Gamification is a practice that consists of using principles taken from video games to design products that would typically not be considered games. The purpose of gamification is to keep users engaged and, in the context of eLearning, to help users achieve their goals while having fun.
Gamification is an approach that makes sense for professional training programs. You can recreate scenarios learners are going to encounter at work, track progress and achievements with levels and badges, and keep learners motivated and engaged. eLearning gamification can boost engagement and motivation, but it is important to align gamification elements with learning objectives to achieve positive results.
Here is a short video on what is gamification and its components, explained by Paula Yunker, Managing Partner & Instructional Designer at Limestone Learning:
Common Gamification Mistakes to Avoid
Even though fun and engagement are key components of a successful eLearning gamification strategy, the learning objectives should always come first.
L&D teams sometimes make the mistake of developing complex projects that resemble sophisticated video games instead of choosing only the elements and principles that are relevant to the training and development programs. This can result in complex rules of play and poor UX design. Learners confronted with several game mechanics elements will have difficulty focusing on the learning objectives that matter.
How to Develop a Successful Gamification Strategy
Let's look at two different learning experiences for a new employee orientation that can benefit from using gamification. The L&D team should start by analyzing the resources available, who the audience is and what the learning objectives are.
For instance, four learning objectives are identified for the orientation:
- Creating a sense of belonging to a team.
- Understanding workplace policies and safety rules.
- Understanding how performance is measured and what is expected.
- Becoming familiar with the philosophy and mission of the company.
The first eLearning gamification strategy is simple. New employees will earn a badge by completing a training module and filling out a quiz to assess how much they have learned. The training module will go over workplace policies, safety rules, how performance is measured and what is expected from the new staff.
The second gamification strategy connects this eLearning experience with a hands-on activity. New employees are split up in teams to compete against each other and answer quiz questions based on the training module they have already completed.
This second activity builds on the knowledge already acquired, reinforces this knowledge and introduces collaboration and the sense of belonging to the team. This is an environment where a learner can celebrate earning their orientation badge and can actively contribute to making their team win since the information should be fresh in their mind. This is a positive team-building experience that also serves the purpose of refreshing important information about policies and safety.
This activity is also the perfect occasion for a more thorough presentation of the company's mission and values. While playing this collaborative game, employees will understand more about the company culture.
Getting gamification right can be challenging. Lambda Solutions has been exploring this topic with a series of webinars. Get started with part one, Gamification 101 – What It Is and How to Get Started, to learn more about this concept and find out about the common pitfalls to avoid:
Make sure you watch the part two of this webinar series, How to Reduce Disengagement with Gamification, to explore the eLearning gamification strategies that can boost engagement!
Originally published on October 4, 2018. Last updated on May 13, 2020.