On this guide:
July 2023 update: The European unicorn turns private following a deal involving Goldman Sachs Assets Management, LEGO Group’s KIRKBI investment company, Glitrafjord —fund controlled by Kahoot CEO— and General Atlantic which remains the app’s largest stakeholder. The deal with a 53% premium on the latest stock price values Kahoot at $1.7 billion USD, keeping it into unicorn territory but a far cry from their lockdowns height.
In August, 2021: Have you checked Kahoot! in Zoom’s new App store? In its first release, Kahoot’s is perhaps the most popular addition to the massively popular videoconferencing app‘s app store, as it tries to figure itself out post-pandemic.
In May: Kahoot has moved from Euronext Growth, Norway’s small and medium–sized stock exchange, into proper Oslo Børs. After reaching an all-time high, the company’s value remains above the 70 Billion NOK ($8 Billion USD), decidedly into Unicorn territory. First moves following the entry in the Børs included the acquisition of employee engagement and learning company Motimate and Single-Sign On EdTech platform Clever.
Kahoot (or Kahoot!) is a popular gamification learning app based on competitive quizzes. With a friendly and almost childlike interface, a repository of quizzes created by users, institutions and even entertainment giants like Disney; and numerous design strategies that make it irresistible to complete one more quiz and climb up the ranks, Kahoot is without a doubt one of the most prominent online learning, boasting over a million paid users on 2020.
With a dwindling valuation of close to $6 billion USD in 2020, now $1.7 billion as it goes private once again, but growing revenues, Kahoot has fared slightly better than its peers as the pandemic boom recedes and shakes up global EdTech.
In 2019, Kahoot reported revenues of $13 million, and $45.2 in 2020, a more than twofold increase becoming a milestone in the European EdTech arena for the year. Founded at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) by Johan Brand, Jamie Brooker and Morten Versvik, Kahoot is led by Eilert Hanoa, has the support of Japanese venture capital firm SoftBank, and has made alliances with Microsoft, Disney and LEGO. Key acquisitions made by Kahoot include Drops, a language learning app comparable to Duolingo or Memrise; and Clever.
But what is Kahoot and how to understand it? In this guide you will find everything you need to know to identify its virtues (and things to look out for), incorporate it into your teaching and even take advantage of its use more effectively for your students. Add a few minutes of Kahoot to the end of your lessons and notice how it can transform attention and participation in radical ways.
How Kahoot! fits into the elearning ecosystem
How could you understand Kahoot in relation to the wide and lush ecosystem of educational technologies?
You can include Kahoot within the group of quizzes or short tests, but also in the gamification, social learning and even microlearning spaces. By offering a practical way to assess learning and make it more dynamic and interactive —including the ease of creating “Kahoots” or finding a useful one in its massive online library— the value of Kahoot is in the entertaining way it puts students to compete to test their knowledge, quick response and accuracy.
Kahoot can be used live or asynchronously for short sessions. It is not recommended for complex assessments or standardized testing.
Students and teachers can discover a new way of solving assessments virtually with Kahoot. Teachers can give quick feedback to lots of students and gather useful information for summative assessment purposes. Additionally, with the possibility of creating your own quizzes, Kahoot promotes peer evaluation in a practical way.
How Kahoot! works
On the Kahoot website, you can register for free and start creating “Kahoots”: Multiple choice quizzes that you can share and broadcast on a live dashboard that prompts the questions and shows a leaderboard in real-time.
Players must join your Kahoot by entering a pin in a mobile application (Android and iOS) or on the website. Their device becomes a remote control with which they can answer the questions that will appear on the host’s screen.
When the game starts, participants must answer the questions before a time limit. After each question, participants can see the scores of the other people, and who is ahead. Answering (correctly) faster gives students higher scores. The instant leaderboard update after each question is a powerful motivator for students looking to best their peers.
When the game comes to an end, the dashboard shows a podium with the winners. The teacher is able to export the results on a CSV file. While no LMS integration is known at this time, the Kahoot API provides methods to automate reporting, among other capabilities.
The business: How does Kahoot! make money?
Although you can create your Kahoots for free, they have limitations, such as a player limit (maximum 10 in the free version). This service is called “Basic Kahoot”. You can upgrade to remove these limitations and enjoy advanced gameplay and management features, with editions for people and families, educators and enterprise users.
