Best Ways to Gamify Your Online Course

15 Best Ways to Gamify Your Online Course 2023

by Helene Thituson | Latest update: Feb 3, 2024

It’s no secret that online courses are becoming more and more popular every day. What used to be reserved for only the most dedicated students is now a viable option for anyone looking to learn new skills or improve their knowledge.

Find out the ways to gamify your online course.

But one challenge of online learning is keeping students engaged and motivated.

Luckily, there are many ways to gamify your course and make it more fun and interesting for students!

In this post, we’ll explore some of the best methods for gamifying your online course and make your students achieve goals.

What Are the Best Ways to Gamify Your Online Course

Here is my vetted list of the best gamification ideas that you can start experimenting with today.

1. Progress Tracking

If you’re looking to add a bit of gamification to your online course, then you’ll want to start by implementing a progress-tracking module. Progress tracking is a simple concept.

Progress bar for your online course

Most people feel motivated when their achievements are acknowledged, even if the achievements in question are fairly minor.

By implementing a simple progress-tracking module in your course, you can let your students track their progress and see themselves moving incrementally towards their goals.

2. Gradually Increase the Challenge

As an online course creator, you want your students to succeed. One way to create a smooth students learning experience is by gradually increasing the challenges they face.

A smooth learning curve helps them stay on track and achieve mastery without getting frustrated along the way.

3. Points

It’s no secret that people are motivated by rewards.

Give out point in order to gamify your course

If you’re looking to keep your students engaged, you need to gamify your course by adding points and putting them front and center.

By doing so, you’ll keep your students hooked and eager to learn!

4. Urgency & FOMO

As a course creator, you should pay attention to the power of urgency and how it can help you get more people to complete your e-learning courses.

Most platforms ignore this fact of life, but just add a little urgency to your course and you’ll be amazed at how much more will get done.

You can encourage more people to finish them. Isn’t that the goal? Getting more people to complete your course?

5. Community

As a course creator, it’s important to know how to gamify your online course in order to keep students motivated and on track.

One way to do this is by creating a powerful community right from the very first moment.

Create a community for your online learning

Just like “gym buddies” help us to keep going to the gym when we would have given up, a great community can help students stay motivated, on track, and taking action.

When students feel connected to a community, they’re more likely to stick around (and continue paying for your course). So if you want to keep your students engaged and motivated, focus on building a strong community from the start.

6. Celebrations

Keep your course students motivated and engaged you may want to consider implementing milestone and achievement celebrations.

Player milestone & achievement celebrations are a favorite feature in virtually every single video game. And it’s for good reason: we love being celebrated for our effort, especially when it’s unexpected.

Celebrate your steps

But typically, courses don’t celebrate us for anything. In fact, your only “win” for hitting a goal is usually yet more work. And that’s demotivating for students, and can drive them to quit your course.

7. Variable Rewards

A recent study found that the average learner is only engaged in 50% of their online courses. That’s a lot of lost potential! But there is good news. You can increase engagement and motivation.

The key is to use “variable rewards.” Variable rewards are a key element of games and social media that make them so addictive. When you give learners a small reward at random intervals, they become engaged and motivated to keep going.

8. Social Proof

People love social media. They watch likes and shares closely and discuss anything and everything online.

Part of this is for social approval. One way to do this is to incorporate fun ways for your students to get important social approval & feedback and have a little fun too. This will help keep them motivated and on track.

9. Badges

There are many different ways that badges can be used in an online course.

For example, you could create badges for each module of your course. Students would then earn the badge by completing all of the tasks in that module.

Badges inside your online elearning

Alternatively, you could create badges for specific tasks or goals that students can earn as they progress through the course.

10. Personalization

When you personalize the learning experience, you make it unique to each student.

This means that the course content is tailored to their specific needs and interests. It also means that the course platform responds to their actions and provides them with a customized journey.

This type of personalized learning is incredibly addictive and engaging, and it’s one of the reasons why people love playing games so much this will keep students coming back for more.

11. Incrementally Unlock Content

When designing online training, you’re faced with two options: drip-feeding content over time, or providing access to the whole course at once.

These two approaches have their own advantages and drawbacks. But gamification opens up a third option which can be the best of both worlds.

The third way is to limit access to new lessons/modules until the previous one is completed.

This ensures that students don’t feel overwhelmed and keeps them on track. If you find that students are struggling to keep up with the pace, you can add deadlines for completing assignments.

Having a definite timeframe will motivate students to stay on track and finish their courses.

12. Allow for Second Chances

Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has to learn from them. That’s why it’s essential to provide students with opportunities to fail and learn from their mistakes.

The principles of video games can be applied here: you have several “lives” to pass the level and move further. In other words, if students don’t pass the quiz or test the first time, they should be given another chance.

This way, they won’t get frustrated and will be more likely to think out of the box, take risks, experiment, and just keep going. Most importantly, they’ll learn from their mistakes and master the skills they need.

So embrace failure and try again!

13. Incorporate Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. And as it turns out, stories can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to learn something new. That’s because stories help to grab our attention, increase our engagement, and make it easier for us to remember concepts.

Think about it: Have you ever been stuck in a long, dry lecture? Probably not the most memorable experience. But what about the last great book you read?

Chances are, you can still recall many of the details from that book, even if you read it weeks or months ago.

That’s because stories are much more engaging than straight facts and figures. And when we’re engaged with something, we’re much more likely to remember it.

So if you want your students to really learn the material in your course, don’t be afraid to tell some stories! Share your own struggles and how you overcame them.

Talk about previous students who have succeeded in your course. Use any kind of story that will help your students better understand the concepts.

You can even turn your course itself into a story, with fictional characters and a plot.

Students will have so much fun immersing themselves in your course and completing “missions”!

14. Simulate Real-Life Scenarios

People often take online courses not so much for the knowledge itself but to develop important skills that can improve their lives.

Learning the concepts, in theory, is great, but sometimes this bears little relationship to reality and everyday situations.

That’s why it’s important to make your courses practical and applicable to the problem students are trying to solve.

For example, you could base homework assignments on realistic scenarios that simulate real-life situations.

The more your students put what they’ve learned into practice, the more likely they are to succeed. And that’s the most important thing!

15. Add Progress bar

Progress tracking is an excellent motivational tool that breaks an online course down into small chunks to spread out the user’s feelings of accomplishment.

Progress bar

By presenting users with a visual representation of their progress, it becomes easier for them to track their goals and stay on track. The ability to see how far they’ve come can be extremely motivating, and helps to keep users engaged with the course material.

Additionally, by breaking the course down into smaller chunks, users are less likely to feel overwhelmed by the amount of material they need to cover.

Progress tracking is an essential tool for anyone looking to create a successful online course.


Each of the approaches to online learning and gamification online we’ve looked at has its own advantages and drawbacks.

But by incorporating gamification techniques, you can create a course that is both engaging and effective.

Gamification can help keep students on track, encourage them to take risks, and learn from their mistakes.

Additionally, storytelling can make learning more fun and memorable.

And finally, by incorporating real-life scenarios, you can make sure that your students are actually learning the skills they need to succeed.

Remember, the goal of gamifying an online course is not only to make learning fun but also to improve the learning outcomes. Always aim to align the game elements with the learning objectives of your course.

Helene runs the place around here.
If you're looking for someone to help you launch and grow an online publishing business, she's your girl.

She knows what it takes to start and grow a blog that makes money, and she's more than happy to share her wisdom with others. is where she shares a glimpse into her digital publishing business


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