Most people love gaming. 65% of households in the US alone regularly play video games! People play games for many reasons, from that addictive sense of achievement to the compelling call of adventure. Yet, even games can become repetitive, tiring or downright frustrating without a little extra incentive.
What is the gaming world’s secret to keeping players engaged (even when they’re battling that same dragon for the 500th time!)? They use gamification features, such as virtual rewards and leaderboards, to keep players motivated to play on.
You too can use gamification features on the Academy LMS to engage your learners and drive their progression through training content. Below we explore how!
The Learner’s Journey
Before creating any form of training you need to identify your learner’s goals and how they tie into the wider business mission. What is your learner aiming to achieve? Where are they now in their development? How will they reach their destination? Most importantly, why should they bother learning at all? The answers determine the learner’s journey.
A Hero’s journey: In the gaming world each player becomes the hero of the game. Each player can see exactly how what they do makes an impact within the virtual world. This creates a user experience packed full of Epic Meaning which engages players with the game and its outcome.
You can use Epic Meaning to engage your learners throughout their learning journey from novice to expert. Make it clear how their engagement with the LMS and their personal development benefits them and the company mission.
How to Engage Learners At Each Stage of the Learning Journey
Below we explore how to use gamification features on the Academy LMS to engage learners throughout their learning journey.
Introducing Dora: Join our very own eager learner, Dora (The LMS Explorer!). She’s one mean, keen cookie! Mean with a spreadsheet and keen to learn, that is! She is a big chocolate lover but she’s not a gamer so she’ll need a little guidance and encouragement to help her explore the gamified Academy LMS and get the most from its features. Let’s begin!
Every journey begins with a single thought…‘I’m missing something’, ‘I need to get better at that’, ‘that game looks fun!’ Likewise, each learner’s journey begins when they discover the Academy LMS. They will want to know ‘what’s in it for me?’ So, put your best marketing hat on and promote the LMS! Tell Dora why she should log in. Maybe there’s vital knowledge she needs. Perhaps she could share her Excel expertise with fellow learners. Or maybe she’s simply missing all the fun happening on the platform. Build curiosity to trigger her first-ever login!
2. Warm Welcome
Once you’ve got your learner through the virtual door, the fun really begins. Give Dora a warm welcome as soon as she enters the platform to show what a friendly place it is! You can start by rewarding her with Experience Points (XP) and a welcome Badge for simply logging in. This will be her first taste of virtual rewards on the platform. The tasty rewards beat a box of chocs any day!
3. Virtual Rewards
Once Dora gets her first sprinkling of virtual rewards she’ll want to know how to earn more. The answer is simple. XP and Badges can be achieved for just about any positive action learners take on the LMS. This means virtual rewards are a brilliant way to drive engagement with the platform’s features and training content. As Admin, you decide which actions you want to incentivise with rewards. Why not start by encouraging Dora to explore the platform?
4. Exploring the LMS
However exciting a computer game is, it will become boring pretty quickly if the player doesn’t understand the controls or how to navigate the virtual world. The same goes for the LMS. Fortunately, you can use virtual rewards to incentivise and reward learners’ exploration of the platform’s features. So if Dora comments on the message board or checks out the Leaderboard, celebrate her curiosity with a Badge. She can see her Experience Points shoot up as she interacts with the LMS features!
5. Setting Clear Objectives
Every hero needs a mission – Hercules had 12! Likewise, your learners need clear objectives to direct their exploration and get the most from the LMS. As Admin you can guide Dora’s journey through the LMS and its content by setting clear objectives. These objectives appear in Dora’s ‘My Things to Do’ section. Maybe she needs to add her profile picture or complete a training module. Whatever she needs to do next will always be visible on her LMS homepage.
