Badges are a powerful game mechanic that can be used to spur learners into action. In fact, they’re an integral part of any gamification-fuelled learning approach.
But it’s also easy to misuse Badges. It can be tempting to add a Badge to everything. As you might expect, this can water down the overall impact of your gamification strategy.
Don’t despair! Here at Growth Engineering, we’re award-winning gamification and learning technology experts. We’re here to help transform you into a gamification guru and a Badge boffin. Ready? Then let’s get started…
Why Are Badges Meaningful?
It doesn’t matter how old we are, receiving a trophy, medal or badge of honour is awesome! We all love to receive rewards for our triumphs because recognition is that added bonus that motivates us to take on the next challenge.
In the gaming world, virtual rewards recognise players’ growing skills and heroic feats. When badges are awarded within the wider narrative of the game they become powerful engagement tools!
They act as a simultaneous goal-setting and reward device which drives players to pursue objectives, explore the virtual world and defeat burly baddies. The prospect of badges keeps players coming back for more!
Firstly, are you unsure about the differences between gamification and game based learning? Here’s our very own Juliette to explain the differences:
You too can use badges in the same way on the Growth Engineering LMS to engage learners.
How to Use Badges to Engage Learners
Here are our top 7 tips for creating brilliant badges that engage your learners on your LMS or learning technology platform.
1. The Best Things Come In Fours
There are four types of a badge on the Growth Engineering LMS. Each category is used to promote and reward a certain type of positive learner behaviour:
- ‘Badges’ – These are badges in their purest form! Learners receive them for completing single training objectives.
- ‘Achievements’ – Learners earn these badges for directly interacting with the LMS, such as posting on the message board.
- ‘Awards’ – These are received by learners who complete an entire training curriculum. These badges can be accompanied by a printable certificate that any learner would be proud to frame on their wall!
- ‘Praise Badges’ – These are extra special rewards because only managers can award Praise Badges to recognise an individual’s exceptional achievements or a team that’s gone the extra mile.
2. Badges as Goals
As well as being coveted rewards, badges act as a powerful goal-setting device on your LMS. They guide your learners’ interaction with the platform and motivate their progression through training content. Learners will be eager to know what to do to earn more! Fortunately, the Badge Cabinet has the answers they crave!
The Badge Cabinet, in the learner’s profile area, stores all the badges they’ve achieved and are yet to possess. Those empty spaces where badges should act as a constant reminder of what they are missing! This feeds learners’ collector spirit, spurring them on to engage with the LMS and training.
Yet, beware! Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination that really matters. The badge is the signpost to success, the pit-stop on the way to the top, the flag raised to celebrate triumph. Your learners’ true goal and intrinsic reward is the learning itself.
3. Customisable Badges
When it comes to badges, everything is up to you! You can personalise every aspect of your badge design on your LMS, from how they look and when they are awarded, to the name of the Badge Cabinet itself.
You choose the badge type, name, image, and description. One of the most important badge design considerations is the image. You don’t need a top-notch design department. With some rudimentary image editing software and a little time, you can create something stunning that anyone would be proud to show off in their Badge Cabinet!
Ensure badges have Epic Meaning by making the design reflect the learner’s goals, company brand and mission. Remember, your design should be determined by what your learners have done to achieve it!
4. Communicate Badge Value
All badges are awesome but some have more value than others! To ensure your badges are meaningful and relevant make sure they reflect the difficulty or importance of the associated achievement.
After all, if a learner has completed a curriculum they will expect a more valuable reward than if they had simply done one training module. To engage learners, make the reward fit the feat! An easy way to communicate the value of each badge is with Experience Points. As Admin, you decide how much XP to assign to each badge. Tie more or less XP to indicate its value.
5. Incentivise Interaction with LMS Features
Learners can achieve badges for just about any form of positive behaviour on the LMS, including simple yet important tasks like updating their profile.
As admin, you decide what actions you want to promote and reward. Remember it’s not all about completing training. Ensure learners get the most possible value from your LMS by rewarding each tentative step they take to explore and use its plethora of features!
6. Promote Social
Informal learning is responsible for a whopping 70% of what we know! Of that, 20% comes through sharing knowledge and learning from others. Harness the power of badges to encourage learners to use the LMS’s social features and promote that all-important social learning.
For example, if someone posts on the message board they earn a badge if a learner leaves a training review give them a badge! And don’t let learners forget about the world outside their window! Badges are too brilliant, too beautiful, too powerful to stay hidden away within your LMS!
When your learners are recognised for their efforts they’ll want to tell the whole world. They can share their badges directly from your LMS on external social media, such as LinkedIn.
7. Healthy Competition
Last but not least… Everyone loves a ranking system because we all want to know how we stack up against the competition. Adding Leaderboards to your LMS is an easy way to tap into your learners’ competitive spirit.
Learners with the most badges will top the leaderboard. Of course, being top-dog on the leaderboard comes with added kudos — reaching this position means the learner has engaged most with the platform, learned a lot and is probably awash in praise. Let the race to the top commence!
There you have it. You now know how to create brilliant Badges that help to engage your learners on your LMS.
But Badges are just one part of a good gamification strategy. To fine-tune things, you’ll need to configure XP, Levels and Leaderboards. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you’ll also want to look into Streaks, Scorecards and Battles.
The fun never stops. Now, we’re off to polish our Badge collection!
Eager for more gamification goodness? You’re in luck! Follow this link to find out complete ‘Guide to Gamification‘.