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12 Gamification Principles To Implement In E-Learning

Updated on August 22, 2022
12 Gamification Principles To Implement In E-Learning - Smartico

Web-based learning is on its way to overtaking standard practices of education. This trend has solidified itself even further due to the coronavirus situation, which has given people extra time to spend with their families and work on their improvement. 

A successful e-Learning website or app should be easy to navigate and understand while containing everything needed for an immersive user experience. However, unfortunately not every course is as polished as it should be, and consequently, only a tiny portion of enrolled students finish their programs or courses. 

Attracting students is easy, but keeping them engaged enough to finish their program can be tricky. So what can you do to boost user engagement so that your e-Learning solution can earn a loyal and satisfied base of students? The answer is Gamification, and in this article, we will explore 12 fail-proof gamification principles that you can use in your course or program to create a unique learning experience.

What is Gamification In e-Learning?

Gamification in e-Learning is the application of gaming mechanics to enhance the learning experience for students and employees

At the core of Gamification lies dopamine, a chemical that controls the pleasure center of the human brain and affects the thinking process, memory retention, and mood. And by incorporating gamification elements such as points, levels, quizzes, badges, competitions, and visually stimulating experiences, we can trigger the release of dopamine and thus provide a much more enjoyable learning experience.

The best thing about all this is that when your brain releases this happy chemical while learning, you are much more likely to remember the information as you associate it with a pleasurable experience. 

So, without further ado, let’s look at the most solid gamification techniques you can use to elevate your users’ e-Learning experience.

1. Old School Game Show Quiz

Include a classic game show in your learning/training program that tests people’s knowledge and ability to apply their skills in real-life situations. Participants can earn points for every correct answer, and the best among them make it to the final round. 

Point collection can do wonders to motivate participants, and rewards don’t have to be the end-all engagement solution. Top prizes, however, should be satisfying — they can come in the form of badges for top performers, vouchers, or access to an exclusive learning library. 

2. Storytelling 

Immersive stories are vital components of successful e-Learning for several reasons. Companies of all kinds have learned that a good story can drive sales, which also works incredibly well with Gamification. 

Tell participants they are killing monsters, saving the helpless from peril, or searching for treasure chests. You must keep in mind that Gamification works best within a proper context. 

An example of an immersive gamified storytelling experience can be seen in The Guardian and the British Academy’s World War 1 Documentary. It is a 30-minute film that allows audiences to listen to historians, dive into original news reports, and take part in map exploration and other unique materials to experience WWI in a new and more engaging way. This approach also helps people retain their knowledge as they feel a more intimate connection to the actual events.

3. Compliance Adventure

The most valuable and practical way to look at obstacles is to see them as opportunities for intellectual growth. So, invite your students or employees to participate in a compliance adventure filled with difficult real-life situations. It could come in the form of a fire emergency scenario or a safe handling procedure. Decorate it with Gamification elements, and your e-Learning adventure will make the experience enjoyable while still getting the point across. For example, learners can navigate toward the building’s exit while helping co-workers from various departments also get to safety. 

This method can also be used in other situations, like how to deal with a rude customer or how to remain calm when overwhelmed with work-related issues. 

4. Badges

If there are many materials to explore, learners might lose track of the content that is most important to comprehend.

A simple way of dealing with this situation is offering people badges for completing specific goals. 

Badges are a great way to recognize a student’s achievements and make them feel valued. 

But when should you be awarding badges? You transparentize the rewards process and let learners know what they stand to win when completing specific tasks. For example, they can win badges upon module completion or if they use the learning app more often than others. 

Badges can also be an excellent replacement for other grading methods such as percentage points. 

Digital badges are a great motivational tool but don’t forget that they are not the end goal for learners. They merely encourage them to keep on going while earning small rewards along the way so they can, in the end, get the most valuable prize of all — knowledge. 

5. Timed Simulation

Do your employees/learners do well in heated situations? Timed simulations usually carry a level of extra stress, but they can also be a mirror to real-life situations. In everyday conditions, employees often have to complete tasks within a certain period. Otherwise, they risk facing frustrated customers, who might escalate the situation further… 

Set the timer and ask your employees or students to complete the chosen task before the time runs out. However, don’t forget that there is a limit to how much they can accomplish within the allotted time. Do not ask them to do the impossible or inject too many challenges in a short time frame. Also, avoid including tasks that have nothing to do with their field of expertise or aren’t likely to occur in a real-life situation. 

6. Leaderboards

Leaderboards are a fantastic way to boost motivation and engagement in employees and students alike. The best of them move up the leaderboard, motivating those at the bottom to work harder to secure a spot at the top. 

