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Gamification in law school: using play to enhance learning

A gaming console

Gamification has been a buzzword in the education world for some time now, and with good reason. This approach to learning involves incorporating elements of play and game design into the classroom experience to engage and motivate learners. In recent years, gamification has become increasingly popular in higher education as a means of enhancing learner engagement and academic performance.

In law school, gamification can help make lessons more interactive and memorable, thus leading to a better understanding of course material and improved academic performance. By incorporating elements of play and game design into the classroom, learners are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and active participants in their own learning.

So, what exactly is gamification, and how does it work?

Gamification refers to the use of game-like elements, such as points, badges, leader boards, and challenges, to make the learning experience more engaging and enjoyable. The idea is to create a sense of fun and competition that motivates learners to stay focused and motivated. The goal is to make some aspects of education more like a game, where learners can track their progress, compete with their peers, and experience a sense of accomplishment. This can help learners stay motivated and focused on the task at hand, leading to a better understanding of the course material.

One of the key benefits of gamification is the sense of progress it creates. By using points, badges, and leader boards, learners can track their progress and see how they are performing relative to their peers. This can create a sense of competition that can motivate learners to work harder and strive for success.

Another important aspect of gamification is the use of challenges. These challenges can be used to encourage learners to explore new concepts, solve problems, and apply what they have learned in real-world situations. This not only helps learners to better understand the course material, but it also gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Gamification can also increase learner engagement in the classroom. By incorporating elements of play, learners are more likely to be active participants in their own learning. This can lead to increased interaction with the course material, which can lead to a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught.

By using gamification elements in their lessons, educators can make their classes more engaging and interactive.  Gamification can be particularly useful in large group teaching and may lead to improved learner engagement and higher levels of learner achievement.

How is gamification relevant to the real world?

The legal profession is beginning to use gamification to help lawyers satisfy their continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.  Gamification-based training promotes knowledge retention and productivity and enables lawyers to undertake their CPD using engaging and effective materials, thereby breathing new life into some otherwise “dry” topics. Incorporating game elements, such as reward points and leader boards can increase motivation and engagement with the subject matter, making gamification hugely beneficial when it comes to encouraging busy lawyers to undertake their CPD requirements.

Gamification is also being used by law firms in the recruitment process. Using simulation games is an excellent way to assess a candidate’s aptitude and decision-making skills. These games can quickly and easily highlight those candidates who are well-suited to the role early on, streamlining the recruitment process and significantly reducing the amount of time that might otherwise be wasted in interviews.

What are some examples of gamification that can be used in law school?

There are many ways to introduce gamification into the classroom. In no particular order, here are some examples:

Point Systems: Point systems can be used to motivate learners to complete coursework and assignments. For example, learners might earn points for completing readings, participating in class discussions, and completing writing assignments. There are several free apps available which can provide an online platform to track learner progress. One such app is PBIS Rewards Staff where learners can earn points for completing set tasks. With this app, learners are each allocated a QR code and points are allocated to the learner by scanning their unique code.

Leader boards: Educators can create a class leader board where learners can see where they stand in terms of their academic performance, compared to their peers. This can create a sense of competition and motivate learners to strive for success. Blackboard (which is the LMS used by many tertiary institutions) has this function already built into it, so all the educator has to do is activate it on their subject website.

Case Summaries: The ability to summarise important court cases is an essential part of legal education. Gamification can be used to make preparing case summaries more engaging and interactive. For example, learners might compete to see who can write the best-case summary, or they might participate in a game that challenges them to summarise a complex case in a short amount of time or within a nominated word count. A platform such as Poll Everywhere (available in Blackboard) could be used. Learners would be given an opportunity to pre-read the selected case summaries. The educator could then conduct a class vote to identify which case summary the learners consider to be the best.

Legal Trivia: An educator could create a legal trivia game where learners can earn points for correctly answering questions about various legal concepts and cases. This can create a fun and competitive atmosphere that motivates learners to learn more about the law. Educators can use an online platform (eg, showing the trivia questions through a PowerPoint presentation) or go “old school” using pen and paper.

Legal Research Challenges: Legal research can be a challenge for law learners, but gamification can make it more engaging and enjoyable. For example, learners might participate in a scavenger hunt, (easily created using Microsoft Forms) where they must find specific legal cases and statutes using online databases. Popular amongst first year law educators and librarians, such games can help learners to develop research skills and deepen their understanding of legal concepts.

Non-assessable Quizzes: Educators can create quizzes that include point systems, where learners can earn points for correct answers. This creates a sense of competition and motivates learners to study and perform better. Examples include Kahoot! And Quizlet, both of which have an option for free subscription.

Escape Rooms: Educators can create virtual escape rooms that challenge learners to use their knowledge of the relevant area of law to solve puzzles and escape the room.

These are just a few examples of how gamification can be used in law school to enhance learner engagement and academic performance.


Gamification is a valuable approach for enhancing learner engagement and academic performance. By incorporating elements of play and game design into the classroom experience, learners are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and active participants in their own learning. If you are looking for a way to make your classes more exciting and memorable, gamification is definitely worth considering.

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