6. Badges as Goals
Learners can also visit their Badge Cabinet to see what they still need to achieve on the Academy LMS. The Badge Cabinet is in each learner’s profile section and it stores all the badges they’ve earned so far. However, it also shows the Badges they’re yet to possess. The hunt to collect all the Badges makes the Badge Cabinet a powerful engagement tool on the Academy LMS. The Badges and the Badge Cabinet can be fully customised to reflect the training theme or company brand. So, you could call Dora’s Badge Cabinet the ‘Explorer’s Rucksack’!
7. Learning Levels
Levels are a vital gamification tool that motivate learners to interact with the LMS and progress through training. They are used to direct learners towards the right training content to meet their needs and ability level. As Admin, you can group certain training content into the various levels and also set associated objectives. These objectives must be achieved before the learner can level-up. For example, newbies like Dora could start their learning journey in the ‘Awesome Onboarders Level.’ Here they could be guided towards introductory training about the company’s values or need-to-know-policies.
What happens when your learner has met all of their Level objectives? Apart from feeling very chuffed, it’s time for them to graduate to the next Level. In game speak their progression is called ‘leveling-up’. Levels act as a clear symbol of progression and therefore drive learner engagement with the training content. As learners progress through the Levels the challenges become tougher to reflect their growing abilities. It’s this sense of achievement, challenge and adventure that motivates eager explorers like Dora! Make sure the training and objectives associated with each Level reflect their abilities and goals at that stage in their learning journey.
As Dora engages with LMS and content, she’ll rack up rewards faster than you can say ‘ready, set, learn!’ Leaderboards give these virtual rewards extra meaning by adding a little healthy competition into the mix. Suddenly the rewards aren’t just about recognition, they’re about beating colleagues to top spot! The XP and Badges determine each learner’s position on the LMS Leaderboard and rank them against fellow learners. Each learner can easily see who’s moved up the table the most each week. This way, leaderboards add a strong game element to the learning journey and drive learner engagement.
Dora loves seeing how she stacks up against the competition: “Whoo hoo! Watch out Gareth, I’m hot on your heels! Just need to complete one more module and I’ll be top of the Leaderboard.”
10. Social Element
All heroes need a little help on their journey to victory. Jason had the Argonauts, Mario has Yoshi and your learners have each other! The LMS provides ample opportunity for collaboration and social learning. Learners can share knowledge, comment and celebrate each other’s success on the message boards. As Admin, you can also set up discussion groups on specific subjects to encourage collaboration. Incentivise engagement with these social features by giving virtual rewards to learners who post, comment and support each other on the Academy LMS. It’s good to see Dora getting rewarded for sharing her Excel expertise!
11. Subject Matter Experts
The platform’s discussion groups also help you identify subject matter experts. The top contributor in each discussion group will have the most Experience Points for that topic. Of course, Dora’s shot straight to the top of the ‘Spreadsheet Society’, ‘Excel Ecstasy’ and ‘Pivot Table Paradise’ groups! You can award masterminds, like Dora, expert status on the LMS! This way everyone knows who to ask for help. Awarding expert status is also a powerful way to recognise learners’ expertise and boost their engagement levels.
12. Praise Badges
Every game and every journey needs some big wins to keep our heroes motivated! On the Academy LMS the ultimate big win comes in the form of Praise Badges. These are perhaps the most coveted virtual rewards on the platform because they are 100% personalised to each learner. What’s more, they can only be awarded by managers. So a learner knows they’ve done something extra special if a Praise Badge comes their way. Make sure your learners get the recognition they deserve by training managers how to create and award Praise Badges!
Check out what our very own Juliette has to say about gamification vs game based learning:
We’re winging a Praise Badge Dora’s way for being such an awesome imaginary learner! But you don’t need imaginary learners – you’ve got the real thing!
We’ve explored the powerful ways you can use gamification to engage your real-life learners on the Academy LMS and drive their progression through training content. What are you waiting for? Go forth and use gamification to transform your training from a bore-a-thon into an epic learning adventure!
Do you want to learn more about how to use gamification on the Academy LMS to engage your learners? Click here to download our Gamification Tip Sheet.