Kahoot! It can be a game changer for collaboration

Do you want to play a game? Kahoot appeals to the human desire for play and competition which, when properly introduced in a learning or training environment serves as a great icebreaker and tool for the instructor to assess the students and their respective individual knowledge bases. I was introduced to Kahoot during a class on utilizing technology to enhance presentations to adult learners and while I was initially hesitant since the website seemed geared towards little kids, it was surprising how quickly the members of my class became immersed in taking the Kahoot quizzes especially when we were placed into groups that competed with each other for top scores. The instructor stoked our competitive fires by offering token awards such as candy for correct answers. I found Kahoot provided a means for our instructor to quickly gauge where we stood in relation to our knowledge of the subject matter (classroom technology) being taught in way that was fun and unpretentious. Kahoot is a free web-based tool that allows instructors, discussion leaders, and supervisors to present multiple-choice or true/false quizzes to a group in real-time and the group/class members can take the quiz on any available platform e.g., desktop, smart phone, tablet, etc. that has an Internet connection. This simplicity allows instructors to present game-like multiple-choice answer quizzes tailored for audiences of all ages and subject matters. Instructors and others in the class/group can create their own quizzes or find, use, and/or remix public quizzes. Kahoot allows questions and polls to contain images and video but the default setting displays colors, symbols, and suspenseful music similar to the game show Jeopardy, all of which creates a high energy, game-like atmosphere. When class participants see the wrong answers flashed upon the screen, groans quickly follows along with cheers and high-fives when participants learn they were correct in answering a question. Liveliness in the game or quiz escalates as updated rankings appear on the central scoreboard after each question while a participant receives personalized feedback on their own device. Playing a game of Kahoot does not require an account, only a game PIN from the quiz moderator and a name, which could be a pseudonym.

While not a Web 2.0 game changer in the same vein as presented by O’Reilly (2005) and Wesch (2007), I think Kahoot is a prime example of a participatory tool that is a simple way for people to connect and interact with each other in a not only a classroom situation but also in an organizational leadership setting. While I have not done so yet, I have been waiting for our next office training session to use Kahoot as a means to gauge my team members’ knowledge on such subjects as equal opportunity protections, sexual harassment law/regulations, and contracting so we can address the areas in which they are lacking information. I believe this use of Kahoot to establish the base lines would encourage discussion during our training sessions and be an example of the kind of person-to-person collaboration highlighted by Clay Shirky in his interview by Michael Chui (2014). Rather than hosting training sessions with the usual lecturer standing in front of a group of dull eyed attendees, using Kahoot could at least be used as a conversation starter and serve as a segue for the instructor to focus on areas identified as weak during the quizzes. Overall, I think Kahoot can serve as an effective tool to gauge knowledge and encourage collaboration in a classroom setting or other learning environment. Ben


Chui, M. (Interviewer) & Shirky, C. (Interviewee). (2014). The Disruptive Power of Collaboration: An Interview With Clay Shirky [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from McKinsey and Company website: http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/the-disruptive-power-of-collaboration-an-interview-with-clay-shirky

O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What is web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a//web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html

Wesch, M. (2007, March 7). The machine is us/ing us (final version). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g&feature=youtu.be


11 thoughts on “Kahoot! It can be a game changer for collaboration”

  1. Ben:
    Thank you for this review of Kahoot. I heard about this tool several months ago during a conference presentation. The presenter mentioned in passing using it for a information literacy class. As I read your review I thought this might be one answer to a need in my academic library. Several days ago I met with my instruction librarians. We were talking about new ways to gather assessment data for student learning outcomes in our instruction sessions. We have used clickers in the past and were looking at an interactive tool called Plickers. It involves visual cues, smart devices, and multiple choice questions. Kahoot sounds like a great option. Especially since you indicate that participants can receive individualized feedback on their own device. I will recommend that our instruction librarians investigate Kahoot. Doing assessment of student learning outcomes is critical — conducting assessment in a fun, lively way is a win-win.
    Randy Roberts


    1. Hi Randy,

      I should have added in my initial post that my review of Kahoot was unbiased and I am neither an employee of Kahoot nor am being compensated for this review. Yes, I would recommend that your team members give Kahoot a try. To my knowledge, Kahoot is still free for educators so at least you would not have to pay for the test run. Ben Hammer


      1. Ben:
        Thanks for the follow up note. I plan to put something together for one of my upcoming meetings as an introduction to our instruction team.


