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Achieving Your Learning Objectives Using Effective Gamification

Published Mon Nov 05 2018


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Gamification is a practice that consists of using principles taken from video games to design products that would typically not be considered games. The purpose of gamification is to keep users engaged and, in the context of e-learning, to help users achieve their goals while having fun.

Gamification is an approach that makes sense for professional training programs. You can recreate scenarios learners are going to encounter at work, track progress and achievements with levels and badges, and keep learners motivated and engaged. E-learning gamification can boost engagement and motivation, but it is important to align gamification elements with learning objectives to achieve positive results.

Common Gamification Mistakes to Avoid

Even though fun and engagement are key components of a successful e-learning gamification strategy, the learning objectives should always come first.

L&D teams sometimes make the mistake of developing complex projects that resemble sophisticated video games instead of choosing only the elements and principles that are relevant to the training and development programs. This can result in complex rules of play and poor UX design. Learners confronted with several game mechanics elements will have difficulty focusing on the learning objectives that matter.

How to Develop a Successful Gamification Strategy

Let's look at two different learning experiences for a new employee orientation that can benefit from gamification. The L&D team should start by analyzing the resources available, who the audience is, and what the learning objectives are.

For instance, four learning objectives are identified for the orientation:

  • Creating a sense of belonging to a team.

  • Understanding workplace policies and safety rules.

  • Understanding how performance is measured and what is expected.

  • Becoming familiar with the philosophy and mission of the company.

The first e-learning gamification strategy is simple: New employees will earn a badge by completing a training module and filling out a quiz to assess how much they have learned. The training module will go over workplace policies, safety rules, how performance is measured, and what is expected from new staff.

The second gamification strategy connects this e-learning experience with a hands-on activity. New employees are split up in teams to compete against each other and answer quiz questions based on the training module they have already completed.

This second activity builds on the knowledge already acquired, reinforces this knowledge, and introduces collaboration and the sense of belonging to the team. This is an environment where a learner can celebrate earning their orientation badge and can actively contribute to making their team win since the information should be fresh in their mind. This is a positive team-building experience that also serves the purpose of refreshing important information about policies and safety.

This activity is also the perfect occasion for a more thorough presentation of the company's mission and values. While engaged in this collaborative game, employees will understand more about the company culture.

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