Badges as motivation: testimonials from Khan Academy users

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Open assessment | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In 2010, Khan Academy introduced badges as part of a program to promote gamification of learning (Wikipedia). Khan Academy Stories is a collection of unedited testimonials from people whose lives have been impacted by Khan Academy. As of April 10th 2014, the website contains 208 stories from January 1st 2010 to March 27th 2014; 13 of these make reference to the motivating aspect of badges. The following quotes are some examples:

I also love the tracking and levels. I actually look forward to math on your website. It may sound silly for an adult, but the badges and levels really do make a big difference. I am working to beat MY best, not keep up with instruction or other students (or worry about slowing down the class). From Brook, February 25, 2014

I am 25 and planning on changing careers, which will require me to take 10 courses at a community college – mostly in math and science. I haven’t practiced math since high school (so it’s been about 8 years), and have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve only been using Khan academy for 3 days, and I am addicted! The challenges, energy points and badges are really motivating, and I almost can’t stop practicing. Already, I am feeling more up to speed, and am excited to continue learning. It is also really helpful that whenever you are stuck, there is an explanation with steps for each problem. Thanks for taking the frustration out of math! From Brianna, December 2, 2013

My 3rd grader like it because of the interactivity, earning points and badges. It keeps his attention unlike books. From Shane, August 2, 2012

My teaching partner = the other fifth grade teacher – started using it too. The kids loved the points and the “rivalry” was on. When our classes were about to hit 2 million points, there was a huge competition to be the first – when else would you hear whooping and the sound of furious problem solving at 2:30pm on a Friday? From Sonya, April 19, 2012

(+2 rating, 2 votes)
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