Face AR

Gamification and Augmented Reality Learning: Engage, Excite, Educate

The mass switch to remote education happened at a time when the attention spans are getting shorter and distractions keep multiplying. So it isn’t surprising that both academic and corporate training programs are increasingly focused on various ways to keep learners engaged. Some of the best results were achieved with gamification and augmented reality. In this article, we will explain how you can use these methods to raise the engagement in your eLearning app.

Gamification and Augmented Reality learning

What is gamification

Gamification is adding game elements to a non-game environment. It is not to be confused with game-based learning - an approach where the game itself serves as a teaching tool. For example, introducing a point system and a leaderboard to your corporate training program is gamification. Teaching maths by having kids solve arithmetics-based puzzles is game-based learning.

Both approaches have shown their effectiveness. Gamification, for example, has proven to improve learning outcomes, increased learner motivation, and made studying more enjoyable. Educational games increase the average duration of a learning session and raise engagement by 50%

In eLearning, virtual and augmented reality could serve as a foundation for either method. 

Gamification with face augmented reality in learning

There are many gamification elements that a training program can use: points, leaderboards, achievements, levels, story, etc. Some of them (e.g. points) don’t really need AR. Others could benefit from it. We will specifically focus on face AR (augmented reality features revolving around face tracking) as this is Banuba’s specialty.


Giving badges for specific achievements (e.g. using an augmented reality learning app 7 days in a row) is a classic gamification element. With AR learning you can take them a step further: reward your learners and players with relevant face masks. For example, people learning Swedish or Norwegian would like a Viking filter.


One of the ways to improve engagement is to write a course as a story, where learners take on certain roles. For this element of gamification, augmented reality also works well, as the face filters let users literally try on the appearances of your characters. 

spaceBanuba face filter

In-app shop

Duolingo, one of the most popular language learning apps, lets users earn points that can later be spent on cosmetic items for the mascot or extra lessons. This little bit of personalization helps customize the experience for each learner. AR face masks can be a desirable virtual item that a person would be willing to work towards. 

Live communication

Even if the teaching is done through a video chat, there is still a place for gamification and augmented reality in it. Firstly, it has proven to combat ‘Zoom fatigue’, which is already a good reason to use it. Secondly, face masks are very exciting and engaging for children, which makes them a great learning tool for the younger age groups.

Another thing worth mentioning here is background replacement. Virtual backgrounds prevent unexpected appearances of kids, parents, pets, and other things that distract from studying or can be embarrassing. 

All of this makes AR learning a potent addition to any webinar-based program.

img_circle_ARforComm-1AR technology in education

AR Games

Augmented reality learning is best seen in serious games. Face morphing, AR masks and even using facial expressions as controls could all work for engaging and exciting users. This further improves the efficiency of game-based learning, especially for kids.

Implementing gamification with face augmented reality in learning

There are two parts to this: designing the gamification system and implementing the augmented reality features in a specific AR learning app. 

As for the game elements, it is important to incentivize the right behavior and know your target audience. For example, some people are excited and motivated by competition, while others find it irritating. This has a direct impact on the effectiveness of your training program. 

However, this part is better left to the experts: instructional designers and professional teachers. We will focus on the technical aspects of implementing gamification with face augmented reality in learning.

There are two major directions you can follow. 

1. DIY

It is entirely possible to develop all the necessary face AR features with your in-house team. However, it would take a lot of time and money. Your people could spend many months or even years working on the basic face tracking and augmented reality overlays. But it makes you the owner of the specific technological know-how, and that IP increases your company’s valuation in the long term. 

This approach is reasonable for large companies that can afford a large upfront investment and bear the costs until the technology starts paying for itself. It is still a gamble, though: over 90% of startups quickly go out of business and even giants like Google aren’t immune to failure. Remember Google Glass?  

2. Integrate a premade SDK

Instead of investing in research and development, you can implement augmented reality gamification with a face AR SDK - a ready-made module that can be easily built into your application. This fits both existing apps and the ones still in development.

The core functionality would be done and tested, the only thing you have to do is integrate the SDK in your AR learning app. This could be done within a day. Or you can have the SDK vendor handle the integration and testing themselves.

Conclusion: gamification with face augmented reality is effective and easy to implement

The research demonstrates that gamification can be a powerful tool for engaging users and improving learning outcomes, especially when aided by augmented reality. Thanks to modern tools like AR SDKs, AR technology is now affordable to learning startups and mid-sized companies. So if you think your project would benefit from something like this, don’t hesitate to check out Banuba Face AR SDK and request a free trial to see how it works.

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