How to Create an Educational Game App and Improve Customer Experience

15 min read

Gamification in Mobile Learning Games

Gamification in educational game for Android and iOS

The main thing that gamification gives is a better user experience.

A satisfied customer is a key to increasing profits, expanding your audience and, overcoming business competitors.

Read on to find out what gamification is, where it came from in the e-learning sphere, and how to make it work for your benefit.

Thanks to our algorithm on how to make a good educational game, you’ll get all the needed tips to succeed in the e-learning niche.

You’ll also find all the vital information about the technical side, monetization models, and development costs.

What is This?

Many people these days decide to make an online educational game. This option seems obvious, but 20 years ago, such a term as gamification was unfamiliar to the general public.

Gamification is an approach that implies using gaming elements in areas not related to games to increase customer engagement, improve user experience and motivation.

For the first time, this term was mentioned in 2003. Its author was British software engineer Nick Pelling.

In 4 years, the first gamification vendors appeared, offering their services to businesses.

But globally, they started talking about gamification only after 2010, when plenty of seminars and conferences were dedicated to the potential of gamification for various spheres of life, including learning, which is difficult to imagine today without gaming elements.

How Does it Work?

We’ve learned that idea to make an educational video game for students is relevant, and therefore, popular for the development of the e-learning business. But what exactly makes gamification so efficient and profitable?

  • Competitiveness. Battle mode, leaderboard are the tools, helping to attract the user due to the subconscious desire to compete.
  • Leveling. The ability to track progress and monitor the skill improvement allows the user to see a tangible result from the training, which will increase his motivation.
  • Reward systems. Achievements and prizes for completing assignments, successfully passing control tests, and regular lessons will improve student engagement.
  • Quiz and tests - to check and consolidate the learned material.
  • Task-oriented - the user will be interested in passing challenges instead of monotonous learning by rote. You can make daily or weekly tasks, that will help you get students to use the application more regularly.
  • Simulations - develop a user-friendly interface where your client can view their progress.
  • Interactive content. Add video and audio content, clickable buttons, animated elements to your platform so that the user can play while learning.

Advantages of Educational Games

For users:

  1. Development of strategic, critical thinking;
  2. Improving problem-solving skills;
  3. Increased memory productivity;
  4. Getting specific skills.

For vendors:

  1. Better user experience, which means more regular use of the application, and wider target audience;
  2. A wide range of niches. Gamified apps are in demand in the EdTech, Healthcare, Ecommerce, Wellness, and Travel spheres.
  3. Profit. Statistics show that the market value of gamified e-learning applications in 2020 exceeded $ 9 billion, and by 2025 the industry is expected to grow by about 30%.

For business:

  1. Productivity. About 90% of research recipients claim that they would be more productive if their work duties were more game-like.
  2. Motivation. According to the source, 83% of employees trained with gamification are more motivated to work.
  3. Burnout. 66% of survey participants believe that gamification at work reduces their stress levels. Namely, stress is one of the main causes of burnout, alongside fatigue, overwork, and frustration.

For educational institutions:

  1. More students. Offline education in its traditional form is not capable of providing educational services to such a huge number of people as e-learning can do.
  2. Create an educational game is a great way to bring the classroom online while maintaining the effectiveness of the class and the motivation of all participants in the process.
  3. More opportunities for selling services. By partnering with educational platforms to develop courses for them, you can make university-level education more widely available and increase your university recognition.

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Types of Educational Game Mechanics

Types of educational game mechanics for kids

How to create an interactive educational game that is attractive for kids and adults?

You can find the answers in video games. There are several types of game mechanics perfectly suitable for an educational platform.

Roleplay

These can be educational games of any kind. It can be video games with complex animations and mechanics, or simple simulations of training, work, and career.

The main thing is that such a game should have good storytelling, levels, achievements, awards, progress tracking, and account customization.

Examples of ready-made solutions of this kind are Classcraft and games from BBC Schools.

Risk

A game type with an element of risk is always thrilling. You can develop a mechanic that assumes a scale of lives, limit time or the number of attempts in quizzes, or the possibility of losing rewards after a certain number of losses.

Please note that the player shouldn’t be bored easily, but an overly difficult passage is also a bad option. Therefore, your task is to find the perfect game balance.

Puzzle

Puzzle games are probably the first thing that comes to mind when deciding to create an online educational game. Riddles, puzzles, quizzes, logical tasks of various orientations will help you diversify the learning process to make it as close as possible to a computer game.