Another source of Kahoot’s income comes from “premium” allies. They are well known companies around the world, such as Marvel, Nat Geo, Disney, Cambridge, Britannica and many others. Disney, for example, has created a series of educational Kahoots that links movies like Frozen, Cars or Mickey Mouse adventures with school subjects.
Why use Kahoot! (or a competitor)?
Kahoot has come to the educational technology industry to change the perspective of virtual assessments and activities.
Creating, administering and compiling results of an examination is always an arduous task. Kahoot can greatly simplify the process of continuous assessment, and the delivery of quizzes to dozens or hundreds of students. It is very easy to join the platform, create a Kahoot and in a matter of minutes and share it with the students. Kahoot not only motivates and evaluates the level of learning and retention: It is also a fun tool. Many teachers use Kahoot works as an in-session reward, regardless of its evaluating role.
Teachers can download the results of the quizzes in a CSV file, which makes it possible to incorporate Kahoot’s performance in the gradebook tools or LMS.
One of the main differences compared to the competition is its ease of use. For premium members, additional features and analytics are available to enhance the experience and deliver better results.
In 2023, Kahoot reached 9 billion games played. The number of users and large organizations relying on Kahoot skyrocketed during the pandemic, and has reported 1 million paid users prior to the private equity deal.
How do I get started with Kahoot! as an educator?
If you are a teacher and you want to start creating virtual quizzes, all you need to do is sign up as a teacher.
After this, you will see a series of package options that you can buy. To get started, you can choose the free version and start experimenting.
Done! You can now start creating your Kahoots.
Just click the big “Create” button at the top to start. You have the option of creating multiple-choice or true-false quiz questions. You can also add images and embed videos in the questions and answer choices to make the test more fun and interactive.
Is Kahoot! safe?
The information collected on the platform is stored according to modern security standards. Its security and personal data handling policies receive an almost impeccable rating from the SSLTrust review aggregator.
The parental review site Common Sense Media gives Kahoot a 4-star rating. The main criticism Common Sense Media makes is the blurry boundaries between educational and commercial or pop culture content on the library, especially those created by entertainment companies.
Kahoot does not require personal information beyond a name, date of birth, email and password, but collects and stores usage data.
The Kahoots you have created are stored in a personal collection that you can see in your account. You can even bookmark and share your favorite Kahoots with your students, friends and teachers. Kahoot may use this information to recommend Kahoots to other users.
Is Kahoot! accessible?
Kahoot claims to comply with the WCAG version 2.1 accessibility standards, presenting a conformance level “AA” (being “AAA” the highest). Among the accessibility functionalities mentioned, it includes the ability to increase the size of the text, use of alt-text tooltips, compatibility with keyboard shortcuts and compatibility with text-to-speech tools.
The only technical update on Kahoot’s accessibility features found so far was published in 2018. It recounts aspects of a process of evaluating the usability of the mobile menu using human testers.
Kahoot has an Inclusion and Accessibility Policy, which appears very boilerplate and lacking in detail.
Is Kahoot effective?
A 2020 literature review on the Computers & Education Journal revealed mainly positive effects of on learning performance, teachers and students’ attitudes and perception; and learner anxiety, based on 70 quantitative studies published between 2015 and 2018.
But to answer the question for your specific use case, it is important to clarify beforehand: What is your goal in using Kahoot?
- If your goal is to increase the participation and interest of your students, Kahoot is an effective and easy-to-use tool.
- If your goal is to test your students more frequently, Kahoot can be effective if you plan a competency and data strategy. Kahoot should not be your only method of examination.
- If your goal is to improve test scores, primarily by increasing the available resources and time spent by students during preparation, Kahoot as a prep tool can provide significant contributions to increased test scores, at least compared to no tool.
- If your goal is to save time and increase your productivity when it comes to consolidating skills in your students, the constant use of Kahoot as a summative assessment tool can lead to an increase in the educational results of your students.
Pros and cons of Kahoot!
One of the main criticisms that Kahoot receives compared to other alternatives is how tedious it is to create quizzes.
- Users participate in a collective experience in real time, which challenges participants on their knowledge and quick wit.
- On the website you can find millions of public Kahoots that you can use. The quality of quizzes made by users varies greatly, but you can create copies of existing Kahoots and modify them.
