Does your new LMS have all the built-in rewards, templates and customization options you need to motivate online learners? In this article, I’ll explore the top 8 gamification features to consider for your next Learning Management System.
8 Gamification Features To Consider When Choosing Your New LMS
Gamification requires a lot of planning, organization, research, and resources. It’s not just a matter of plugging badges and leaderboards into your existing online training strategy. You need to incorporate game mechanics into every aspect of your eLearning course design to engage and motivate online learners. It all starts with an LMS that makes the implementation process easier with built-in tools and robust tracking capabilities. Consider these top 8 gamification features when choosing your new LMS.
The Learning Management System should feature badges that are eye-catching and align with your online training objectives. For example, colorful badges with a trophy icon to award to your top performers, or a hard hat to recognize the completion of your health and safety online training course. Another feature to look for is personalized badges that allow you to add your own branding and/or media. For instance, change the color scheme or integrate photos taken in the workplace.
Implementing a point-based gamification strategy is more complicated than some people might think. It’s not just a matter of awarding points for successful completion of online training activities and modules. It requires a complete overhaul of your existing eLearning course design in order to incorporate points from the ground up. For example, your corporate learners must be able to earn points for virtually every activity/accomplishment, not just an isolated activity or module. As such, you need an LMS that supports point-based mechanics and enables you to award points based on your specific criteria. Otherwise, you may end up supporting behaviors or habits that misalign with your learning objectives.
There are two facets to this feature. The first is that many organizations need an LMS that can support a variety of different rewards and game mechanics. For example, some employees respond more favourably to badges than leaderboards. Some incentives may fall in line with your business objectives and brand image but others may send the wrong message. The second facet is that the Learning Management System needs to support a ‘grand prize’ or more involved incentives program that employees strive toward. For example, they earn exclusive access to a VIP online training library when they accrue enough points.
An effective gamification LMS makes it easy to incorporate levels into your eLearning course design and set specific parameters. For instance, employees are only able to progress to the next level once they’ve met the requirements and received a passing score on the exam. The system should also display some sort of progress indicator so that employees can track their performance. For example, an eLearning course map or bar that indicates how far they still need to go to make it to the next round.
5. Interactive Progress Bars
Speaking of progress bars, many Learning Management Systems now have interactive progress trackers that give corporate learners more control. As an example, corporate learners can easily revisit previous levels of the gamified online training course to refresh their memory or click on a different destination on the eLearning course map to pick and choose which badge they want to earn next. This empowers them to train on their own terms and go at their own pace, which increases their motivation and drive.
Many corporate learners enjoy friendly competition. It helps them achieve their full potential by competing against their peers and proving their competency to themselves. Once again, leaderboards require full integration, as every online training activity ties into the corporate learner’s rank on the board. For example, they must achieve a certain amount of points to reach the top spot or move up one rung on the ladder. In addition, make sure the LMS allows you to set criteria for how corporate learners advance and how top performers are recognized.
7. Gamification Templates
Building a gamified online training course from scratch requires a significant amount of resources and payroll hours. Not to mention, expertise and tech skills. However, you can simplify the process by choosing an LMS that features gamification templates. For instance, level templates you can use to create multi-tiered online training courses that boost engagement. Or a badge catalogue that you need to personalize based on job tasks and skills. Some platforms even feature built-in online asset libraries where you’ll find blank badges, leaderboards and themes.
8. Customization Options
One of the most crucial gamification features to look for in your new LMS is the ability to customize your game mechanics and rewards. For example, incorporate your logo into the leaderboard or modify the badges so that they align with your employees’ interests. That said, there should still be some out-of-the-box options for those who want to save time and simply incorporate pre-built rewards. Especially if the LMS is equipped with a vast reward library that offers a variety of different themes and colour palettes.
Before you determine the gamification features you need to get the best LMS ROI, it’s best to evaluate your training objectives and your corporate learners’ preferences. This gives you insight into which rewards they need to fill the motivation gap, as well as which game mechanics will reinforce favourable behaviours and align with your business goals.
That said, it’s always wise to think about the future of your online training program and plan ahead. For example, opt for an LMS with all the gamification bells and whistles so that you have more flexibility. After you’ve determined your evaluation criteria, sign up for a free trial to explore the gamification features firsthand.
Pay close attention to the template/theme repository and how easy it is to incorporate new game mechanics into your eLearning course design. Is it as simple as dragging and dropping elements from the user dashboard? Or do you have to possess advanced programming language to integrate game mechanics?
Learning games are the key to unlocking maximum engagement from your online training content. Instead of subjecting your online learners to passive eLearning, learning games demand interaction at every point.
About Christopher Pappas
Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.
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