The best approach is to create a different scoreboard for each skillset, job title, or certification topic so that everyone gets an equal start. For instance, all customer service employees with similar skills compete against each other, while those in the sales department are given different circumstances to contend within. 

Also, everyone involved needs to undergo safety training and familiarize themselves with company policy. Here, a shared leaderboard might motivate everyone to do better and invest more time in training. 

7. Personalized Content 

Giving people the option to personalize their learning content can help create stronger bonds. Think of a learning group comprised of children who don’t follow a uniform approach to learning but instead learn at their own pace. 

Digital learning allows people to personalize what they want according to their abilities, content, and other factors. 

A personalized gamified experience allows people to enter their names, track their progress, and build a unique program that stands on its own. 

But how do you go about personalizing e-Learning?

Every channel you’re using, from your web page to social media and emails, addresses everyone in your list by their first names. This helps stress the importance of the person in question when starting a conversation with them. 

Personalized e-Learning can be used in the following areas:

  • Interface: This includes colors, fonts, backgrounds, and themes.
  • Content: Video, sound, text, and special effects. 
  • Interactions between everyone involved. 
  • Learning pace

All of the abovementioned elements can be adjusted for each learner through different aspects of Gamification, online discussions, tutorials, and more. 

8. Gamified Microlearning

Microlearning aims to share learning materials in little portions with employees or students. However, that does not affect the quality of learning — on the contrary — it makes it more digestible. 

Digital learners are often plagued by some problems, such as a limited attention span, lack of time, fatigue from staring at the screen, etc. Sadly, these factors can often hinder the learner and even discourage them from continuing their journey toward improvement.  

Microlearning is designed to feed learners little bits of condensed, high-value information that can be learned in just a few minutes. That is how people can learn on the go or when circumstances don’t allow for intense studying. 

By gamifying microlearning, you can make it even more accessible and easy to digest while increasing the learners’ retention rate. 

9. Avatars & Role Playing

Avatars are a great way to immerse and motivate your learners. In this way, people can jump into the shoes of an alter ego of their choice, which also introduces an extra touch of excitement to the materials. 

However, for the best outcomes, avatars need to be designed carefully. In the first stages of development, choosing an appropriate look and voice for the character is crucial. 

The type of participants will determine the type of avatar, but it needs to resonate with everyone — a character people can see themselves in and trust. 

Learners can even be allowed to customize their avatar according to their tastes. 

Whatever the approach, the avatar must be used to assess the learner’s progress, help them immerse themselves in the material, and make virtual challenges easier and more enjoyable. 

In summary, the avatar must be a role-playing device that helps make the learning process more engaging, and the challenge is to create an avatar in such a way that makes it look friendly and fun to use. 

10. Points-Based Teamwork

Let your employees or students join teams and ask them to work together on a project based on a key learning topic. They can create presentations, podcasts, or anything else, to summarize the key discussion points in their own words, to improve understanding, and make the content stick in their brains. Teams can then share their content with others for peer review. 

So far, so good, but to make the most out of teamwork learning, you also need to add a point system. For example, reviewers can be asked to complete a survey to rate a team’s performance instead of making comments. 

Also, while doing the assessment, employees can learn from each other and, in this way, expand their knowledge and skills. Participants collect uplifting feedback through points/rewards that pinpoint areas for improvement. 

11. Flow State

If a task is too simple, a student or employee can quickly get bored and lose motivation to perform at their best. On the other hand, if the job is too difficult, they can quickly get frustrated. 

The gaming experience you create needs to be balanced. A task should excite users by challenging them, but it should also be within reach of their abilities. If your game has that particular sweet spot, it will open the door to what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaly calls 

‘flow state.’ 

The importance of keeping learners in a flow state between boredom and frustration cannot be underestimated. That is the best path to complete immersion. 

12. Testing

Make sure you test your gamified learning experience before launch. It’s crucial to test all elements to ensure a course or program that people will benefit from. 

Sadly, many businesses do not budget for testing, but learning experiences need to be checked for mistakes, bugs and cheats that you cannot hope to foresee. 

People are highly observant and will find mistakes you couldn’t have accounted for. 

Final Words

Gamification is a compelling solution to motivate and engage employees and students of all ages. In our technologically advanced world, we can only expect a massive increase in game-like elements used in the education and business sectors, which is something to be excited about.

You have now learned about the most important principles of Gamification in e-Learning. We hope this will be a good starting point for you to expand your knowledge and skills, grow, and eventually apply Gamification solutions to your business or classroom.

If you are considering Gamification as a solution to your business issues, don’t hesitate to book your free demo of Smartico.ai — the industry-leading platform for Gamification and CRM Automation — at: https://smartico.ai/request-a-demo

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