iziBAC - Play to Learn

(Pitched: 4/15/2018)
iziBAC - Play to Learn is a mix between a mobile game and an educational app. The vision is to transform the entire learning process of the Baccalaureate Exam into a fun, gamified one.

One Page Summary

We are basing our solution on a critical problem that has been around the past years in the romanian educational system: low baccalaureate exam promotability rate (Fig. 1).

The reason is that the way subjects are being presented nowadays to students are not adapted to the way students learn and therefore they are not motivated to do it. Student say that the traditional private after school sessions with teachers, are too expensive, not easily accessible and, most importantly, they are not motivated to attend them.

Fig. 1 - Promotability Rate

Studies shown that the most effective and the most appropriate learning method for high schoolers is playing. That is why our solution is making the learning process fun and addictive like a game. Therefore we are proposing a mobile educational quiz type game containing the curricula for the Baccalaureate exam.

Actors involved
Our main three stakeholders involved in this project would be teachers, parents and students. Simply put, the teachers would promote iziBAC and use it as a teaching tool (like a book) that would be financially approved by the parents in order to impact the education of the high schoolers.

Testing solution
Across the world there is an ascending trend in adopting gamified educational applications. KnowRe, Socrative and Play Brighter are some pretty successful ones and that is an indicative that high schoolers and educational institutes are aware that gamified education leads to better results than classical ways of teaching. By analysing what works for those applications we are able to create an improved version adapted for the Romanian high school system.

While all the above platforms are looking good, their gamification approach is pretty generalistic. We are planning to make iziBAC - Play to Learn an educational game rather than just a gamified application.
We are relying on a system of 8 Core Psychological Drives of motivation. Our game mechanics have a holistic approach and are based on a framework created after more than 10 years of Gamification research and study: Octalysis.


iziBAC - Play to Learn is a quiz type game based on 3 types of gameplay, a map representative for the progress of the user, experience points, unlockable items, achievements, leaderboards and progress tracking. The learning process itself is build around the concept of Flow (Fig. 2) described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities. When playing, students enter this state where they are able to unconsciously learn by playing. The gameplay also contains an important part: explanations. At the end of each question the user will find an explanation of that particular subject.

Fig. 2

The game has its own in-game currency with which the user can buy items that will facilitate his own learning process: explanations, hints for questions, stamina, accessories for the hero character.

Based on Octalysis’s core psychological driver of Social Influence & Relatedness the game has an interactive leaderboard where the user can choose to see how he’s performing relative to his colleagues, his social-media friends or even globally.

There are three types of gameplay as described below:

Training mode. After the user picks a category/subject to play (Math, Biology, etc.) he enters a mode where he will have displayed questions sorted by difficulty, one by one from the category of his choice. He has in total of 3 lives and when he incorrectly answers a question he loses a live.

Simulation mode. Similar with training mode only that, this time, the user has unlimited lives but he is timed. This mode tries to simulate as close as possible the real exam scenario.

Multiplayer mode. Same concept as above only that, this time, the user plays against an opponent. One by one, both players receive the same question and the one who answers correctly first receives the points.

The game also contains a journey part where the user is represented by a hero character. The whole journey will be backed by a story with elements typical to a buildungsroman, underlying the steps of the young hero achieving his objective. This hero will advance on a map that resembles climbing a mountain. When the user progresses to a new level, the hero character climbs up on the map to the next basecamp. During the progression the user is encouraged to set his own learning objectives and he is rewarded when achieving them.

The hero will have some special skills: Endurance/Stamina, Speed/XP Multiplier, Intelligence/Hints, Wisdom/Explanations. Those skills can be increased by wearing accessories, by completing quests or by leveling up. Also, throughout the progress of the game there will be surprise boxes, treasures, quests that the user will receive. They can contain special accessories.

The whole experience is made in such a way that the user would want to learn more, to achieve his objectives, and to have more fun while doing all this.