Have you ever wanted to create a gamified quiz, but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you had a few ideas, but felt a little intimidated and decided to save it for a rainy day...that never came? I feel you. I’ve been there. But guess what? I went for it! Here’s how it turned out:
And if I can do it, you can too! In this article, I’m going to walk you through my design process so you can see how I got from an idea to a finished product. Let’s dive in!
Coming Up with the Concept
One of the hardest parts of gamifying your e-learning course is deciding which game elements to add. There are so many options it can be hard to decide which ones to focus on. There’s no right or wrong answer, but, as always, it’s important to keep your learning objectives and target audience in mind.
Since I didn’t have an actual project to tackle, I tried to imagine a situation in which it may be beneficial to gamify a course. Then it came to me! What if I created a quiz for learners who need to memorize a bunch of information—vocabulary words, for example? When it comes to memorization, one thing that can be helpful is repetition. That’s why people use flashcards, so they can run through them over and over, remembering more and more each time. But repetition can also be boring, so why not make it fun?
With that in mind, I decided to incorporate the following things:
- Question banks. I wanted to help commit the answers to long-term memory by randomizing and spacing out the questions and not simply using short-term memory to recall the order.
- A countdown timer. I wanted to create a sense of urgency and excitement, but also to encourage learners to trust their gut and go with their first instinct rather than overthinking it.
- Extra time. I added extra time to the clock to reward learners for correct answers and to give them more time to think about subsequent questions.
- An incentive to try again. Instead of forcing learners to get a perfect score to move forward, I wanted to entice learners to beat their previous score, so I set up a system of stars. Learners only need one star (or 10 correct answers) to pass, but if they want to earn two, they need to get 15 correct answers, and to earn all three stars, they have to get a perfect score. The hope is that learners who only get one star will want to try again until they get two or three stars.
- Levels. I broke the game up into levels that unlock as they go to give learners a sense of achievement.
- Sound effects. I embellished the game with sound effects to give it a more playful feel.
Now that you have some insight into the ideation process, let’s take a look at how I decided on the design.
Designing the Graphics
Since my gamified quiz is intended to be a template, I wanted to stick to a simple design that could be used for a broad range of topics and could easily be adapted to fit any company’s brand guidelines. I decided to go with a bright, colorful palette to give it a fun vibe. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use a background image or not, so I just left the background white. Here’s what my first draft looked like:
But I wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with this first version. The font didn’t feel “fun” enough and all the gray made for visuals that were a little too “blah,” so I started brainstorming ways to improve upon my design.
When I’m looking for inspiration, I often try searching Content Library 360 to see if anything jumps out at me. And sure enough, I stumbled upon an illustration of a sky with a big cloud and it just clicked—that’s it! What better way to give my game a lighthearted vibe?
After I added the background, things started falling into place. I swapped out the gray for a darker shade of blue, to match the sky, and replaced the boring font with this fun, game-inspired one. Now I was getting somewhere! Here’s what my second version looked like:
But something still didn’t feel right. I decided to see what it would look like if the pathway followed the outline of the clouds, to give it a more integrated, cohesive look.
Once I was happy with the main menu slide, I created the question slides along the same lines, changing the colors for each level.
At this point, I was feeling pretty good about my graphics, so I started thinking about sound effects.
Choosing Sound Effects
To really give my quiz a game-like feel, I decided to add some sound effects. I was careful not to go overboard, which would distract from the learning experience. Here’s what I landed on:
- A theme song. I wanted something to play at the beginning and end of the game as well as on the results slide to set the tone for the course. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted it to sound like, but I was imagining something a little retro to fit with the graphic style I chose.
- Correct/incorrect sounds. I thought it would be nice to find sound effects to signal to learners whether they’ve answered a question correctly or incorrectly. I wanted something that was short—so it didn’t get annoying—and unambiguous—so learners wouldn’t be left wondering what it meant.
- A “time’s up” sound. Finally, I wanted to find another short tone to signal when the time runs out on the clock—like an alarm or a buzzer.
With that decided, I started my search. First, I headed over to this list of websites with free sound effects. After looking at a few options, I concentrated my efforts on freesound.org since it’s easy to navigate and the licensing terms for each download are clearly laid out.
From there, I started trying out a few keywords—like game, theme song, right, wrong, alarm, buzzer—and gave each one a listen. To include my sound effects in my template, I made sure to choose sound effects that were licensed under Creative Commons 0—so I could use and redistribute them freely. That narrowed down my options, which actually made it easier to choose.
If you’ve never used sound effects in your courses before, check out this article for advice on using them effectively: Tips for Using Sound Effects in E-Learning.
Hopefully you found this sneak peek into my design process useful! If you downloaded the template and need some help customizing it, be sure to check out this how-to article, where I walk through how to do that: How To Customize This Storyline 360 Countdown Quiz Game Template.
If you want to dig deeper into the concept of gamification and how to apply it to your e-learning courses, check out these helpful articles:
- Gamification Techniques: How to Apply Them to E-Learning
- Gamification: How and Why Does It Relate to E-Learning?
- 5 Visual Design Tips for Gamified E-Learning
And here are a couple of gamified course templates in case you’re short on time:
Not finding what you’re looking for? There are tons more where these came from! Hop on over to the downloads hub to browse all the Storyline templates.
Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 60-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.