Gamification or the “the process of taking something that already exists – a website, an enterprise application, an online community – and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty” (Bunchball) seems to be everywhere. We get monetary rewards, points badges and so on. There is even gamification in gaming. Look no further than the popular “three in a row” type games like Candy Crush or Fish Mania and you’ll see how they encourage the user to keep playing by adding in a story line which unfolds, or tank decorations and fish which become available as levels are won. This is a clever tactic as motivation to keep playing three in a row might otherwise wither.
So how can we use gamification in eLearning and motivate our learners to keep going? Here are some ideas.
There are a myriad of instructional design theories and models to choose from when creating eLearning courses. In fact, selecting the one that fits your students’ or employees’ needs can often be a challenging task. However, if you are looking for a model that is ideally suited to improve learner engagement, then scenario-based eLearning may be the solution. Scenario-Based eLearning, essentially, immerses the learners in real life or situational simulations or learning experiences that allow them to gather skills or information that they will recall for future use. Information offered within a contextual setting enables learners not only to easily manage it within their working memory, but also to commit it to their long-term memory. (eLearning Industry)
As we know, games are great tools to engage and reinforce learning. They help comprehend and recall complex content easily. Games help learners stay focused on important and relevant content. So, let’s have a look at the motives to use games in your eLearning courses.
- Games make courses interactive and effective.
- Games help measure performance of learners.
- Games reinforce and motivate learners.
Though eLearning courses can be an exceedingly useful tool for teaching, a problem many professionals run into is incentivising. How do you keep learners motivated to learn, and how do you get them invested in the intangible world behind their computer screen? One solution that a growing number of eLearning developers are turning to is achievement badges.
Achievement badges are little rewards and recognitions that learners can earn for finishing tasks or mastering skills. How they earn the badges and how much the badges are valued is completely up to you. Ideally, learners should be able to carry these badges with them in the digital world outside of the course, using badge display software such as BadgeKit,Credly, or BadgeOS. By allowing the learners to keep these digital badges after the fact, it allows them to take more pride in these accomplishments and show them to future colleagues as proof of experience. (eLearning Brothers)
Points & Leader-boards
These are all found in many eLearning games. One I have used recently is DuoLingo. While learning to speak Spanish, French or many other languages the student earns points for each quiz. If you have friends also studying on DuoLingo you can see each other’s score on the leader-board invoking competition.
The popularity of Pokemon Go shows how motivating augmented reality can be. Some people have been so engrossed they have even fallen off quay sides. Now I’m not proposing that we want our learners to go swimming but I like the idea of the engrossed learner, don’t you? I am sure we are going to see more of this type of eLearning in the future but at the moment it is difficult for the ordinary teacher to create.
How are you using gamification in your eLearning? Let us know in the comments below.