3 More Expert Tips for Unlocking Your Inner Gamification Guru:

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Gamification Guru #2Earlier in the week, we shared three top tips to help you develop into a card carrying gamification guru. However, our gamification goblet runneth over and we’ve got yet more suggestions to serve up. If you’re ready to become the Michael Jordan of game mechanics, then read on…

Remember, these pointers are aimed at those who have (at least) an intermediary level of knowledge when it comes to applying gamification. If you’re a gamification greenhorn, we recommend you start here instead. For those who are already well versed in the dark arts of gamification, let’s get started.

STEP 1: Let Your Social Butterflies Take Flight:

In too many cases, the virtual rewards across a learning platform focus solely on driving the completion of learning content. Whilst this is important, it’s better by far to aim at creating a cohesive learning community, where knowledge sharing and the growth of intellectual capital is encouraged (and rewarded).

Throughout your team, you’ll have information-silos that are just begging to be tapped into. Without a system that gives you the tools to facilitate this process, you’ll never unlock your inner knowledge-baron. By easing the communication process, creating Insight Groups around salient subject matter and rewarding the flow of information, you’ll soon foster an organisation full of wise old sages, brainboxes and unashamed eggheads. Soon enough best practise will become every-day practise. ‘But how is this possible?’ I hear you ask.

The ‘Achievements’ system on our Academy LMS, allows certain badges to be ‘triggered’ by user events. For instance, a learner can receive a badge and some experience points for commenting on a video for the 5th time, for sharing their 10th link on the dialogue stream, or for answering a learner’s question in the experts section. If you’ve spent any time with a Playstation or an Xbox in recent years, you’ll be more than aware of how effective an Achievement system can be. Either way, it’s time to stop clipping the wings of the social butterflies within your organisation and to start rewarding informal learning.

STEP 2: STREAM – Status Rules Everything Around Me:

leaderboardIncreased status sometimes acts as its own reward. If a particular learner has made a certain amount of progress, then surely these breakthroughs need to be recognised on theplatform? If a learner has earned fame for their admirable knowledge-sharing bona-fides, then surely they deserve to be positioned as some kind of ‘Expert’ on your learning platform?

Some Learning Management Systems will let you build ‘Level Structures’ on your platform, so that you can provide continuous development pathways for your learners. If you’ve got a particularly swanky LMS (like ours, for instance), then it should also let you name these levels, so that learners feel a real sense of progression as they move through the content.

A learner might start off as a ‘Beginner’ or a ‘Rookie’ and work their way up through the ‘Intermediary’ levels before earning their status as a ‘Master’ or ‘Veteran’. This is all well and good, but this is an area where we recommend that you have some fun (whilst trying to draw from your existing brand values). Why not build a level structure based around superheroes (Vigilante, Sidekick, Speedster, Shapeshifter, Mentalist, etc.) or cats – everybody loves cats (how about: Kitten, Wildcat, Panther, Leopard, Tiger, Lion?) and design the imagery used around your platform with this theme in mind?

On the Academy LMS, you’re also able to label certain learners as ‘Experts’. The effect of this is two-fold. Firstly, you’ll give your newly-formed experts warm fuzzy feelings. Secondly, these experts will now be accessible through the ‘Experts Area’, where they can be asked questions and help to create a smarter, better informed, learning community.

STEP 3: Your Mission, If You Choose to Accept It…

Verily, brave learning warrior, arise, conquer your training goals and claim your booty! But take heed. There be many a strange adventure ahead that will befall you in your valorous quest. King Arthur could have picked no better champion. Now, valiant knight, go forth and vanquish this Health & Safety training, post-haste!

If appropriate, why not add a narrative to your learning? The fine folks at Buffer have already noted that storytelling is an amazingly effective way of activating all the key areas of our brain. The radio receiver that is your brain is never more receptive than when it’s tuned into a storytelling station. From a learner’s perspective, it breaks up their training content and throws them straight into the learning experience.

We’re not suggesting that you need to transform your training course into the next great work of literature. In fact, we recommend that you keep it simple. One of our customers has had great success by using a ‘Mission’ structure, where every course has a clearly defined beginning, middle and end. The beginning sets up the rest of the course, the middle is where most of the learning happens and the end is where the learner receives an award for completing the mission. This can be in the form of a shopping voucher, a day out or a team meal.

This loose story-based structure ties neatly onto the gaming mechanics available on the platform. You can tie mission progress to ‘Level’ progress and create special ‘Badges’ and images that reflect the story being told. Soon enough you’ll have created a paradigm shift within your learners’ minds. Learning will no longer be viewed as a chore.

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Phew! You made it to the end… You know what that means, right? You’re now a legitimate Gamification Guru. When you’re finished running laps around the room, let us know how you feel in the comments section. If you’d like to continue learning, then why not check out our somewhat brilliant white paper, ‘The Business Case for Gamification’.

Alternatively, if you’d like to see the world’s best Gamified Learning Management System in action, then sign-up for a tour here!

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