Appsolutely Brilliant

3 Awesome, Free Apps for Gamified Learning

When we participate in activities that adhere to the basic conditions of a game (a goal, rules and a feedback system), we are more productive, we engage with the content, and we are motivated to improve.

From secondary education to corporate training, employing game mechanics in teaching is changing — and disrupting — the way we work and learn.

Free, online learning platforms are upping the ante on gamified learning opportunities for lifelong learners. Here are our favorites:


Following Rosetta Stone’s teaching techniques, Duolingo offers language learning that helps you develop your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills online. For free. You can choose from 19 language courses, and there are more being added all the time (as of today, three in playable beta and six more are in development).

In addition to giving the learner agency in pace, path, place and time — all hallmarks of quality online learning — you can challenge friends, have conversations with a bot, and translate real web content to level up. ¡Olé!


There’s a reason flash cards are still a thing. They work.

Tinycards puts a twist on the classic study method by creating multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions from sets of cards, which range in subject from world geography to leaf identification to art history. Best of all? Users can create and share flash cards, so the topics offered know only the bounds of our imaginations.

Oh, and the languages you’re studying on Duolingo? They’re here, too.


Smartly is new on the scene and is flipping the script on business education. By submitting an application to the free MBA (or $9,500 Executive MBA) program, you will gain access to their business foundations content, where you can take bite-sized, online courses on accounting, micro- and macroeconomics, marketing and more. Upon completion, you earn a certificate that you can download or post directly to your LinkedIn profile.

These certification courses will soon be available without submitting an MBA application — stay tuned!

Using a cool app to learn a new skill? We want to hear about it! Email us at