With the rapid development of technology, be it the computers or the internet, the use of games in learning or Gamification has become vogue in today’s time. Games are more engaging and enable the learner to enjoy his learning. Even corporate training and development teams are thinking of exploring gamification and using it effectively to create better learning experiences.
How does Gamification fit into eLearning?
Adding gaming elements to training materials (eLearning in general) paves the way for better engagement and helps improve knowledge retention. It enables him to develop skills effectively. Today’s learners love this fun element which poses a challenge or a competitive bent.
How should games be designed to create excellent learning experiences?
When you open an eLearning course, there are a certain elements which you find in common. So, what are these elements?
- Learning objective
- Appropriate content
- Assessment which conveys any such challenge or problem that needs to be solved
- Continuous feedback
When all these elements are well-answered, the eLearning course becomes effective. The same is the case with Gamification. Developing games without any objectives may ‘derail’ the benefits of Gamification.
- Games designed for training and development should convey the sole objective and purpose of the game. Thus, as long as learners are well aware of their objectives, the games will appeal to them and they can be successful.
- Another common mistake that game developers make is developing the game without any prior information or building the appropriate context. Building the context enables the learner to know the background information and he can have an idea of the virtual and real environment. For this, a 2 minute video or case- study or even an appropriate scenario is sufficient to create the platform.
- It is very important to strike a fine balance between instruction and entertainment. A learning game should have all the learning elements at its disposal and in no way should distract the learner from mastering the skills. For example, if you develop a gamified course on information security, then let the learner experience the hurdles of breach of data security in a virtual environment as he slowly plods towards the games. The clues or hints will enable him to educate the particular context, thus acting as better learning opportunities.
- A learning game becomes more effective when it is able present the appropriate challenge to its learners. If we create a simple game for an expert or a tough game for a beginner will topple the main theme of gamification and learners will lose interest and decide to quit. Thus, demarcation of levels of the games in context to the abilities of learners is always to be given an additional priority.
- Lastly, the most important parameter i.e. feedback. Feedback is provided in classroom training as well as in an eLearning course. For games, it can be in the form of scores, points obtained rounds of plays or levels achieved, etc. Feedback should be provided at right time thus informing the learners what’s right and why it is so. Thus, feedback should help the learner reinforce his learning.
Thus, when all these elements mentioned above are deployed correctly, learning games can surely become an effective means to impart a wide range of knowledge and skills. With effective design strategies, it is possible to improve the learners’ experiences and ensure that these games create the desired impact on learners. What do you think?