What does Gamification really mean?

What does Gamification really mean?

Last Updated May 1, 2020

Ever played a game that is so addictive you couldn’t put it down? Wouldn’t it be great if your learners became hooked on your eLearning courses the same way? Gamification has been a huge buzzword in the learning industry for some time now. A survey conducted by Deloitte indicated that 80% of learners feel learning would be more productive if it were more game-orientated. So, what does it really mean and what are its benefits? Before we get into it let’s clear out what gamification is not.

Gamification is NOT a game. It is not even game-based learning and does not require learners to play games. But gamification is much more than points, leader boards and badges.

A good gamified eLearning course concentrates on intrinsic instead of external motivating factors and emotional engagement. Gamification takes the elements and mechanics of games (e.g. points, levels, and leader boards) and uses them to make eLearning more compelling and engaging.

What is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?

Intrinsic: Learners are motivated to learn for their own sake, personal reward or career development.

Extrinsic: Learners are motivated to perform an activity to achieve a reward or avoid punishment.

Gamification assigns real benefits for the learner. An eLearning course can be gamified without ever offering a point or badge to the learner. One way to add intrinsic motivation into a learners learning experience is by making the experience social. This can be done by adding in group tasks that require teamwork, and encouraging community interactions between learners.

Why is gamification important?

As the retention and engagement-crisis increases and the attention span constantly decreases, gamification can act as a remedy. Check out how gamification enhances the learning process not just for you as an eLearning designer but also for your learners:

Increases learner engagement.
Gamification in eLearning allows learning professionals to create experiences that fully engage their learners. When learners feel they are getting something substantial out of their learning process and know that they are going to be rewarded in some way for their efforts, then they stop becoming passive observers and turn into active participants. By doing so, they can effectively absorb the information, as the knowledge itself is linked to the favourable experience you’ve provided through gamification in eLearning.

Makes learning fun and interactive.
While you may have a variety of learning goals and objectives that you would like the learners to achieve throughout the eLearning course, none of these outcomes can be effectively accomplished if your learners aren’t excited about what they are learning. Application of gamification principles makes learning not only informative, but fun and exciting too. This creates the feeling of immersion, which offers learners the opportunity to feel as though they are an integral part of their overall learning process.

Improves knowledge absorption and retention.
Whether you are designing eLearning deliverables for adult learners or children, the aim is always for your learners to remember what they have learnt. Even more importantly, learners should be able to access this knowledge when they need it in the real world. Gamification in eLearning can improve knowledge absorption and boost knowledge retention by providing awareness of real-world benefits. Learners are able to get a first-hand look at whether their choices within the course result in consequences or rewards. If they do not fare well, then they are not rewarded for their actions or aren’t able to progress to the next level.

As you can see, there are many benefits in gamifying your eLearning courses. How have you included gamification elements in your digital learning content? Let us know in the comments below.

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