Many of us experience gamification in our everyday lives. When you’re done shopping using your rewards card, what makes you keep going back to the store? It’s the gamified motivation created by the rewards associated with the card that encourages you to shop again and again.
Gamification can be the next disruptive technology in eLearning. It refers to the implementation of theories and mechanics used in video game designs in non-playable content. Popular video games are designed using different techniques to hook and keep gamers engaged. A typical game comprises of rules, levels, and rewards. To advance to the next level, users need to follow the rules, and as they keep on progressing, they’re rewarded for their efforts.
Similarly, certain game-like elements are incorporated into eLearning lessons to inspire a game-like reaction and engagement among learners. This not only helps motivate the learners but also leads to improved information retention and increased productivity. Moreover, learners are rewarded for good performances and encouraged to complete the courses.
However, gamifying eLearning is a complicated task that requires the integration of the right mechanics and narratives into the eLearning platform. To design an effective gamified eLearning platform, trainers need to view the learners as gamers and provide them with content that is interactive with certain time constraints.
One of the most important factors is the nature of the content and how appealing it is to the learners. It should be a combination of visually rich videos and presentations with interactive tools. These may include quizzes, multi-player gaming options for various learners, problem-solving exercises, etc.
Most gamified eLearning platforms include rewards in the form of badges, vouchers, or leaderboards. Multi-player gaming options and communication facilities spur competition and help create a community that isn’t possible with personalized learning platforms.
Why Gamify eLearning?
The cognitive and affective domains of our minds are highly influenced by gamification. While our cognitive domain serves to recollect, understand, evaluate, and analyze information, the affective domain is concerned with applying learning and decision-making to values, attitudes, and emotions. It’s obvious how these functions are essential for learning in corporate training as well as education. Hence, learning games can be used in exercises and academic lectures.
In corporate settings, employee training often lacks the liveliness needed to keep the employees engrossed and engaged. The indifference of employees makes it difficult for them to gain the skills and knowledge required to deliver their best at work. ‘Dull’ training that does not involve interactions brought about by gamification can easily lose employee attention and significantly undermine the effectiveness of the training.
Gamified corporate training helps to enhance the confidence of employees and motivates them to achieve their goals.
Also, gamification is an incredible solution to keep employees safe and motivated in stressful or dangerous jobs. Applying gaming elements to training associated with stressful jobs helps to bring life to their work. In the case of hazardous jobs, practical training is extremely crucial to ensure the safety of the employees. Taking the employees through a virtual working environment using gamification will greatly help them understand the risks involved and how they can avoid certain dangers.
In terms of education, eLearning has become an important part of college culture as well as virtual academic platforms. Among the most notable developments in this area is Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which is a widely researched movement for distance learning. Emerging as a popular mode of learning in 2012, MOOCs offer free online courses for anyone to enroll in. According to an analysis conducted by Class Central, MOOCs had more than 58 million enrolled students and 6850 courses from more than 700 registered universities by 2016.
Even though MOOCs have provided learners with the opportunity to learn whatever they want and whenever it is convenient for them, the biggest challenge is to motivate people to learn. As a result, MOOCs have been reported to have a drop-out rate of 90 percent.
No one is denying the benefits of eLearning, but it is equally important to include the right gamification tools and strategies in online lectures and training to motivate learners to complete the courses and attain the necessary skills.
Gamification Strategies for Corporate Training
Organizations hold different types of corporate training sessions. The following are some gamification strategies aimed at improving employee experiences in specific types of training:
For technical exercises, one effective strategy is to use a portal or a platform-based solution that holds various modules on application simulation. Learners should be awarded points for completing the tasks. In case a trainee gets stuck at some point, hints should be given, but points should be deducted for each hint. To help users track their progress across the modules, they are provided with a dashboard that also allows users to post questions to seek expert guidance.
