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Want to Increase Learner Engagement through Microlearning? Try Byte-Sized Games

Online learning is the new cool in the corporate training domain. The shift in the work models to hybrid and remote has fuelled the popularity of digital learning. However, the major challenge when it comes to online training is learner engagement. Are you sailing the same boat? If yes, then this blog is for you as it entails the benefits offered by the powerful duo — Microlearning and Gamification. Let’s unveil the magic!

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the application of game-based elements and gaming techniques to non-game situations such as an e-learning course. It is used with the aim to make learning content fun and engaging. In other words, it’s the use of game mechanics as a catalyst that pushes learners to explore and learn as they move toward an end goal.

What is Microlearning?

As the name suggests, Microlearning is an approach for skill-based learning which deals with relatively small learning units. It involves short, but highly focused modules developed according to robust instructional design strategies especially designed for a specific topic. It deals with relatively smaller learning units and short-term learning activities that a learner should be able to conveniently access from any device and place.

Why Should You Combine Microlearning and Gamification?

Microlearning is a learning design strategy, while gamification is an instructional design element. While both of them work wonders by themselves, their impact can be increased many folds if they are combined. Incorporating gamification elements in your microlearning modules can enhance the teaching abilities of the micro-course.

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Owing to the short duration of microlearning modules they really resonate well with today’s time and attention parched generation of employees. Game-based elements such as scores, leaderboards, progress bars, level unlocks, and more can be applied to your entire collection of microlearning modules to include a sense of excitement among your learners. Let’s look at some of the ways in which the combination of these two can increase learner engagement:

Facilitates all work with a little play

Combining gaming-elements in such short learning modules increases their impact in the minds of learners as it takes away the “seriousness” usually associated with learning. Above everything else, game-based elements make your microlearning modules fun. Considering your users will access the micro-courses in whatever few minutes they find in their schedules, game-based elements will not only promote the activity, but employees will also enjoy the learning process. Furthermore, if you are able to create a small storyline that embeds the gaming elements naturally in your course, then you can make your micro-modules all the more exciting. 

Fosters a healthy dose of competition

Scoring higher points on a test and comparing it with a friend sounds more interesting compared to plainly taking a test. Gamifying microlearning modules invokes a sense of competition among your learners that motivates them to do better. Seeing their colleagues’ names higher up on the leaderboard compels your employees to work harder to achieve similar status. The same applies for progress bars or level-ups, which can motivate your employees to takes courses within the necessary timelines to stay on par with their peer group.

Promotes social learning

Gaming elements give employees the illusion of playing a game while learning. This feeling makes them want to share their learning activity with their peer group. Let’s say you have achieved a perfect score in a microlearning assessment or completed the entire story arc of your gamified micro-modules, wouldn’t you want to share such information on digital platforms out of excitement? This form of social interaction lets you see what your peer group is up to: what new courses they are taking, how they overcame a crucial learning hurdle, and much more. 

Offers incentives to learn

If you intend to make gamification real, then you can take this further and incentivize the leaderboard with real bonuses or rewards to your employees, based on their learning performance. This automatically increases the impact of the game-based elements as learners can see the real-life effect if they were to score less in a particular course. Such incentives keep your learners thoroughly invested in the learning process and justify the presence of game-elements. 

Provides the scope of instant feedback

Game-based elements also have a secondary benefit. On top of all the excitement of making your micro-course feel like a game, it also gives your learner instant feedback. Be it the time taken by them to complete the course, the number of points scored, or their position on the leaderboard, all these instruments basically tell your employees where they stand from a knowledge perspective.

Wrapping it up!

Microlearning is meant to make your learning content more accessible. So why just stop at that, include gaming elements, and give more power to your micro-modules? Want to explore more such instructional design strategies to design engaging eLearning courses? Well, download this eBook to explore popular instructional design strategies to breathe life into your eLearning courses.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses