn accomplishments.
- Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: You can also create your own flashcards that can be enjoyed by anyone in the Tinycards community.
5. Blinkist – gamified educational app for reading non-fiction books in just 15 minutes!
How it works: Blinkist is for the professional on the go, the person that is super busy, but that desperately wants to carve out a little bit of time to learn something new. Blinkist summarizes over 2,000 non-fiction books to give you content that you can easily digest in 15 minutes.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Blinkist isn’t using a bunch of fancy avatars or leveling up systems; instead, it focuses on making the user feel incredibly smart and effective. Blinkist is a master at utilizing CD2 to help its users read more, learn more, and become a more educated person
4. Memrise – gamified educational app to learn a language through locals
How it works: Memrise is a gamified language learning app that utilizes a myriad of gamified techniques (including over 20,000 native speaking videos) to teach a new language. Players can learn English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and many more languages. In addition, Memrise has courses for art, math, and history.
The app is incredibly fun to use. You are an astronaut, going on your journey to learn a new language! As you learn and progress, you gain in levels and your pet alien evolves as well.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Memrise uses CD2 in a myriad of ways: from earning points for completing lessons to leveling up your little alien pet, the app continuously shows the user their status and progression.
- Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Memrise has the “point and translate” mode that allows players to turn on their camera, point to an object, and get the object translated in real-time. It’s a phenomenal way to get creative and capture your own vocabulary library.
3. SoloLearn – gamified educational app to learn how to code
How it works: SoloLearn aims to gamify the way we learn how to code. As an educational app, SoloLearn naturally has lessons that teach players how to code, but that’s just the beginning. SoloLearn utilizes player challenges (players can compete head-to-head in a coding challenge and the winner earns XP), a Code Playground where players can show off the code they’ve created and get feedback from other members of the community, and a leaderboard that shows the top coders.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: SoloLearn utilizes progression, EXP, and leaderboards to drive players to continue learning to code.
- Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: SoloLearn truly shines in the way it uses CD3 to drive player engagement. Players can create their own code and apps, upload it to the playground, and have players from around the world upvote their product and even play with it. This provides immediate feedback for the player and encourages them to continue engaging with the platform.
- Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: SoloLearn has an amazingly vibrant community (their Q&A discussion forum). The community is completely gamified, allowing players to upvote topics and get EXP for answering questions.
2. Yousician – gamified educational app for learning a instrument
How it works: Yousician is a Gamified educational app to learn a new language. When you’re ready for your lesson, you turn on the app, select your instrument, and choose a lesson or song to play. The app will play the background music, display the song tutorial, and listen to you play to give you immediate feedback about how you’re doing.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Yousician is structured like a game: you start off as a beginner with easy levels (easy songs). As you progress and get better, you unlock stages that get progressively difficult and you level up in level. You can also see your progress through the in-app analytics that shows how you’re improving.
- Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: This is where Yousician truly shines. The key to Yousician is that it listens to you play and gives you immediate feedback. If you struck a chord too soon, it will visibly let you know immediately and track your progress. In addition, you can upload your own music to the app so that you can learn to play your favorite songs.
1. Duolingo – gamified educational app for learning a new language (and it’s free!)
How it works: Duolingo is a free language learning app on your mobile phone. There are a ton of languages to learn: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, and the list goes on and on. In fact, more Americans are learning a language on Duolingo than the entire American school system! It’s quite an impressive feat.
Duolingo is proud that they infuse Gamification into every lesson. From in-lesson grading, to streak counts and hearts, Duolingo has done a terrific job at making language learning incredibly fun and easy.
Why it works:
- Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: As stated in the Duolingo Manifesto: “There are over 1.2 billion people learning a language and the majority are doing so to gain access to better opportunities. Unfortunately, learning a language is expensive and inaccessible to most. We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free. Duolingo is used by the richest man in the world and many Hollywood stars, and at the same time by public schools students in developing countries. We believe true equality is when spending more can’t buy you a better education.” When you use Duolingo or pay for the premium version, you are contributing to this grand mission.
- Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Duolingo utilizes progress indicators such as daily goals and streaks to make a player feel accomplished and get them to come back for daily usage.
- Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: There is a currency within Duolingo called Lingots which allows players to buy Power Ups (such as streak freeze) and buy attire for your avatar.
- Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Duolingo has social language learning clubs within the app that encourage players to learn with each other. Although it sounds like a great idea, it’s actually implemented weakly–not much conversation is happening amongst club members, resulting in empty rooms.
- Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience: In order to play (to learn a language), you need lives. If you run out of lives, then you have to wait until you regain life to learn again.
- Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: In Duolingo, players get lives. Every time you fail a lesson, you lose a life. Run out of lives and you’ll have to wait until you can continue learning.
Conclusion: Education Gamification is here to change our future
Even with all the great examples above, this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the great education gamfiication examples. Education gamification is here to stay and here to change the world.
What about you? Do you know of any great education gamification examples that can really impact our society, not just for this generation, but also future generations to come? I look forward to learning about that in the comments!
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