The effectiveness of game-based learning in online courses

Online courses have revolutionised how people learn, and with good reason! They’re convenient, flexible, and accessible from anywhere in the world. However, one barrier to their widespread adoption is that they don’t always provide the same level of engagement as face-to-face courses. In fact, many students find online courses dull and unengaging. There’s a growing trend of using games to bridge the gap between online learning and real-world situations, but is this technique actually effective?

What is game-based learning?

There is no one answer to the effectiveness of game-based learning, as it depends on the specific context and goals of the game. But some experts believe that game-based learning can effectively engage students, promote creativity, and improve learning outcomes. 

One study found that students who played a game designed to help them learn how to solve complex problems demonstrated increased confidence in their ability to do so, compared with those who did not play the game. In addition, the study found that when games were used in conjunction with other learning materials, such as lectures or textbooks, they improved student retention and comprehension. 

Game-based learning can be successful because it creates a simulated environment in which students can explore questions or problems. This allows for greater engagement and understanding than traditional classroom instruction, which is often linear and static. In addition, video games have been shown to promote general cognitive skills, including problem solving and creativity.

Why is it beneficial for online courses?

There are a few reasons why online courses with game-based learning can be beneficial. First, it provides a more engaging experience for students, who may find traditional lectures boring. Second, it allows instructors to track student progress more easily and to provide feedback more effectively. Finally, using games as tools for learning can boost retention rates and help students avoid falling behind in their class material.

How can game-based learning help improve learning outcomes?

Evidence indicates that gameplay can engage learners and improve learning outcomes in various academic settings. In online courses, where students are predominantly engaged in asynchronous activities, game-based learning may be one of the most promising approaches for enhancing engagement and improving learning efficiency (Baron et al., 2012). 

Many online and hybrid courses employ open-ended assignments that allow students to explore material at their own pace. However, this type of assignment has been shown to be less engaging than when it is structured around a game or other task with clear objectives (Jarvis et al., 2009). In addition, many online students find traditional lectures difficult to follow because they require sustained concentration and interruptions for notes (Denning et al., 2010). Mobile apps and games have been proven effective tools for developing short-term memory (Boot & Beddor, 2006) and attention span (Ophir et al., 2002), skills essential for online learning.

There are a variety of games that could be used in online courses as interactive tools for learning. Significant benefits may accrue from incorporating games into coursework if they: 

1) Are easy enough for students without prior gaming experience to get started quickly

 2) Require no more time than a standard lecture

 3) Are self-paced but challenging enough to keep students engaged

 4) Are adaptable to the needs of different courses

 5) Enable instructors to measure student progress

 6) Offer opportunities

Examples of game-based learning tools and platforms

The effectiveness of game-based learning in online courses has long been debated. However, recent research suggests that this type of learning method can be a powerful tool for teaching andlearning.Some benefits of game-based learning include engaging students in the lesson, developing problem-solving skills, and personalizing the learning experience. Below are examplesof popular game-based learning tools and platforms:

  1. Blooket is an innovative online platform that combines gamification with online education. The platform offers a wide range of courses and lessons that are designed to be fun, interactive, and educational. Blooket utilizes gaming elements, such as points, badges, and levels, to create a fun and engaging learning experience for students. The platform’s courses cover a range of subjects, including science, math, history, and English, making it a valuable resource for students of all ages. Blooket is also designed to be flexible, allowing students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. With its innovative approach to education, Blooket is quickly becoming a popular choice among students looking for a fun and effective way to learn.
  2. Quizlet is a free online platform for users to create Flash quizzes and tests. The lessons on Quizlet address various topics, including math, literature, geography, science, and history.
  3.  Kahoot! is an online platform that lets students create games to learn about different subjects. Kahoot! offers dozens of tutorials on how to create games from basic concepts such as fractions and decimals to more complex topics like chemistry and biology
  4.  BrainBux is an online platform that provides virtual labs for educators to experiment with different teaching strategies. In addition tovirtual labs, BrainBux offers resources for creating interactive eLearning courses for teachers around the world.

Gamification is a technique used in which a task or activity is made more fun or exciting by adding elements of gaming into it. This can be doneto make the task more engaging or helpful for learners. Common ways gamification is used in education include awarding badges after completing homework/tasks; giving points after reading texts, or completing quizzes.


There are a number of benefits to using game-based learning in online courses. First, it can be engaging and fun for students, leading to higher levels of engagement and retention. Additionally, game-based learning can help students learn relevant information more effectively because they are required to use their problem solving skills in order to progress through the course content. Finally, game-based learning can reduce the amount of time needed to complete online courses, as students are able to get more out of each session by working on tasks that are relevant to their interests. Overall, there is strong evidence that game-based learning effectively delivers education and knowledge in online courses.

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