Learn the story of humanity with the Big History Project… through gamification!


Good news: Learning the story of humanity, from the big bang all the way through to the modern revolution and beyond, can now be fun. This is thanks to the Big History Project (BHP),  a new online educating initiative developed by a range of educators, writers, scientists and curriculum writers, that aims to teach a detailed  history of the universe. But here’s the hook: it uses game-based learning techniques.

The online project, formerly only available to educators, is backed by Microsoft and championed by Bill Gates himself. It is in its third year and is being used in over 100 schools across eight countries.  Now, in conjunction with a new television series released by History Channel’s H2 Channel, the educational initiative is free and open to the public.

The course, which takes about 8 hours to complete, is made up of 8 “threshold” modules which consist of a variety of multimedia elements such as impressive videos, graphics and music.

An interesting aspect of the project is how it connects all the different stages of history into a meaningful story, which is an important part of gamification in gaining and keeping the users’ interest. We all know how hard that is when it comes to education.


It also incorporates other aspects of gamification. At the end of each threshold you can take a quiz to test what you have learned and earn badges for completing the module (don’t worry, you can retake a module as much as you like until you earn that coveted badge). Complete all the modules and vie for the title of Certified Big Historian. Fancy. (Be one of the first 10,000 users to achieve this to earn a free sticker!).

This is a big step for gamification, and we think it is a positive sign of things to come.





About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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