Even with the most interesting and diverse subject matter, any educator will tell you how difficult it can be to keep learners interested and engaged. Motivating learners to complete their learning whilst ensuring that they actually enjoy the process is no mean feat. However, using a modern piece of e-learning software such as a learning management system (LMS) opens up your L&D programme, allowing you to explore a variety of content and lesson types. One of the e-learning approaches that continues to grow in popularity is gamification. Read on to learn about this e-learning technique including our top tips on how to effectively implement gamification in your L&D programme.
What is gamification?
Gamification takes the usual elements and mechanics of gameplay and applies them to areas such as e-learning lessons. For example, a lesson where educators in the healthcare sector are teaching learners the definition of medical words may benefit from incorporating gamification techniques by creating a game in which they match the word to the definition.
The purpose of gamification is to create a more engaging and motivating learning experience but most importantly it makes learning fun and more light-hearted - especially when compared with traditional lesson delivery. Learners are driven by a sense of accomplishment and making lessons more enjoyable means they are more likely to revisit the e-learning platform to learn more.
Now that we’re up to speed with the meaning of gamification, here are some top tips on how to implement it within your L&D programme
Before you make the mistake of injecting gamified lessons into your L&D programmes at random, you need to establish your desired outcomes. Ask yourself, how would these gamified lessons benefit the learners, the business/organisation and the trainers/admins/managers? Once you have established what you are hoping to achieve by implementing a gamification strategy, you’ll be better placed to determine the type of gamified lessons you should include as well as the topic areas they would be best suited to.
For example, are you looking to boost knowledge retention rates? If so, your lessons may benefit from including fun quizzes to test the learner’s knowledge base. If you’re looking to encourage more teamwork and team bonding within your workforce, you can group employees together and create leaderboards to encourage employees to motivate each other to complete training and ensure knowledge is retained. You can use the results of gamified lessons and include them in a team scoreboard.
2. Create reasons for people to complete lessons
One of the reasons L&D managers love to incorporate gamification into their e-learning programmes is that learners are more motivated to complete lessons. One of the drivers for motivation is simply because gamified lessons are more entertaining and enjoyable. You can also further boost motivation by offering rewards to those who complete lessons or demonstrate a good knowledge of content as a result of high scores or high pass rates on tests.
You can boost motivation by offering gamification-style rewards such as badges or certificates. For example, a learner may receive a badge for successfully completing 5 lessons or gaining full marks in an end-of-course assessment. Additionally, including progress indicators such as a progress bar or a percentage indicating the portion of the course that has been completed are also great ways to boost motivation and encourage learners to continue their learning.
3. Use social features to create a community where learners can discuss lessons and their progress
Gamification has the power to bring learners together and encourage better communication. In fact, studies show that game elements at work make 87% of employees feel more socially connected. In addition to leader boards and multiple-user gamified lessons, you can create a community using social features. Using an e-learning platform such as a learning experience platform (LXP), you can create discussion boards and forums. Within these, learners can discuss gamified lessons and share tips and knowledge to help each other progress.
Learners can also share their achievements online, celebrating their most recent certificates or badges. By using social features to share gamification rewards, users are given the platform to encourage others whilst likely feeling motivated by seeing the achievements of others and determined to complete lessons so they can do the same.
4. Use reporting tools to analyse results and use data to encourage learning
A robust e-learning platform such as Totara Learn will provide readily available reports and analytics for trainers/teachers/admins to use. Using these tools, results from gamified lessons can be used to shape future learning for individual users. For example, you could use the reporting data on the number of failed attempts matching the word to the definition (as mentioned earlier) to determine whether a learner may benefit from additional training on that particular subject.
When using reporting tools on standard non-gamified lessons, trainers would typically look at completion rates to provide an understanding of how learners are engaging with lessons. With gamified lessons, however, there is a wider range of data available due to the interactive and varied nature of the content – enabling greater specificity when identifying skill gaps and areas for improvement.
5. Gamification examples you should consider
When it comes to the type of gamified lessons you could include in your L&D strategy, there is a lot to choose from! One gamification example that is particularly popular is branching scenarios. With this type of gamified training, learners are taken through situations they will typically encounter in their individual roles. They will be asked to make choices and answer questions, with their choices determining the content they see next. This type of lesson is excellent for risk-based learning such as health and safety training as users can learn from their mistakes without endangering others in a physical setting.
Another great example is a timed quiz that pits a learner against other employees, previous learners or the score that is expected of someone in their industry. With this style of gamified lesson, learners instantly feel challenged and motivated to beat the results of others/the target score. In order to gain a high score, learners must remember what they have been taught in the lesson thus ensuring knowledge retention.
Also consider the flexibility of SCORM activities which make including gamification in your L&D strategy even easier as you can both create and acquire SCORM-compliant gamified lessons. These lessons can often be downloaded for mobile use, meaning learning is available to complete anywhere, anytime without the need for internet access.
Ready to include gamification in your e-learning programmes?
If you like the sound of gamification for your e-learning programmes and you’re ready to implement these lesson types, you’ll need to find an e-learning platform that can support this level of interactivity. You may have to explore integration options with your current system or if you’re looking for an entirely new platform, get in touch with one of our experts to find out what’s possible with a Hubken solution.