Looking for New Ways to Engage Learners? Try Kahooting.

Author: Karen Moloney

Yes, it’s true.

According to the New York Times, Kahooting is actually a word!

But what does it mean?

I found out a few weeks ago when I attended a presentation on BYODD (Bring Your Own Designated Device) at my son’s school.

Part of the session involved teachers showing how they were using kids own devices in class for different modes of learning and they involved us in a game created using an app called Kahoot!

The game used one of Kahoot’s features of quizzing and the kids had created a quiz based on Australian politics as they’d just come back from an excursion to Canberra.

Two people using mobile phonesThis is how it worked:

  • We all had to get our mobiles out, open a browser session and navigate to Kahoot.it.
  • We then entered a game PIN to be able to join the game.
  • The questions were shown on the screen in the classroom and we had 20 seconds to submit an answer from a choice of four options.
  • When the time was up, the teacher showed us a leaderboard with the answer so we could see who was submitting correct answers the fastest.

And I don’t mid telling you, it got a little competitive for a while in that room full of parents!

There was laughing, heckling, concentration, squeals of delight, moans of defeat – but overall an amazing sense of fun.

Yes, that’s right.

Adults. Playing games. Having fun. While learning.

Crazy, I know.

And yes, there was actual learning happening.  Most people in that room learned at least one new thing about Australian politics from those Year 5 student quizmasters!!


So then the instructional design part of my brain kicked into overdrive about how this neat, easy and FREE little tool could work for us budget-starved learning professionals. Here’s a brain dump of my initial ideas:

  • In classroom based learning as an energiser or recap of key learnings.
  • Quizzes at conferences or events to energise your audience and reinforce key learnings/takeaways.
  • Live surveys to get feedback to e.g. identify skills gaps which can feed into a bigger learning strategy or program design.
  • Facilitate discussions around a given topic.
  • As refreshers or learning prompts as part of a bigger program in between learning sessions.
  • To connect geographically dispersed workforces (See Global Classroom function and also consider having people log into the quiz via webinar on PC and participate using mobile devices). You can utilise Connected Kahooting which is referred to by their team as “social learning without borders”.
  • To help introduce/reinforce learning as part of company culture by having a weekly learning challenge that anyone can join.
  • Analyse results of Kahoot! quiz and follow up with email or post on intranet/enterprise social network to point people in the direction of more learning on that topic.
  • Use as an assessment tool.
  • Use as pre-cursor for a learning event or online program – test skills, highlight gaps, suggest ways to fill gaps.
  • Use Ghost mode to support learners – maybe at start of onboarding, then as they work through topics to reinforce and support PKM.
  • Learners to leaders – let your learners teach each other by creating their own Kahoot!s. This approach needs to be introduced and managed carefully otherwise you will be drowning in Kahoot!s and it will lose its appeal. People all over organisations already create their own (Death By) PowerPoint slide decks and hold info sessions, so why not help them make it more fun?

The Kahoot! Academy gives some great guidance and examples for how the tool can be used in a variety of different learning situations, including professional development.

Kahoot! is a great example of a free/low cost* tool that can be used to either create or enhance a learning experience on a mobile device.

All you need is a bit of time and creative instructional design thinking.

Give it a try and tell us about your experiences in the comments below.


*Any educational institution or business can create a free account to use Kahoot! There is a link to enquire about Kahoot! for business use on the home page, so this implies there is some kind of pricing model related to business use, but what that looks like or whether that leads to more useful/different functionality is not known at time of writing.

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