Gamification experts Yu-kai Chou and Gabe Zichermann predict that gamification will make a huge impact in the education industry in the coming years and with good reason. Research has revealed that the use of game mechanics improves learner ability to acquire new skills by 40%. Gamification in the classroom can help educators motivate, engage and manage their learners while achieving crucial learning outcomes. Yet, not all gamified learning platforms are created equal – so what are some of the essential elements required for an effective platform.

Foster Enjoyment and Excitement

A major aspect of the success of gamified learning platforms lies in their ability to foster enjoyment and excitement in the learner. Three key elements contribute greatly to this: 1) A challenging, yet achievable objective, 2) Obstacles that the learner needs to overcome to achieve the goal, and 3) Incentives or rewards that motivate participation.


In Read to Lead®️, students become the leader of a community hospital, local newspaper, or community center, where they face different crisis situations in each episode. Students learn to make tough decisions about how best to approach the task at hand while learning what it takes to be the boss (image above).

As students progress through the different episodes in the games, they can check out their stats as a class, and earn different badges that reflect how their class stacks up against other classes (image above). This form of friendly competition can motivate student participation as they work collectively to hit goals like the number of words they read.

Include Human Element and Interaction

Another crucial element of an engaging gamified learning platform is the human connection. Studies have shown that people learn better when they are emotionally invested and are able to form connections between material and personal experience. How this translates into a gamified learning platform is having well-developed characters that learners can interact with.

In all three Read to Lead®️ games, students encounter and interact with a variety of characters of diverse backgrounds (image below). In their role as a leader, students are tasked with making decisions around specific objectives in each episode of gameplay. The immersive format of the platform ensures that learners are fully engaged and invested, improving learning outcomes.

User-focused Game Design

An effective gamified learning platform always puts the learner front and center. Game design is a crucial factor in ensuring that learners achieve their learning objectives, and successful platforms take into account the learner’s journey through the game and ensure multiple routes to achieving the objectives (image below).

Going a step further, Read to Lead®️ employs an adaptive technology that modifies gameplay based on user decisions to ensure that the game remains challenging enough for the learner. The platform also provides learners and educators with instant feedback on their progress, allowing educators to step in and assist, as necessary.

Deliver Quality Content

All of the above elements would be for naught if the content of the platform isn’t academically aligned. Each Read to Lead®️ game not only provides 450 minutes of reading time, and 180,000 potential words, but is also accompanied by 120 hours of supplemental resources in the form of mini-lessons, worksheets and hands-on projects that students can engage in to apply what they’ve learned (image below). 

Each episode focuses on particular 21st Century learning competencies as well as an essential life and career skills (Image below) while tying in with school curriculum in subjects such as ELA, social studies,  and STEM. 


There are certain elements to every successful gamified learning platform, but integrating a platform like Read to Lead®️ into a classroom setting still requires careful thought and planning to ensure students are hitting their learning objectives. With 24/7 support available to educators, you can be sure that you will always be able to make the most of the free resources provided by Read to Lead®️.


Discover the benefits of introducing Read to Lead®️ to your students for yourself. Sign up for free and receive access to three interactive digital learning games, a Digital Educator Toolkit with free printable 21st-century literacy lessons and projects and more!



About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!