What type of game player are you?

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GamificationAccording to the Bartle Test, a game player classification system, there are four kinds of game players – and therefore when it comes to gamified eLearning, eLearners can be divided into four types.

The Bartle Test (you can take it here) is based on a 1996 paper by Richard Bartle. It’s a series of questions and an accompanying scoring formula that classifies players into categories based on their preferences and overall score in each section.

Since 1996, the Bartle Test has been taken a whopping 860,000 times, and is still going strong.

There has been plenty written on game player types over the years (check out Gamified UK for a fleshed-out version which expands on Bartle’s thinking). Here’s the basics of Bartle’s game player types:

  • Achievers: win, challenge, create, show off, compare
  • Socializers: help, share, comment, gift, greet
  • Explorers: explore, rate, review, vote, curate
  • Killers: harass, hack, cheat, heckle,


These players like to feel that the task can be ‘beaten’ in some way, shape or form. You can cater to the Achiever style by giving learners something to accomplish and ensuring that achievements are visible to all. This appeals to the Achiever as it allows them the opportunity to show off their skills and prove their elite status to others.


Explorers will retain rich memories about what they experienced during their learning and will often enrich themselves in anything they can find about the subject. One appeal of the visibility is that they are surrounded by people who will benefit from their wisdom.

It is notable that they often feel restricted when expected to move on within a certain time, as that does not allow them to look around at their own pace. It’s important to give explorers the opportunity to navigate around their Learning Management System – and setting rewards like badges for doing so can be extra-motivating.



Their objective is not so much to win or explore as it is to be social, interact with others and make everyone’s experience more pleasant.

The Academy LMS’s Dialogue Stream and Insight Groups are two ways to appeal to these learners, since it is a way for them to connect with their peers. Chat functionality allows them to welcome others, offer help and advice and share information. It allows Socialisers to develop new relationships.


These learners thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting and competing with them to working with them. The majority of Killers are in it for the sheer sporting thrill of winning.

Leaderboards on the Academy LMS appeal to Killers, since they allow learners to see at a glance who is doing ‘best’ and is ‘killing’ the competition. Though it should be noted that only a small percentage of learners will be Killers.

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