Though online learning methods offset the disadvantages of traditional learning, their success largely depends on the ability to engage learners. Engaging learners can result in better knowledge retention and application. Converting your subject matter in a fully functioning playable game is a highly effective method of making the course interactive. But, doing this may not always be possible as game development can cause a significant dent in your budget. Also incorporating your subject matter into a game requires careful thinking, planning, and execution, which is not just costly but time consuming too. Instead, you can achieve similar levels of interactivity, at a fraction of the cost, using gamification techniques.
Gamification essentially means embedding game elements in your regular e-learning content. This means including scores, leaderboards, achievement badges, levels, etc. These elements appeal to people’s natural instincts of socializing, competition, achievement, and status. The motivation of gaining points or seeing their name on the leaderboard, gives learners an extra push to do better in the course. However, for your gamification content to work smoothly and establish the right amount of connection with your employees, it should be devised the right way. Let’s see some of the best practices you can follow to make the most of your gamification strategy:
Consider your Demographic
An important parameter that you should consider before zeroing in on the gamification elements in your course is your target demographic. What is the average age group of your audience? Are you targeting new joiners or veterans? Are they technically savvy or wary of technology? Based on answers to these questions, you can proceed with formulating the story and the consequent gamified elements that are to be added in the course.
Let your Story Drive the Course
A captivating storyline is the first thing that makes gamified content effective. Just adding scores and progress bars is not going to relate with your learners, as they will merely see it as a distraction. But, if you establish a character and a storyline, the gamified element immediately relates to your learners. You can personalize the story by capturing the learner’s name and allowing them to select the character. The story can be anything from helping the character go about a day, to retrieving a lost package; you can truly unleash your imagination to create something that resonates with your audience.
Keep your Learning Objectives Intact
In a bid to add interaction, it is important that you don’t lose sight of the larger picture. Your e-learning course is all about achieving your learning objectives. Adding a story and gaming elements is good, but care must be taken to ensure they don’t meddle with the learning. Scoring higher and moving up the leaderboards is good, but they should merely serve as a motivation to achieve the end purpose of effective learning rather than becoming the prime objective of taking the course.
Include a Healthy Dose of Competition
One of the biggest things gamification brings is the spirit of competition. Seeing the scores of their peers and colleagues on the leaderboard pushes them to do better in the learning program. When the course progress, time taken, success rate, and other statistics of all learners are displayed, it drives employees to up their game and be on par with everyone else. Leveraging the spirit of competition adds a nice social angle to your learning. When employees discuss course stats near the water cooler or the cafeteria, they automatically get motivated to do better in their training program.
Make It Fun
Along with adding interaction, gamified elements should also add a fair amount of fun to the learning. You can add fun and excitement to your gamified course in many ways. You can use attractive graphics, sound effects, characters, and so on to lighten the mood of the e-learning program. When you offer a stress-free learning environment to your employees, they will look forward to taking the course. This boosts participation levels and learner interest.
Gamification elements are an excellent low-cost alternative to developing a full-fledged game. It includes a healthy bout of playfulness in your e-learning program while retaining the instructional appeal.