First Principles

Here are some of the underlying principles which have guided the design of Rollama. They may help you to explain the benefits to your head of department or colleagues, or to understand our line of thinking on current design choices. 

Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are foundational to fluent communication; they enable accurate and clear thinking. They are the glue which bind ideas and expression. Without them, meaning falls apart.

In building Rollama, we have drawn on the latest educational research and our 25 years’ experience in classrooms, teaching English to students aged 8 to 16.

Aim: We want to help children write in clear English with confidence.

We knew gamification had an inherent benefit for learners. We've experienced ourselves — in learning coding, or Mandarin, or chess.

But even we were surprised when we read the largest meta-analysis of peer-reviewed studies in the features of gamification in learning.

When designing Rollama, many of these features were intuitive — here's the one-liner on why we included each one:

  • Points and XP to feel a sense of progress and literally 'keep score'

  • Leaderboards for healthy competition

  • Medals and trophies to mark achievements

  • Challenges and quests to focus the player's motivation

  • Levels for difficulty and a sense of chapters and fresh starts

  • Quizzes, well — it's what we do!

  • Performance stats for meta-cognition and self-reflection

  • Timers to keep things focused

  • Avatars to give a sense of ownership and investment

  • Competition to spark enthusiasm and energy

  • Retries so failure is never a punishment, just a step in learning

  • Increasing difficulty to form a constructive path over time

  • In-game rewards to keep students coming back

  • Adaptive difficulty to allow everyone to succeed

  • Multiplayer because sometimes you want to share your learning with friends

    Did we miss something? Let us know here.