- The Android and iOS app lets you create Kahoots from your mobile device.
- Making questions can be done quickly. Bulk creation using a spreadsheet is possible.
- Kahoot requires each student to have a device, in addition to one for the dashboard; stable internet connection is needed for all of them.
- The speed of some participants when answering the questions can lead them to long waits when it is done simultaneously, as it is necessary to wait for all the participants to answer a question to advance to the next.
- Excessive use could generate aversion to other less entertaining but more complete means of examination or educational performance monitoring.
- The information collected by Kahoot regarding student activity is not representative and should not be considered as the sole source of data about a person’s process.
- The internal recommendation engine of Kahoots is generally disliked any may promote distractions and lower educational value, in favor of higher user engagement.
Alternatives to Kahoot! What are the main competitors?
There are countless sites where you can create quizzes to test and teach students, challenge friends, and have fun as a family. Some platforms including the top LMS include similar tools, albeit with basic functionality.
Just as Kahoot is a platform known for the easy and fun creation of online quizzes, there are some very direct competitors. Here are the most popular ones:
With a more serious, encompassing take, Socrative is a game-based learning app featuring quizzes, rooms and leaderboards.
Sign up for free to have your own room for one class and up to one activity at a time for up to 50 students and 5 quizzes.
It is one of the most direct alternatives, due to the similarity in methodology for creating quizzes and the configuration of the games.
It works pretty much the same way: You create a quiz and you have the freedom to choose the answer options.
Among the differences, in Quizizz you don’t need an exclusive device for a dashboard to see the questions and leaderboards. These will appear on the device on which you are taking the quiz.
During the solution of the quiz, the person who is participating can accumulate points to earn bonuses that make the quiz score go up, depending on your correct answers. Goodies like wildcards and power-ups are also a Quizizz feature not found in Kahoot.
In Quizlet you learn through flashcards with texts and images.
The most interesting part of this tool is that after the educational cards are made, the app automatically creates activities and games. This means that they could save you more time in the design of quizzes than Kahoot. This is often a source of disappointment for users who begin with Kahoot after being familiar with Quizlet content creation.
By using the cards on Quizlet, you can classify the topics learned into different sections using pictures and short descriptions.
Another alternative, where participants accumulate points, which they can later use to buy “power-ups” in the store.
Power-ups allow you to earn even more points for each question, and protect you from penalties in wrong answers.
Expertly Kahooting: How to use Kahoot like a pro
Making good use of Kahoot is a matter of knowing the platform very well and how it works.
If you are an educator and you want your students to learn while having fun, it is important to take advantage of images, videos, sound and other multimedia resources.
A special challenge these types of apps face is the emphasis on creating fun experiences that allow a greater number of students to participate, at the cost of a higher level of challenge. For large groups, this can cause feelings of either boredom, or anxiety depending on their place along the leaderboard. Teachers overcome this by applying differential challenges, and mixing up “serious” and “fun” questions in the same live session.
While playing during the quizzes is the core part of the experience, there is a case to be made for the Kahoot creation and the search and find activities (possibly for later repurposing) as educationally valuable.
Of course, Kahoot is simple and flexible enought to lend itself to a variety of uses. Case in point: The Bucks County Reading Olympics, in Pennsylvania, went turned to Kahoot as they switched to a fully virtual contest.
In the physical classroom
It is important to educate students to make good use of the technologies and devices that are used to answer these quizzes.
You can create tests individually or by teams to answer the quizzes, to encourage group participation and exchange of interests among students.
The questions can be accompanied by actions, sounds and drawings that students can do while answering the quiz in order to obtain a higher score.
On live online settings
Kahoot is a great ally for virtual sessions. It is common to use it at the end, or in the middle of long sessions, as it increases the alertness of the students in a short time.
In self-paced mode
The competition against the clock is one of the attributes that increases interest and participation in a Kahoot. In cases where students are unable to participate in a simultaneous activity, Kahoot offers “challenges” with a deadline to be completed.
More generally, Kahoot can be a complement to personal study, similar to flashcards, especially considering the ease with which students can create their own games. In fact, one of the most common uses in cases of constant Kahoot use as a learning device, is the collective participation in Kahoot made by students, where they challenge each other. Creation itself is a formative activity, reflecting acquired knowledge as well as design, research and presentation skills.