It will be interesting for both children and adults.

Challenges

Quests, daily tasks, goals will motivate the user much more than the standard monotonous lessons. And if you add an element of rivalry here, it will be even more exciting. Leaderboards, ratings, leveling - use all of these tools to motivate your student.

Collecting

A user interface should include a progress tracking function. Provide the customer with the opportunity to receive and accumulate rewards for special events and tasks.

It can be standard achievements, extra abilities (for example, more possibilities for customizing a profile, in-game purchases).

Dialog Choice

These are games with a storyline, where the further development of events envies the player’s choice.

You can borrow this element even in a simplified way - for example, so that the players, answering questions correctly, get rewards. It can be implemented as a dialogue, or simply as a test. Such a function can serve both for teaching (if containing new material) and consolidation of already learned material.

Many language apps use this technique to develop communication skills by simulating real-life situations where you need to use grammar material from the lesson.

Examples of Successful Educational Apps with Gamification

Examples of successful educational apps with gamification for students

Avid Adventures

We cannot fail to mention the educational app created by our team. Our technical partner from Singapore decided to develop an educational game career simulator. This mobile app goal was to use new methods in teaching students - to simulate training and career development as in real life, where they would playfully acquire the necessary skills to be in demand in the labor market in the future.

To implement the idea, we have built a progressive web application with a user interface, an advanced admin system with tools for customizing the game round, multiplayer modes - for events with plenty of users, in-app purchases, and quizzes.

Classcraft

It’s an educational game, which essentially is a play environment, within which children receive all the necessary skills, not only educational but also a social and psychological one.

Each player creates a character with external and functional characteristics, which can be developed and improved. Users have to unite in teams for completing tasks, help each other and receive awards for this. Students can participate in missions, quests, receive achievements, join teams and pass quizzes. And all this is presented with an interface design close to popular computer games.

Theoretical knowledge of science and the ability to do a good job is not enough for success. Therefore, this game teaches students to establish productive communication and build constructive work relationships.

Memrise

How to turn such a tedious activity as memorizing words into engrossing entertainment? The simplest and at the same time ingenious solution is to make an educational game. An example of such a product is the Memrise application.

20000+ videos from natural speakers, quizzes, tests, phone camera integration with the translator function, user interface with a progress tracking system, achievements, and awards - everything in this platform created for fun, engagement, user motivation.

Duolingo

It’s a language learning app. It offers users free access to learning 40 languages in a gamified form.

The user has lives, which he loses in case of failure of the lesson, the ability to track progress, improve skills. The application provides access to video materials, quizzes, interactive tools for learning vocabulary.

There is also an in-game currency, a reward system in points, and a community function.

SoloLearn

Besides the standard lessons to teach users programming, this application offers battle mod, leaderboard, tracking and skill improvement, in-app coding, quizzes, and achievements to test knowledge.

In addition, a community function is available: students can post their code to the playground, where other users can leave feedback about it.

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A Few Words About Business Model

Before starting to create your own educational game, you have to decide which monetization model to choose for your app.

Ways to make money on game-based software divide into main types depending on the principle of providing training services:

  1. Freemium. Such world-famous products as Duolingo use this method. Funding for such platforms comes from ordinary users, foundations, commercial organizations, and government donations.
  2. Paid subscription is a simple scheme when a student pays a regular fee for a subscription to a service. Various payment plans can be made, for example, monthly, yearly, etc.
  3. Extra services/pro account. This type of monetization involves the sale of additional content or services for a surcharge. For example, you provide an algebra course for free, but the user should pay to access the math exercises.
  4. Paid certificates, when a user pays for a certificate of training completion. This model is relevant if you have entered into cooperation with educational institutions and can offer clients access to knowledge of the university level of accreditation.
  5. Advertisement model. In this case, you earn from advertisers whose content you post on the platform. You can also charge additional fees for the non-advertised version of the product.
  6. Pay for materials - it means that the student pays for each course.

Crucial Features and Technical Tips

Crucial features and technical tips for educational computer game

Techstack

To optimize the budget and time frames, to ensure the outstanding performance of your application, its ability to modify and scale, we have developed a perfect stack, which has proved its effectiveness in practice.

We use React technology for web products and React Native for mobile apps. They allow hybrid development. It’s the perfect way how to build an educational game by hiring one team and getting an application for Android and iOS platforms at a time. Moreover, financial savings are 30% compared to native development.

