Gamification: Is Competition Engaging or Demotivating?

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Stick men on winner's podium hands upBy our very nature, we humans are all different. What motivates one person might rub the other up the wrong way, bore them to tears or deter them from ever making any progress. It’s important to gain everyone’s attention and engage them in their learning, but how can this be done when we are all so different?

Learning and Development professionals need to make sure all their learners are engaged, motivated and happy to learn – and they can ensure this is the case by utilising gamification in learning.

We talk a lot about gamification and how badges, points and leaderboards help to encourage learners to try harder, log on more often and push their development forward. We’ve found time and again that gamification is the answer to the issue of securing learner engagement.

Unfortunately, many people in the learning professions poo-poo gamification. They say that it isn’t a sense of competition which drives engagement – i.e. the leaderboards don’t really motivate us to try harder – and in fact, some even say that competition is a bad thing and actually hinders learning. They reckon this is because some people get disheartened and downtrodden if they think they can never surpass their fellow learners, which leads them to disengage.

Weight liftingNow, for learners that are naturally competitive, tough competition will be very motivating, rather than disheartening. They’ll be more likely to complete their assigned eLearning modules, explore their Learning Management System and do everything they can to gain extra points and badges because they want to climb up the leaderboard. The difficulty makes it worth it!

Of course, we’re not saying that learners are never demotivated by leaderboards. After all, as we said above, everyone is different.

But one of the great things about leaderboards in learning – and particularly the leaderboards on our Academy Platform Learning Management System – is that there are many different leaderboards which learners can top for doing different things.

Let’s see how this works:

Company-wide leaderboard: All learners are involved in this leaderboard. The more eLearning modules/tests/assessments they do and the more they interact with their LMS (by searching, exploring and sharing on social media) the higher they climb up the leaderboard.

dreaming of goalsGroup Insights leaderboards: Admins in each Academy can create special ‘groups’ dedicated to specific topics. So, for instance, there could be a gamification group, a technology group and a sales group. Learners can join whichever group they are most interested in (or all of them!) and each group has its own leaderboard. The more a learner contributes to his or her group, the higher up that leaderboard they climb, until they are crowned the Gamification Group’s Top Contributor.

So even if they think they have no chance of reaching the top spot on the company-wide leaderboard, there’s still a chance that they can be named an expert in their own topic of interest. And doesn’t everyone want to be called an expert sometimes?

To find out more about gamification in learning and on Learning Management Systems, check out a free research paper below!

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