November 13 2014

Gamification in eLearning: What is it and Why do I want it?

Written by Lambda Solutions

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gamificaiton in eLearning


We are excited to share an amazing presentation with you—Gamify your eLearning! 6 Ways to Incorporate Gamification in eLearning by instructional designer, Paula Yunker. Before watching the presentation read this article to bring yourself up to speed on gamification in eLearning.

What exactly is Gamification anyways?

Try typing ‘gamification’ into a Word document. Without a doubt you will notice that Word detects this spelling as incorrect. You have not actually spelled Gamification incorrectly but rather the term and technology is so new that it is not in the dictionary. According to Christopher Pappas from eLearning Industry, the term ‘gamification’ was coined in its present day meaning in 2002 by a British IT expert named Nick Pelling. It wasn’t until about four years ago though (2010) that the term ‘gamification’ became widely used.

Today, many are beginning to incorporate gamification to eLearning to engage students and employees in the learning process using gaming concepts. Thus as it sounds, gamification is the use of game thinking and mechanics in non-game contexts/environments to motivate users to solve problems and contribute to learning exercises. Simply, gamification is used to make every day activities more fun and engaging! Using our natural desire for social connection, learning, mastery, competition, achievement and status— gamification has been successfully applied to areas other than education such as marketing, customer engagement, crowdsourcing and employee productivity.

Why do I want Gamification in eLearning?

Simply speaking, because it works. We are all prone to seek activities that challenge and engage us in fun, social and interactive ways. The fun seeking hedonists in us all align with Pew Gamification’s research which draws on that fact that “Neuroscientists are discovering more and more about the ways in which humans react to such interactive design elements. They say such elements [gamification] can cause feel good chemical reactions, alter human responses to stimuli—increasing reaction times, for instance—and in certain situations can improve learning, participation, and motivation.”

The last part is paramount. Gamification can improve learning, participation, and motivation with your eLearners. In today’s day and age our attention is constantly being competed for. Online learning possesses one of the largest challenges in capturing learner’s attention namely because you are competing with the World Wide Web. When we play games, we are often times engulfed in the task at hand as our competitive drive pushes us to win. Gamification in eLearning helps achieve this focus in the learning activity at hand.

A professor from the University of Colorado Denver, Traci Sitzmann, studied the effectiveness of gamification over the duration of a year with data from 6,476 adult trainees. In her analysis she found that when learners were presented with training that incorporated simulation and gamification, learning increased in the following ways:

  • Skill-based knowledge level increased by 14%
  • Factual-knowledge level increased by 11%
  • Retention of material learnt increased by 9%

To learn how to implement gamification in eLearning, watch out recorded webinar with instructional Designer Paula Yunker from Limestone Learning. Paula has over 30 years of experience as an instructional designer and has helped organizations and schools just like yours utilize gamification to successfully engage eLearners.

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