Peter, Game Developer at Squla: “It’s about the right balance between gaming and learning.”


At Squla we think that our people are the most important part of our business: without them, Squla would never be Squla. Together we work every day to make Squla better so that every child learns through playing and can get the best out of themselves. There is quite a bit to consider when developing a game. How do we build a quiz and how do we ensure the optimal effect?

Peter is responsible for game development at Squla and explains how this works.

Gamification is a “hot” concept. What exactly is it?

Applying proven mechanics from the world of games in other – more serious – domains, such as education.

Which successes are the basis for a good gamification method?

Game design specialists, who have a good sense of what works for the target group, are especially needed. In addition, it is very important to research new features (functions) in test labs with real users and to properly measure afterwards whether the features work. We are still learning from that ourselves. For example, this year we discovered that children who often watch the leaderboard (scoreboard) are above average active on Squla. That is why we have now added this part to the app.

How does Squla do that?

We combine gaming and learning in a balanced way, without going too much to one side or the other. For example, we could show all kinds of funny YouTube videos to children as a reward. That would probably add to the fun factor, but they would learn less from it. It’s about finding the right balance.

What has Squla developed in this area in the past school year?

We recently launched a whole new multiplayer format. This is a game in which children from group 3 play against each other at the same time. It’s a very accessible way of competition. The children can participate at any time, the rounds are short and all participants win coins. A large group of children find that very fun and exciting. In general, we follow a number of gamification rules in everything we do. For example, we continuously reward children for their performance and commitment in a pleasant environment that motivates them to continue.

How is that received by children?

We receive feedback via panels (face-to-face), surveys, social media channels and emails to customer service from parents, children and teachers. In general, the feedback is very positive. The big challenge for us as a team is to make a product that children and parents will find fun and useful for several years. That is why we are very critical towards ourselves from a product development perspective and are constantly evaluating what we can improve.

What are the main trends?

Personalisation is one of the major trends in the education domain. Consider, for example, offering the right exercise material and instruction at the level of an individual child (adaptivity). In line with that, playing preferences and related behaviour could also be taken into account. Does the player like competition or working together?

Another trend is to offer subjects that fall outside the direct school curriculum, such as foreign languages, programming and 21st century skills. We also see that children come into contact with phones and tablets at an increasingly younger age. Parents and teachers are concerned about that. For platforms such as Squla, there is a challenge to optimally and sensibly utilise the possibilities in the perspective of fun learning.

What will Squla do next school year?

We would like to demonstrate that fun learning works. We will therefore continue to develop features that can enhance learning results and provide parents with insight into their child’s progress. Continuing with adaptivity is an important part of this, but also the development of new multiplayer game forms.

What could be better at Squla and what are you the most proud of?

We would very much like to roll out new things much faster and that is why we are also growing as a development team. I’m proud when I’m in the pool with my daughter and hear another kid say Squla is “cool” when they see our Squla backpack :).

At Squla we are looking for new colleagues! View our vacancies here.