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5 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Gamified Online Course

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5 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Gamified Online Course

Gamification — the hottest e-learning trend that has taken the corporate world by storm. A study conducted by Markets and Markets revealed that the market for gamification, which stood at $421.3 million in 2013, is likely to touch the $5.502 billion in 2018, registering a phenomenal compound annual growth rate of 67.1% in the five year period 2013-2018.

What is gamification? 

According to the Merriam Webster-dictionary, gamification is the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.

Karl Kapp, in his best-selling book, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Strategies for Training and Education, defines gamification as using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning and solve problems.

From the above definitions, we can conclude that gamification is the application of game elements such as rewards, rules and competition to engage learners effectively in a visually appealing learning environment.

5 Major Pitfalls of Gamified E-learning Development

1. Aligning learning objectives poorly

The primary objective of your gamified e-learning course is to make your people learn. Isn’t it? You need to make sure that the game helps fulfill the learning objectives. Before you start the development of the gamified online course, you need to analyze whether the game would help your people learn effectively. You need to remember that gamification works well for certain types of content, while it may not be effective for others. Kapp believes that gamification is useful to:

  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Enhance problem-solving skills
  • Develop strategic thinking skills
  • Help people visualize problems and challenges they might not do otherwise
  • Enable learners to think like opponents (a feature that makes gamification highly suitable for sales training)
  • Influence pro-social behavior
  • Evaluate knowledge and performance

 2. Focusing only on competition

While it is true that competition goes a long way in motivating learners to perform better, too much of it could jeopardize effective collaboration between them. To incorporate both elements in your course, it is better to organize your learners into teams. Christie Wroten, in her article, Game Over: 4 Gamification Mistakes, points out that this would help prevent a “every man for himself” attitude. She also advises firms to award teams rather than individuals, as this helps boost morale.

3. Using improper reward structures

You need to see that the reward structure of your gamified course doesn’t affect the learning of your people. Wroten believes that providing too many rewards could result in learners not taking the course seriously. You need to reward your learners for specific accomplishments. For instance, you can reward a salesperson when he has correctly responded in a scenario, designed to test his ability to respond to a customer objection. It is advisable to link rewards to performance as it ensures a “two-pronged” motivation. The learner is motivated by the reward as well as the sense of accomplishment when he performs well.

4. Utilizing game elements inefficiently

It is very important to use game elements in a proper manner to achieve the desired learning outcomes. For instance, you need to see that the time limits specified are practical and that learners can complete the task within the stipulated time frame. You need to ensure that learners are not frustrated by the game. It is essential to design the gamified course in such a way that it is neither too easy nor too complex, to sustain the interest of learners.

5. Making gamification mandatory

There could be some sections of your staff that are not comfortable with gamification and want to complete the course in the “traditional way”. You need to make arrangements for these learners to complete the training in other ways. For instance, you can use videos, instead of gamified modules, to train your staff on safety procedures.

To create a good gamified e-learning course, you need to make sure that the game is aligned with the learning objectives of the course. You need to see that your course enables your staff to compete as well as collaborate effectively. It is important to get the reward structures right and make proper use of game mechanics. It is essential to provide alternative routes to complete the course, for learners who are not comfortable with gamification. Hope you liked this post. Do share your views.

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