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e-Learning kit: Gaming

Strategies and technologies for transitioning from face-to-face teaching to online environments (#eLkit).


Build your own games or leave the game building up to the learners. Here you will find tools to build games with best practices, as well as already successful games that can be adapted for your library. At the very least, the examples here are time well spent. There are also resources on gamification, the subject of my latest sabbatic leave.

Video: James Paul Gee on learning with video games

Build games

Apart from your everyday website and video production tools, there are these game builders available that are a lot of fun to explore:

  • Bitsy: A browser based game creation tool developed by Adam Le Doux.
  • Gameblox: A blocks-based programming tool for making and playing games, from MIT Education Arcade (visit for inspiration).
  • Scratch: Program games, stories, animations; designed for ages 8 to 16 but used by people of all ages (MIT).
  • Kahoot: Create quiz games.
  • Unity: 2D and 3D games for multiple platforms (C programming experience a plus). 
  • Phaser: HTML5 framework for making desktop and mobile games.
  • GameMaker: Studio: Free version from YoYo Games.
  • Stencyl: Create games without coding (free publish to web option).
  • Twine: Open source tool.
    • Example: Used by Hodges University Library to create the Zombie APA Game.

Also, visit Accessible Player Experiences from AbleGamers Charity. 

Library games

As explained by Snyder Broussard, there are elaborate role playing games (RPG) sending players out on quests, alternate reality games that are affected by player actions in real time, casual and easy to learn games, trivia games, games with a social element and also those that mix the physical world with a virtual component (2012).

Different games are listed here alphabetically by library. They are open for play, unless otherwise indicated.


If you can't make a game, gamify? Gamification, as defined by Deterding et al., is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts (2011). 

You can make use of game mechanics to make your learning objects more interactive and improve engagement. A simplified example is the assignment of points to tasks that lead to achievements, awards (who would say no to a trophy?), badges and leaderboards. Visit the strategies section for more info on gamification.

Digital badges

Find out much more from ACRL:


You can always decide to use avatars to act as guides in your learning objects. Video and presentation tools have plenty of options. You can also encourage students to create their own avatars.

Here are just a few:

  • DoppleMe: Customize an avatar to use anywhere you like. Here is my DoppleMe DoppleMe avatar
  • The Mini-Mizer: Make a LEGO you. Here I am a mermaid witch librarian MiniMizer avatar
  • Make animated avatars Animated gif


As the name implies, students use web resources to solve problems.

Action mazes

If you love choose your own adventure books where your choices decide the outcome, why not design an action maze to promote critical thinking in your students? Action mazes can also be created by students to challenge their peers.

Bottom of the page bonus: Internet Archive MS-DOS Games

Poll on the page

Are library games worth the effort?
Yes: 26 votes (81.25%)
No: 2 votes (6.25%)
Undecided: 4 votes (12.5%)
Total Votes: 32


See the full bibliography for works consulted.

Armstrong, A., & Georgas, H. (2006). Using interactive technology to teach information literacy concepts to undergraduate students. Reference Services Review, 34(4), 491-497.

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining gamification. Proceedings of the 15th international academic MindTrek conference: Envisioning future media environments, ACM, 9-15.

Snyder Broussard, M. J. (2012). Digital games in academic libraries: A review of games and suggested best practices. Reference Services Review, 40(1), 75-89.

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