5 Strategies to Help You Gamify Your Online Learning

Gamifying eLearning programs may increase students’ knowledge retention and content engagement. Here are five ways to do exactly that!

Gamification: Retention, Engagement, and More


What do companies like Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Deloitte, Sun Microsystems, IBM, L’Oreal, Canon, Lexus, FedEx, UPS, and Wells Fargo, which are some of the largest in the world, come from a wide range of industries, all have in common? Answer: gamification and learning through games!


Gamification is using elements of game design in situations that are not games. It’s used in education for many things, like getting students to finish their work and get better grades.


To Gamify or Not to Gamify?


That is the big question. But if you only look at the numbers, you can’t be blamed for leaning toward gamification. In the last ten years, there has been a lot of interest in game-based learning because it works well to get people more interested in learning and improve learning as a whole. From what one source says:


  • 80% of the US workforce is sure that game-based learning is more interesting.
  • After a gamified training experience, 83% of employees feel more motivated at work.
  • Gamification makes employees more involved by more than 60%
  • Gamification increases productivity by more than 50% because it makes training better by nature.
  • When gamification is used as a part of a company’s L&D strategy, conversion rates are much higher: over 700%


The gamification industry agrees with corporations and their employees that investing in gamification is worth the money. In 2020, the business was worth $9.1 billion. Industry experts say that by 2025, this number will skyrocket to $30,7 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.4%. According to other estimates, the CAGR between 2020 and 2030 will be a fast 24.2%. By 2024, companies that offer education and game-based learning solutions will make more than $24 million a year.


This evidence-based analysis of the state of the union of gamification and its related industries proves that gamification is valuable. So, maybe the real question isn’t whether to make things more like games or not, but how to do it better. And, just like with other ways to learn, the more well-thought-out your approach to making your learning content more like a game, the more effective your learning outcomes will be. Here are five ways to make your eLearning more fun.


Best Ways to Make Your eLearning More Fun


Design A Game Plan For An Interactive Media


An outline is a graphic depiction of the interactive game you want to create. This helps you organize your ideas and remember what needs to happen next. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a free tool like Google Sheets that are available online. The best way to use game outlines is to make templates that can be used repeatedly. These templates should have:


Keep it simple


The golden rule of gamification is to keep it simple, so you don’t confuse your audience. To do this, pick an outline with as few details as possible. But remember that while gamification should make learning fun, it shouldn’t be too easy (i.e., non-challenging).


Adapt templates to the learning goals of the course.


For example, lessons like “learn/recall” need simple, list-style template functionality. On the other hand, learn-and-apply modules might need more detailed outlines and a lot of practice and exercises.


Use outlines with good game rules.


Outlines are the plan for making your courses more like games, so they should include all the gaming elements you want to use, such as “hints,” “dollars,” “unlockable content,” “totems,” etc. Individual skill-teaching modules could need a distinct set of game mechanics than team-based or group-based tasks.


The “rules of engagement” for each game must be stated clearly at the beginning of each outline. These rules are important for two reasons when you use games to learn. First of all, they’ll make it easier for users to interact with the games you add to your content. More importantly, they will make it easy for L&D content creators to figure out if a template is right for making their lessons or modules more fun.


Add Rewards And Challenges


Challenges and rewards are important parts of a good gamification strategy. Set yourself the goal of doing something in a certain amount of time. Give yourself a reward when you reach your goals. But not all challenges have to be timed. Other challenges to consider include meeting certain strategic goals, like making a certain amount of money in profit by the end of a module or closing the most deals in each lesson.


So, what kinds of rewards do students like in gamified learning the most? Researchers came to the following conclusions about the group of students they looked at:


Only 2% of the people wanted rewards in virtual currency.

Most of them, 30%, liked the excitement of moving on to the next level of a challenge.

27% of challenge participants liked getting points and higher scores.

26% signed up for the challenge to get real-time feedback on how well they did.


Other ways to reward and recognize players are through badges and avatars, leaderboards, performance graphs, and progress meters or bars, all of which can motivate individuals and teams. No matter what game mechanics you use to set up the challenges, it’s important to keep your learners interested and motivated by giving them something to participate in.


Include Visual Aids


Gamification uses design and aesthetics that appeal to learners to get them to participate in the game. Adding visuals is one of the easiest ways to make learning fun. This can be as simple as using pictures to explain ideas or as complicated as making games. Here are some best practices for gamification when choosing what visual aids to use:


Construct visual “hooks.”


The most interesting gamification elements have “hooks” that make people want to try them. Your learning content should give you ideas for a theme or motif for your chosen images.


Never disregard typographic elements.


You can make your gamification efforts look better by using font colors, pitch, size, and other typographical elements. Use script or handwriting fonts to give special instructions. Regular fonts can be used to give other game instructions. Be careful not to use too many fonts and typefaces, as that could make the game seem less “serious.”


Game navigation using visual aids


Text-based drop-down menus are easy to set up, but adding easy-to-understand icons to help learners and players move through the game can be a great idea. Be careful: It’s important to standardize and use images and icons the same way in your game, no matter what they are.


Pointers and help that you can see


Use visual cues, helpful tools, and pointers throughout the game so that learners don’t have to worry about what to do next or how to move forward in a certain situation. They could go to the help screen or look at online documentation, but it would be much easier to click on a designated icon or avatar.


Researchers say that even though badges, likes, follows, and other social media features aren’t like real games, their use in gamified learning taps into the same “psychological and phenomenological properties” as games. Developers of eLearning content can take advantage of these similarities and the power of social networking to get learners to engage more with social learning content.


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