  2. Ben,

    Thanks for your blog post on Kahoot. I have always imagined a digital way to make on-going formation of my staff interesting and Kahoot seems to provide an appropriate and user-friendly response. Apart from being free, the fact that it even allows for social conversation around the learning experience makes it even more supportive of learning. Also, capacity of the creator of the game to give appropriate feedbacks is also very helpful for learning. I believe it can be a very good tool that organizational leaders can use to encourage on-going learning for staff. One of the selling points of Kahoot as a Web 2.0 is that it is adaptable and can be used in several smart and hand-held devices (O’Reily & Batelle, 2009).

    My question is if all age groups of staff may find this medium of learning equally attractive?

    Once again, thanks for introducing me to Kahoot. I just signed on and hope to explore it a bit more.



    O’Reilly, T., & Batelle, J. (2009). What is web 2.0? Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a//web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html


    1. Hi Edeltech,

      Thanks for providing some additional information about Kahoot’s capabilities. I think Kahoot will be attractive to groups of all ages as long as the quizzes were geared to the intended audience. I had my misgivings about Kahoot the first time I used it since the website is naturally designed for younger students with the use of bold colors and simple graphics but that may also be a way to keep costs down for Kahoot. When I have used Kahoot in group settings, the 20 to 30 participants varied in age from the early 20s to early 60s but all ages became quite immersed after using Kahoot for a few minutes. The enthusiasm in my groups grew even higher when teams in groups of three to four members competed against each other for the high quiz scores. The only caveat I will offer is that the quizzes should be tailored for the target audience. For example, if conducting a pre-training assessment on a group of mid-level managers on the subject on employee absences then the quizzes should be about company policy and state and federal law regarding sick leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to use a couple of examples. Of course, Kahoot could just be used as an ice breaker and the quizzes could cover fun stuff like everyday trivia or current events to warm up the crowd. Ben Hammer


  3. I love this new tool! I had never heard of it before, and I’m so glad you chose this. I can see using this tool for instructor training, or as a quick assessment at the end of an orientation session. It also looks like a great way to ease adult learners into using technology, as many of those I work with are not “techie” types and are a bit anxious about using tech. It looks like a great way to get participants engaged and having fun, and I can’t wait to try it!

    I don’t see many downsides to using this tool – other than needing an Internet connection and a device to “play” on. Do you see any others – especially thinking of using it with adult learners?



    1. Hi Andrea,

      Kahoot appealed to me because it is simple to use and it is free (for now) for educators so even if you tried it with a group of adult learners and received negative feedback, the time investment is minimal. As I mentioned above to Edeltech, my only caveat is that the instructor needs to tailor the quizzes to the intended audience. If not, the group may lose focus if the quiz is not about the class material or frustrated if the quiz questions are too hard. I saw a bit of the frustration when one of the peer instructors in a class I was attending decided to use a Kahoot quiz in a Jeopardy style competition with the questions becoming increasingly harder as the quiz progressed. Since a Kahoot participant cannot quit in the middle of a quiz, a series of wrong answers (zero points on the main scoreboard) by some of my peers during this ‘Jeopardy’ round quickly became evident to the entire group which caused some minor embarrassment for some. Not a deal killer but something to consider. Ben Hammer


  4. Ben,

    I have never heard of Kahoot, and it seems pretty awesome from your critique. I think the main point that I would take from your post is that Kahoot is a tool that gets its users involved and participating. It elicits competition, and allows for interaction between students for educational purposes. How would you use this tool in your profession?

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Kaylea,

      I can think of two ways to use Kahoot in my profession. The first way is during our refresher training sessions so the instructor can use Kahoot as a pre-test before the training begins and use Kahoot after the training as a post test to see if the class members remembered / learned the concepts covered. A second way is to send Kahoot quizzes to our overseas locations to query staff members before semi-annual inspections occur concerning their regulation compliance and identify areas of weakness before the inspection teams arrive. I believe Kahoot would be a light-hearted and fun way to assess inspection readiness in a less stressful format than our usual pre-inspection questionnaires. Ben Hammer


  5. The concept of Kahoot is truly exciting, especially for use in any learning environment. Can it be employed as a community education tool? What would be the best way to deploy it?


    1. Hi Mark,

      I think Kahoot can be used as a community education tool since there are few barriers to using the Kahoot platform. As long as the users have an internet connection then Kahoot quizzes can be made available from the instructor and as far as I know, Kahoot quizzes can be written in any language. If the class members do not have their own device to connect to the internet then perhaps the class could be held at a public library, public school during non-class hours, or an adult education center. For community educators, I suggest employing Kahoot as a needs assessment tool for the educator’s focus group. For example, if the goal for the educator is to teach community members about voting rights and responsibilities then the educator can develop a Kahoot quiz to pre-test community members about what they already know about voting and tailor the classes on the areas where community members are weakest. Ben Hammer


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