Features

It doesn’t matter how large-scale your application will be, how complicated technologies you will use. Whether it is a small application with lessons or a multi-functional platform with augmented reality, there are some tools that must be in the mandatory list of features, namely:

  • Admin dashboard

It can be a simple control system or a complex admin panel with access levels and branched functionality. Take care of the relevant ergonomic design, well-understood structure, and security.

  • User interface

It should be convenient, understandable, intuitively pleasant to the user, and, of course, useful. Add opportunities to track progress, improve skills, and collect awards for achievements. Don’t forget about customization - the user should be able to customize his avatar, and you can also add different themes for the interface and other custom solutions.

Don’t forget about interactive buttons, notifications, animation - all this will improve the user experience.

  • Community

Chats, a rating system, the ability to attach third-party video photos and audio materials, animated stickers - all these tools will help make the communication of your customers more interesting.

  • Feedback

You can develop a chatbot for answering FAQs, add the ability to evaluate the service, provide feedback. You need users to feel heard and be comfortable using your solution.

  • Customization tools

Use different plugins to enable course creators to make their content unique and interactive. Automatic translation of audio and video, text highlighting, and many other features can diversify the content on your service and therefore attract more audiences.

  • Videoconferencing tools

It is impossible to imagine an online school without this function. You can set up integration with services like ZOOM, or develop your own.

How to Make a Successful Educational Game App?

Define an idea

Before starting implementation, you need to decide what you want to build. Game-quiz, virtual classroom, or LMS with gamification elements - all these types are very different and have their own nuances in the technical part.

Determine, what is your business idea uniqueness, what user problems does it solve? Put the answers received on paper and, starting from this information, proceed to the next step.

Advice and Analysis

You need to define the target audience, research market conditions, and competitive solutions.

You can use services like Google Analytics, SiteProfiler, Statista.

Another way is to contact a professional discovery team.

Many vendors provide such services. They have enough experience in creating educational websites and apps to provide you with competent digital consulting. They can advise you on technologies, methodology, give a preliminary estimate, and provide you with guidance on the project’s timing.

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Content Management

Take care of the content of the application. If you are building games for kids, think about mechanics, game balance, storytelling.

If this is an LMS app, find qualified instructors and content authors.

But there are crucial requirements for any content type - uniqueness and security.

Development planning

The best way how to make your own educational game with minimal risk is with an MVP. With it, you first implement only vital functions, and then, based on user feedback, you will expand the feature list and modify the website.

The key to optimizing cost and time frames is the right technology stack and methodology.

Scrum Agile, milestone-based development - all this will help you set up the project implementation process so that everything goes on time and under your control.

Using these methods, you distribute the entire scope of work into stages (milestones) and complete them in turn by sprints.

Each sprint will go through planning, implementation, analysis, and approval by the product owner. This way, nothing happens outside your control, and you and the development team avoid confusion, chaos, and latency issues.

Prototyping

The next item in the algorithm, how to create an online learning platform, is design development.

At the end of this stage, you’ll get a prototype of a future project. It’s needed to get an idea of ​product functioning and appearance for a startup owner, development team, and investors.

As practice shows, it is much easier to get funding for a project, about which you have a rough idea.

Implementation

At this stage, the proficiency of the chosen vendor will reveal. True professionals can build an elegant, reusable, understandable, and easy-to-use code base, flexible to change and scale.

Do not forget about quality testing - you should carry it out at all stages of product development. It is one of the core advantages of outsourcing - the vendor you choose will assemble a team that will comprehensively work on your business idea completion.

Deployment

The main thing in the deployment and launch process is timeliness.

To reduce the likelihood of human error, ensure uninterrupted communication between the client and the team, and provide the client with complete control of the process, we recommend using the CI / CD technology. In our projects practice, it has repeatedly proved its effectiveness.

Further MVP improvement

The work on the platform doesn’t end with the market launch. At this point, the Build-Measure-Learn cycle starts. It includes collecting feedback, analyzing it, planning and completing software improvements.

In this way, many of our clients have come from tiny start-ups to large international training projects that became of interest to government organizations from the United States.

As a reliable technical partner, we are happy to perform bug fixing, functional expansion, and all kinds of app modifications using our expertise.

The Cost of Educational Game Apps Development

When building an educational game on your own, it’s hard to calculate the cost from the start. It can vary greatly depending on project complexity. Developing a video game with complex mechanics and 3D graphics requires a much larger budget than creating a simple course. You should also take into account design costs, the use of cutting-edge technologies, and content creation.

In addition, when calculating your pricing, it is worth considering the factors mentioned below.

