How to Gamify: 15 ways to introduce gaming concepts into eLearning
By now, you may have heard quite a bit about gamification, the application of gaming mechanics to non-gaming scenarios.
(If not, click here to start at the very beginning – it is a very good place to start, after all!)
We believe that gamification is the best way to get learners engaged with training content – and we’ve written about it before. But, you might be wondering, how exactly does one go about ‘gamifying’ eLearning? Does it involve navigating the screen with a Playstation controller, or dishing out some playing cards?
Nope! Here are 15 ways you can gamify your online learning:
1. Break the eLearning into specific sections.
Being faced with three hours’ worth of eLearning is daunting! It’s a much better idea to split the eLearning content up into discrete, bite-sized parts. You can put a quiz at the end of every section and, if they pass, award the learner a virtual badge.
2. Separate the content into different, graded levels.
Make the learning journey more fun! Hide content from learners until they ‘unlock’ the module by gathering enough points or badges. So the more they do and the further they progress, the more content is available for them to experience.
3. Track scores in each section.
Once a learner can see how well they’re doing in each section, they can work on increasing their average score!
4. Make rewards shareable.
Allow rewards like badges, certificates or achievements to be posted on social media sites and internal company intranets. If someone’s doing really well, it’s nice to be able to show off a little bit.
5. Introduce time constraints.
Make ‘levels’ date or time sensitive, so students need to check in each day, week or month to receive new challenges. If they don’t log in within the time limit, they’ll have missed the boat – and their fellow learners will have overtaken them on the leaderboard!
6. Encourage social learning.
Create group assignments so that students collaborate together to accomplish projects. This’ll tap into the 90% of learning which occurs ‘informally’ – 70% occurs through observation of others and 20% through on-the-job training!
7. Make it matter.
Introduce the concept of a ‘quest’ or ‘epic meaning’, where learners submit a piece of work which reinforces learning or cultural norms.
8. Incentivise users to share and comment on other people’s work.
This embeds learning and encourages knowledge sharing – which, as we saw in #6, is great for retaining knowledge!
9. Delight learners.
Surprise users with extra bonus rewards when they finish a particularly difficult eLearning module or pass a new challenge. They’ll appreciate the extra goodies!
10. The heat is on.
Create artificial pressure by using ‘countdowns’ on quizzes. This makes users tackle challenges under time constraints – a skill which is very useful in their day-to-day work lives.
Take away badges, or rewards, if challenges are not met successfully. It might sound harsh, but if you want learners to appreciate the gamified rewards then you need to make them worthwhile; a status symbol, if you will. A pop star won’t stay popular for long if they never release any new material.
12. Try and try again.
Don’t make the eLearning a one-time deal. Instead, make role-playing or branching scenarios within the eLearning infinite, or repeatable, so that if the challenge is not met successfully, the learner has to find a solution. They can’t just give up and admit defeat – the answer is there, so they have to make the effort to find it!
13. Create a story.
Introduce characters that help and hinder the learner on their journey. It’ll make it more engaging and memorable.
The learner can create or select a character to ‘play’ throughout the eLearning, or – even better – play as themselves! You’ll be amazed at how enthusiastic a learner will be to save their character from the Swamp of Stupidity when they’ve created it themselves.
15. Make it competitive!
Post leaderboards showing learner performance across departments, geographies and specialisms to encourage competition and collaboration. No one wants to be at the bottom of the heap. This works particularly well with salespeople, who are naturally competitive (who’d have guessed!?).
Want to find out more about how to gamify online learning? Download our white paper!