How much does Kahoot cost? Kahoot pricing in 2021
Kahoot has a forever-free version, which you can start using to familiarize with the platform, the dashboard, library and quiz interfaces.
The free version allows you to create a limited number of Kahoots and play with a small number of participants (up to 10 at a time).
If you want to upgrade to remove these limitations, Kahoot offers personal, family, educator and institutional plans. Some of them give you a 7-day free trial. (They require you to enter a credit card.)
The prices indicated below are as of January 2021. All subscriptions are in US dollars and are billed annually in advance, although Kahoot presents prices on a monthly basis. There seems to be no way to purchase Kahoot on a monthly basis, so the information displayed on their site can be misleading.
Plans for personal and family use
You can purchase Kahoot! + Start for $60 USD, Kahoot! + Family for $60 USD or Kahoot! + Premier for $180 USD annually.
Each higher category offers additional management and interactivity features, and allows more people to participate.
Plans for educational institutions
With this plan, educational institutions obtain a license for the school, or institution of higher education. This allows multiple teachers to use Kahoot, as well as administrative tools and training. These plans contemplate the use of Kahoot for both students and teachers as players.
Kahoot! EDU is priced at $72 USD for schools and districts, and $180 USD annually for Higher Ed institutions.
Plans for teachers
With these plans, teachers have unlimited restrictions on the number of players per quiz. Additional features include slideshow integration and lesson plans.
Can I integrate Kahoot into an LMS like Moodle or D2L?
At writing, we are not aware of any integrations or plugins to link Kahoot with an LMS or any platform, either official or unofficial. In other words, there is no solution that lets you add quizzes, share them, automate the monitoring of completed activities or incorporate results in final grades within the platform; much less logging in using the same user credentials.
There has been an active request to incorporate LTI functionality in Kahoot since 2018. LTI would easily allow Kahoot to connect with compatible systems to transmit information between them. No official reply has been given on the status of this request.
This means the best way to incorporate Kahoot into an LMS is probably by inserting the link somewhere or in the course activity in the LMS; or as a web resource. While it is possible to participate in a competition without registering, student registration and use of the app is necessary to track performance.
The results can be exported in a CSV file to be imported into the LMS gradebook, but it will definitely require some data processing to make it compatible with the system.
Accessing the Kahoot functionality via API is also not possible. An unofficial project, “Kahoot.JS” that would offer tools to incorporate Kahoot functions into other programs is available and appears to be still in active development. You can find information about Kahoot JS on their GitHub page. The company does not seem happy about the use of these unofficial APIs though, as indicated by this discontinuation notice on another GitHub. We did not find any official Kahoot position regarding these, or if there is an official API under consideration.
TO SUM UP: What is Kahoot?
- Kahoot is an educational platform focused on competitive quizzes, with elements of gamification, microlearning and social learning. Teachers and students can create and share quizzes, and access a library of millions of “Kahoots” made by other users, as well as educational, commercial or pop culture corporate allies.
- With different versions available, you can start with a free version and stay with it forever; or upgrade to one of the personal, educational or institutional plans.
- Kahoot is proven to be reliable, safe, and effective on goals like increasing engagement, interest in live sessions, ongoing evaluation, and even retention if used consistently. It is not recommended as the only evaluation method or as the only source of information about the student process.
- Kahoot offers its users a highly entertaining way of learning through the development and playing of quizzes, You can build your own or find free quizzes on the official library, which you can play or copy for edit and reuse.
- It can be used from a mobile device, downloading the application available at AppStore and Play Store , or from a browser by entering the website.
- Kahoot offers tools to streamline the creation of quizzes and managing information, although some of these functionalities are only available in paid subscriptions. The results of the quizzes can be exported in a comma file (CSV).
- With the pandemic, Kahoot has managed to position itself in the edtech industry as one of the best online interactivity tools. Teachers have found several ways to leverage Kahoot to increase engagement, frequency of assessment and a study practice through continuous use.
- Kahoot has benefited millions of students and teachers around the world, with volumes that have grown tremendously as of 2020. With very optimistic prospects on the educational and business sides, Kahoot is undoubtedly one of the most notable EdTech success stories from Nordic countries in recent time.