Professional Skills Training
The recommended strategy, in this case, is to gamify account management fundamentals training for project managers. It is an LMS-based solution that comprises of four levels, each of which can be adjusted with a proficiency level. As learners come across challenges, microlearning nuggets can be used to present aids or hints. Trainees may also access expert feedback. At each stage or level, the trainee gains a badge and is awarded points for successful attempts and completion of modules.
Onboarding and Induction Training
The gamification strategy suggested for onboarding and induction training is based on completing missions. Spread across a period of 100 days, the training should take newly hired employees through missions related to an aspect of induction and onboarding.
To gain interest and highlight importance, the visuals simulate the theme of a military mission. The dashboard allows trainees to track their progress and social activities and view their achievements.
This isn’t about training newly hired employees. This strategy targets the training of recruitment managers, helping them improve their skills in interviewing and hiring candidates. The gamification strategy is to create a simulation of the recruitment process, which allows trainees to view candidate profiles and conduct virtual interviews.
After the interviews, the trainees need to make a recruitment decision. At each module, they’ll be given scores. Finally, they’ll be awarded or assigned penalties based on the decisions made. Also, they’ll obtain feedback for their performance.
Who likes the idea of going through countless pages of compliance documents? Gamification in eLearning has brought life to the information related to the code of conduct and business ethics. The strategy is to present all this information in the form of a Visual Journey Map that depicts different locations in the organization. Learners click on a location to unlock the code document that pertains to that particular location.
However, before students can move on to the next location and unlock the corresponding information, they must attempt a challenge and complete it successfully. As learners progress to subsequent levels, they are awarded points and bonuses for good performances. They can view a comprehensive scorecard of their performance from the dashboard.
Gamification Strategies for Education
In gamified eLearning courses, students are often encouraged to complete a task that unlocks the next task, promoting student engagement. This makes learning more fun for students and offers a personalized learning experience to allow students to progress at their own pace.
The following are some gamification strategies that can be applied to eLearning in education:
Using Gamification Components
To make the learning process interesting for students, you will most certainly have to play around with the levels, points, and badge mechanics in eLearning platforms. Each component applies differently to condition the learners to complete the courses.
First of all, you should plan the levels. The learners should be able to jump to subsequent levels as they move forward. In planning the levels, all possible training aspects must be considered so that the learners only reach the final level once they have completed all previous tasks.
To jump to a certain level, learners need to achieve a fixed number of points. These can be set depending on how many modules or activities there are in each level.
Finally, the eLearning program should have badges assigned to each course the learners go through. Completing a course will attach the corresponding badge to the learner’s profile. This gives the learners a sense of achievement, motivating them to remain consistent and complete the course.
It’s quite common for gaming experts to use challenges to hook their users. If you think about it, every time you play a game, you’re facing a challenge. Students can be encouraged to challenge themselves by allowing them to add more to their assignments or completing them before the set deadlines. This is a great way to keep students engaged in their learning.
Allow for Multiple Tries
While schools don’t grant students a second chance once they’ve been scored on a particular assignment, video games allow players to keep trying until they succeed. Incorporating the same gaming concept into digital learning can significantly impact student progression. When it comes to online quizzes, students may be given a second chance or even a third chance. This helps them learn from their own mistakes and reduces the stress and pressure associated with failure.
The Future of Gamification
While existing gamification strategies are aimed at targeting the lower levels of the cognitive domain, the question arises whether gamification can be used to influence the more complicated learner abilities, i.e., whether they can help students and corporate trainees tackle advanced-level concepts, skills, and algorithms.
Even so, gamification is not guaranteed to attract all types of learners. The type of personality, the environment, and culture are some critical factors that determine an individual’s attitude towards a gamified eLearning program.
But the boredom and dullness associated with traditional learning programs needs to be addressed, both for upper and lower cognitive levels. No matter how advanced a course is, engagement and motivation remain the decisive elements that can encourage learning. In the future, we expect to see fun gimmicks used to create a positive learning experience for the most complex and challenging courses. Hence, badges, leaderboards, and similar gamification tools will remain relevant and keep on motivating trainees to complete the courses.