What is gamification?
Gamification means using the structure of a game to deliver training, and it is accelerating in popularity. Educational online gaming is a long established method of teaching children, but learning designers are increasingly seeing the benefits of this approach for bigger children (adults) as well.
Gamification for online training sometimes features as a full scenario-based game with learning elements built into it. It can, however, be as simple as implementing badge rewards for completing areas of the course, and this is still highly effective. Introducing a playful and competitive element to training courses means that learning is no longer a chore.
Gamification can be as simple as badge rewards for completing parts of a course
People have innate instincts for social learning and gratification through achievement, which gamification taps into. The competitive elements of gamification also factor significantly in encouraging user engagement, especially when there are leaderboards or their progress is visible to other users. Information through gamification is presented to the learner while their attention is fully engaged, which has been proven to increase retention.
A great example of the effectiveness of gamification for learning are apps like Duolingo. This teaches language vocabulary and grammar through a quiz and badge format. Short quizzes follow bite-size lessons, and the user receives a badge after successfully completing the whole asset. Duolingo tracks user progress, like any Learning Management System, and sends users email reminders on their progress report.
Realistically, it would be hard to recreate the type of LMS that Duolingo is built on quickly or cheaply. Key elements of the gamification model it follows, however, can be available on a low-cost platform.
Bluewolf, a sales consultancy company, have also used gamification successfully in their training. This time, it was for internal staff. Bluewolf attached a competitive point-scoring system to internal networking data. This incentivised greater participation in the company network, and made it fun.
Duolingo is a great example again of how well gamification works when it is combined with mobile learning. The flexibility of accessing a course on mobile means that users can pop in and out and complete a learning asset on the commute, or when they have a spare moment at home. The pull towards spending time in this way lies in moreish features of gamification like badge rewards.
Gamify your own learning content
Elaborate game-based digital learning usually requires a significant investment of time and money. However, it takes very little extra effort to apply gamification principals to simple learning courses.
Badge rewards and point scoring can be available on a simple LMS solution, which will inject the necessary competitive elements into your training. Likewise, with a bit of creative thinking you can easily add playful elements to the writing of your learning content, such as following a storyline.
Where gamification is used well, your users will genuinely enjoy using your course and are more likely to retain information. Keep its principals in mind as you build your next training course.