Incorporating Gamification Into the Learning Experience

Emily McLaughlin
Aug 25, 2017 9:50:16 AM

Gamification isn't a new concept in the technology world, but recently it has been gaining more steam in the online learning space. If your organization is involved in the creation and delivery of online learning, odds are that you - or your client - are either currently using gamification to engage learners, or have thought about potentially leveraging it.

Gamification is generally defined as the use of gaming elements in order to incentivize users. In online learning, gamification can take many forms - interactive lessons, rewards, badging, milestones, leaderboards, etc. When gamification is incorporated into online learning, learners are typically more productive, engaged, and motivated to get involved with their overall learning experience.

In addition to these learner-focused benefits, your organization benefits from increased engagement, learner loyalty, and learner retention. Here are some ways your organization can take advantage of gamification for online learning:

  • Interactive LessonsStudies show that interactive and gamified learning experiences boost knowledge retention. Make lessons fun with features like flip cards, quizzes, highlight zones, puzzles, matching, and discussion boards. Adding a timer to any lesson or content type can also turn a standard learning experience into a gaming one.

  • Rewards: Some of today's online learning technologies enable rewards like points, badges, certificates of completion, or prizes. Mapping badges and certificates to certain skills or topic expertise will motivate learners to engage more in order to be seen as pros. Don't want to gamify a course? Giveaways, discount codes, printable certificates, personal notes, and offering learners feedback can also make learners feel rewarded.

  • Leaderboards: Adding some level of competition to online learning could work for certain learners or course topics. Set up badge or point leaderboards to display when learners log into their schools. You could also consider making badges appear on learners profiles to encourage learners to be "proud" of their achievements.

  • Progress Bars: Using progress bars to depict how close a learner is from course completion or from reaching a certain award could motivate them engage with the learning experience more often. These progress bars could be individual-facing or displayed to all constituents within a course to foster competition and social interaction.

  • Credit and Points Tracking: For more professionally focused learners, tracking credits or continuing education units (CEUs) based on key milestones and predetermined requirements (either online and offline) can also be part of gamification feature sets. Being able to customize the values, prerequisites, and track progress can have significant value as it can help organizations streamline their ability to deliver certifications.

How Your Learning Platform Can Enable Gamification

Incorporating some level of gamification into your online learning experience will help balance more serious learning materials and drive learner engagement. If your organization is considering adopting or upgrading online learning technology, look for one with robust user dashboards, highly customizable badging ,awards functionality, and interactive content types in order to maximize the experience for learners. These features - among others - will help you retain learners, acquire new customers, and scale your learning operations.

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