Preparing students for university using gamification


Games & gamification

Motion graphics

The University of Greenwich in London is one of the UK’s leading innovators in supporting young people from all backgrounds to make a successful transition from school into higher education. 

It’s not always an easy path, as students adjust to university life. Without good preparation, some individuals may drop out. 

Greenwich wanted to provide young people with high quality digital resources to help them navigate their way to university. A key area of focus was developing independent learning skills and tackling the myths about studying at university. 

Key Challenges:

  • Appeal to young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences
  • Challenge assumptions and perceptions about university study
  • Inspire hard to reach young people about higher education   
"We want to ensure that all young people learn about higher education and what they need to do to get there, including those who may not have families supporting them.”
Sharon Perera
Sharon Perera Progression and Development Officer University of Greenwich

​The Sponge solution

Our expert learning designers identified that gamification could invigorate the subject matter, hit the right note with the audience and enable them to engage with the topic at their own pace.

We designed and developed an illustrated virtual tour of five key areas of the university campus called the Independent Learners’ Toolkit

Users can explore the toolkit map in any order, dipping into each area of the campus for resources and videos to build their knowledge. Each location includes an interactive gamified challenge to test and reinforce the learning. 

Whether it’s about living in student accommodation, assessing the reliability of a research source or managing on a budget, these ‘mini-games’ raise awareness and understanding of what it takes to succeed in university life.

“We wanted to create an inviting, safe digital experience, packed full of engaging games and insights, where an aspiring young person can practice and apply the real life skills that will give them a head start in university.”
Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett Learning designer for the project Sponge

To further smooth the path to higher education, the university commissioned Sponge to create a digital guide to help students identify the best course for them, prepare their UCAS application and write an effective personal statement.

The interactive resource uses gamification to break the task into small sections and add fun to the application process, which can often be a daunting task for young people. Users can write notes within the guide as they go and download a fully formed application by the end of the module.  

All the resources are available to the public and free to access

“We are finding that these online journeys and games which test skills, reward points and allow the user to progress at their own pace are proving both popular and effective.”
Sharon Perera
Sharon Perera Progression and Development Officer University of Greenwich


The Independent Learners’ Toolkit was first launched to students in 2017 during a pilot workshop, ahead of the wider roll out.  Initial feedback has been positive with participants reporting increased confidence and knowledge in key areas.

“I had no idea what university is like. The toolkit made me realise that I will find it challenging but also that there are lots of people to help.”
Year 12 student Learning participant

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