Creating Progressive Learning Journeys Through Gamification
With organizations trying to discover ways to make training interesting and fun for their employees, gamification has gained a lot of ground in eLearning. But what makes gamification so effective, and how can we utilize it to achieve maximum results? In this article, we answer these and other questions. We also touch on the relationship between design thinking and gamification and how organizations can combine the two to provide progressive learning journeys.
Gamification Vs. Serious Games
Before we get into the details of gamification and how it shapes learning experiences, let’s clear up a common misconception. When talking about using games for learning, people often mix up gamification with serious games. Although the terms sound similar, they are intrinsically different.
Specifically, gamification takes essential game mechanics such as points, leaderboards, and badges and incorporates them into traditional eLearning programs to increase engagement and participation. On the other hand, serious games are full-fledged games designed around specific learning goals and objectives. They are great for positive reinforcement and just-in-time learning. To distinguish the two terms, consider gamification as adding game-like elements to your existing eLearning program, and serious games as adding educational value to games.
How Does Gamification Motivate Learners?
People are naturally drawn to games, so it’s no surprise that gamification is so effective among learners. Game-like elements such as points and badges make the learning process more enjoyable for users and urge them to work harder to get their rewards. At the same time, learners engage in healthy competition as they gather points that they can compare with their colleagues. But most of all, gamification engages learners effortlessly and transforms any dull training session into an interesting activity that they want to come back to.
5 Ways To Use Gamification Tools
There are many ways organizations can use gamification tools to create engaging eLearning experiences and boost employee performance. Here are a few of them:
Storytelling: Incorporating engaging storylines in your eLearning content is a great way to captivate users. Tie activities into the plot so that users are motivated to move forward. Avatars and familiar characters are also great for making stories even more fun and immersive.
Leaderboards: Competition is one of the main ways gamification enhances employee participation and engagement. Foster healthy competition by letting colleagues compete with each other to gain more points and level up on the scoreboards. This will boost participation and keep morale high.
Game-like design: If you want your employees to spend more time training, you might want to consider making their training environment appealing to look at. Following the classic game design, use bold colors, graphics, and animation to draw users in.
Rewards: The completion of training modules or programs can be celebrated with badges, medals, or new content. These rewards activate the extrinsic motivation that employees need to remain engaged for longer periods of time.
Frequent feedback: An important benefit of gamification is that it provides constant feedback. Users know how well they perform at any given moment, as every activity is followed by a score card. They can also gauge their progress with quizzes, thus tracking how much they have learned in the duration of the training program.
Using Design Thinking To Foster Progressive Learning Journeys
Recently, people have been talking about design thinking and how it could contribute to gamified learning experiences. The truth is that the two concepts have a lot in common, as design thinking can be defined as a user-centric iterative problem-solving process. The same can be said for gamification, as it aims to engage users with activities designed around their interests. Let’s look at 3 ways you can use design thinking to create engaging learning experiences for your employees.
1. Know Your Audience
The most important thing in any project is knowing who it is aimed at. Design thinking always makes the user the top priority and emphasizes gathering as much information as possible about them. Use questionnaires, quizzes, or discussion groups to identify your employees’ needs, aspirations, interests, preferred learning styles, as well as the challenges they face. Once you have pinned down all problems and objectives, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
2. Ideate Solutions
Once you have a better understanding of the needs and goals of your learners, it’s time to start brainstorming solutions. This is where you can let your creativity loose. What solutions can you think of for the problems you identified in the first phase of design thinking? How can you align organizational goals to your learners’ training objectives? If progressive learning journeys are your end goal, what are some pathways you can design to take you there?
3. Test Out Your Ideas
Now, all that’s left to do is put your ideas to the test. Start implementing your solutions and keep your eyes and ears open to see where they take you. As we said, design thinking relies heavily on the user, so you must get their feedback every step of the way. Comments and suggestions from your employees will help you gauge the effectiveness of your design and adjust it accordingly for the future. Following this nonlinear process will eventually lead you to the solution to this problem and allow you to move on to the next one.
Gamification is the present and future of eLearning. The sooner organizations realize, the sooner they can provide their employees with captivating and progressive learning journeys that elevate their performance. If you want to know more about gamified learning and how it can transform training experiences, click here.
Are you ready to experience 2 power-packed days specifically for leaders in L&D, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience and Success? Join the Adobe Learning Summit 2022 to solve real business problems in the exclusive design thinking certificate workshop. There’s an exclusive discount for ELI members (Code: ELIMEMBER for an additional $50 off registration passes).