pattern #8 - Leaderboard



At the end of assessment activities, show learners their rank in relation to other learners and their relative progress.

  • VALUE Improve performance
  • Design Effort Low
  • Share

Evidence-Based Research

A quasi-study at the University of Hong-Kong revealed that leaderboards will significantly improve participation, cognitive effort and will have a major impact on performance.
In one of the most revelatory research study of gamified learning experiences, the importance of leaderboards was again emphasized as many participants mentioned completing activities because they were contributing to the final score where they could see how they rank in respect to others.


This example is based on a yearly course that is taken by all managers in a large organization. It provides a detailed overview of the appraisal process that is performed each January. Most managers have previously taken similar training in an instructor-led format.
In order to better engage managers in taking the course, at the end of each formative activity a leaderboard is presented showing the total number of points gathered through the course and the rank in relation to others taking the course.

Activity Rating Pattern
Allow Privacy

Sometimes, competing with colleagues can be negative or even toxic. This is why it is always recommended to allow users to either provide a nickname or to have a random username.

Activity Rating Pattern

Ranking is central to a leaderboard, so make sure you show the position in relation to others taking the course. The easiest way to create a ranking system is by awarding a number of points for each activity.

Activity Rating Pattern

Progress can be a game mechanic in itself and it can be easily integrated in a leaderboard, showing the relative progress compared to others.


One of the best examples leaderboards embedded in the learning process are provided by apps like Kahoot! and Quizlet. These are basically quizzes, where a number of participants can easily connect with their devices and answer to questions either individually or as part of a group, with the goal of being ranked first.
I took part in several class-observation sessions that featured the use of Quizlet and Kahoot! and I will just quote the teacher “There is nothing that engages them more than competing against each other”.

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