We talk a lot about the importance of putting the fun back into learning. But can learning ever be too fun? Where do we draw the line between an enjoyable learning experience and fun for fun’s sake? Here are three things you need to think about:
1. Is the ‘fun’ actually connected to the learning content? Random games popping up here and there on a learning platform won’t make the experience any better.
2. You can’t polish a turd.* If the learning content or Learning Management System is simply terrible, adding a few ‘fun’ elements really won’t help.
3. Who the heck do you want to play your games? Professionals won’t appreciate a kiddie game of putting shapes in the correct holes, just as school children won’t enjoy a game of 4-syllable hangman. You’ve got to think about who will be accessing all your ‘fun’ learning and tailor the gamification to that audience.
Trying to shoe-horn games into your eLearning or on your LMS can seem like a good way to get learners engaged and interested, but it will actually have a detrimental effect on learning. Imagine if an addictive, infuriating-yet-enjoyable game – something like Angry Birds, for instance – pops up every time an eLearning module is completed. The learner might absolutely adore Angry Birds, so knowing that it is at the end of a boring eLearning module can really motivate them to power their way through it to get to the game.
But therein lies the problem. The learner is rushing through the important information to get to the fun part. How much do you think they will remember about what they learnt, once they’ve finished with the game? Yeah. Not much.
Instead, the ‘fun’ elements need to be part of the learning itself. Learners need to be rewarded with points and badges while they’re actually progressing through the eLearning unit and interacting with their Learning Management System. They need to see the learning process itself as the game.
That’s it, really: the aim of gamification isn’t to stuff in as much ‘fun’ and as many games around the training programme as possible. The aim is to make a game out of the training programme itself. Only then will it truly work to motivate, engage AND get people learning.
Want to find out more about how gamification in eLearning and on Learning Management Systems should be used? Click the button below to read our white paper!
*Thanks for Andrzej Marczewski for that gem!