How to Create a FREE Leaderboard for eLearning with Google

This is the intro. Read the full article, watch the videos, and download the sample files from here:

Play with a live Storyline example here and see how you rank!

 “Gamification.” We recognize the benefits (even through all the hype) and we would like to add it to our courses. But where to begin? It is not enough just to add a game to your course. We need a way to make it social. After all, bragging rights go a long way towards reinforcing learning.

I think one of the easiest ways to tip your toe into eLearning gamification is to add a Leaderboard to your course. Leaderboards remind learners that they are not alone, others are completing the same training. They also create some friendly competition and let learners see how they rank among their peers. And often, if they rank low, they will go back and try again on all their own.

But how to add a Leaderboard? And how to do it for free? Google Sheets and a little code provide the solution. I know a lot of you use Google Docs every day. You may not realize that Google allows users to develop add-ons and applications on top of Docs using Google Apps Script (GAS). GAS looks a lot like JavaScript and it hooks into Google Docs to enable you to create all sorts of new tools. I have used it in the past to create printable certificates, detailed course interaction reports, and even a sort of scaled down LMS.

I decided to use Google Sheets and GAS to create a sort of database and API for a Leaderboard. With GAS I was able to turn a spreadsheet into a web application that will receive data from a course and send back a list of the top ten users. I added some JavaScript to my course to handle the sending and receiving from that end. I packaged it all up for you and wrote some directions, which you’ll find below. This week I am adding a Leaderboard to Storyline 2. If you are familiar with JavaScript and feel adventurous you can adapt this to work for Captivate, Lectora, HTML5, etc. And soon I will post code and videos for those tools as well.

The files linked in the resources section of this post have the GAS code and JavaScript in them.  Using the instructions below (and watching the videos) you will be able to learn how to create a leaderboard for eLearning with Google:

  • Create a Google Sheet
  • Add GAS to the Sheet
  • Setup the Sheet
  • Deploy the Sheet as a Web App
  • Add the required variables to your Storyline 2 course
  • Trigger the JavaScript to send and receive the data
  • Display the Leaderboard to learners

Read the full article, watch the videos, and download the sample files from here:

30 Replies
Elisa Medina

I'm working with Storyline360 and running into some hiccups. Mostly, the score value is pulling back Null. Within the SL file it lets me know the score is 130 so the hiccup is somewhere in the java or in the GAS, there's some sort of issue with sending and retrieving from what I can tell?


Laura Ingle

Hi James,

I followed this a few years back and am looking to test this again in my gamification courses. I can't locate the sample files I had. The link you share is no longer available. Is it possible for you to share the GAS and Javascript for this process. I'd love to be able to test this again in SL360.