MVP stage

You will have to go through the MVP stage - this is the best way to reduce financial risks.

Creating a Minimum Viable Product usually takes 50% of the total budget.

According to our experience, the average cost of a full-fledged project costs the owners about $ 20,000 - $ 100,000. So the building of MVP can take up to $ 50,000.

Dev rate

According to statistics, the hourly rate of developers is very different depending on the location.

So, the most expensive rates are from specialists from Australia, the USA, Israel, and Western Europe.

The lowest is for engineers from Africa and Asia.

You can consider this data in more detail in the table below.

Regions Rate
USA $70-$150
Western Europe $50-$200
Eastern Europe $20-$50
Australia $100-$150
Israel $100-$200
Africa $20-$45
Latin America $30-$50
Asia $20-$45

As for the provided services quality, more expensive isn’t always better. It’s necessary to reckon three factors here: the level of education, industry development, the presence of large domestic projects in the region.

So, having a good level of education and a developed IT industry, engineers from Ukraine work at a relatively low rate because of a lack of large projects in the region.

Thus, taking all these factors into account, you will be able to create an e-learning business by optimizing budget costs without sacrificing quality.

Marketing

For a successful learning project, high-end quality is not enough. You need a well-thought-out promotion scheme. To make your product recognizable, organize promotions on social media and networks. For this column of expenses, it is necessary to allocate about $ 10,000.

Conclusion

  • Gamification is a relatively new concept that entered the business industry in the early 2000s. It opens up unlimited opportunities for promoting educational, Healthcare, Travel, Fitness solutions.
  • Gamification is useful in plenty of education areas - from art to math; for both kids and adults.
  • By bringing game design, leveling, and competence into your applications, you can increase motivation, user engagement and get new customers, which is beneficial for vendors.
  • Game-like applications can increase the learning process’s effectiveness, improve employees’ problem-solving skills and strategic thinking. It’s a plus for businesses that consume corporate training software.
  • The core types of game mechanics in the EdTech industry are role-playing, risk-taking, logical tasks, challenge-oriented, collecting, and dialogue choice.
  • Gamified training software monetizes through a paid subscription, payment for material, freemium model, advertisements, the sale of advanced services/functions, and paid certificates. You can choose any model or even combine several at once.
  • The algorithm how to make a profitable educational game includes eight stages:
  1. planning an idea;
  2. analyzing the market and competitors;
  3. creating content for online service;
  4. prototyping;
  5. codebase development and testing;
  6. launching;
  7. post-production improvement.

When starting to plan a business idea, it is better to find a pro E-learning app development services company. Discovery specialists will be able to advise you on technologies, working methods, feature lists, estimates, and deadlines.

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FAQ

Is the MVP stage mandatory?

There are several reasons why you definitely need the MVP stage. The first is financial risks. In case of financial fail, building an application with a minimal set of features is less destructive than investing a lot of money, time, and effort into a full-fledged product. Knowledge of the target audience. MVP is the perfect source of user information. With student feedback, you will easily understand where the growth zones of your product are. How and where can you improve it to make it more beneficial and expand your audience. Quick market launch. Building an MVP is not only cheaper but also faster. So, you can quickly launch the software on the market and start monetizing it, collecting and analyzing feedback. Investments. Why save money for a long time to create a project from scratch when you can quickly launch a Minimum viable product and attract huge investments? Thanks to investors' funds, you can significantly expand the prospects of your edTech platform in a short time.

What are the time frames for building a gamified app?

The minimum terms are 3-4 months. If the application doesn't require the use of cutting-edge technologies, a giant list of features, then this time can be enough. However, when creating a large-scale platform or video game with virtual or augmented reality technologies, be prepared to spend at least a year. Some of the projects that our engineers helped create have been developing for over two years, and we continue to provide support, bug fixing, and assistance in software implementation.

What are the pros of hybrid development?

Money-saving. Hybrid development involves the creation of a single code base for iOS and Android platforms. It means that you only need one team to create one codebase. Compared to native development, hybrid is 30% cheaper. Time-saving. For the same reason, you don't have to wait for engineers to create two applications and face the problems with asynchronous development. Reusability Flexibility. You get a reusable codebase, easy-changeable, scalable, and improvable as you like. If you need radical changes in the code, you'll not need to redo the application from scratch, but you can use an existing solution. For these reasons, hybrid development is the best way to create an online learning game for iOS and Android with a reasonable reduction of budget funds, high implementation speed, and almost unlimited prospects.