September 2nd, 2020 Instructional Design

gamifyGamification gives learners extra motivation to stick with your course.

Gamification has been a staple of the e-learning industry for many years now, yet many educators have still put off adding it to their course. Some view gamification as an unnecessary gimmick. Others see it as being too much effort, and others aren’t sure of how to sue the feature effectively.

Or maybe some have never heard about it or haven’t thought about using it in their course.

Nevertheless, many e-learning programs benefit from having some form of gamification incorporated into their courses.

In fact, there are some offerings out there that do this extremely well as it keeps learners engaged and coming “back for more.”

The truth is that there are many benefits to using gamification in your e-learning courses, and the even better news is that it’s not very complicated to implement simple gamification elements like points and scoring. So whatever your reason is for putting it off, now’s the time to take a closer look.

Why Use Gamification?

So why would you take the time to set-up a gamification component to your courses? Well, here are six benefits to consider:

1. Provides Instant Feedback

Instant feedback prevents learners from mis-learning the wrong information and reinforces the right information. The faster a learner has the answers they need, the less time they’ll spend convinced of the wrong answer.

On the other hand, when learners instantly receive feedback on their understanding of the course content, it highlights what they need to spend more time reviewing. Gamification cuts through uncertainty and lets learners practice more efficiently.

2. Prompts Change in Behavior

Certain behaviors are reinforced by granting learners the ability to earn points and badges. This is even more true if these points and badges can be “cashed in” for something tangible or real (such as a paid vacation day).

This is true whether a creator is designing a training program or a self-help course. Any time the goal is behavioral change, gamification can provided the motivation boost learners need to make the change stick.

3. Applies for Most Learning Needs

Gamification is applicable to many elearning situations like onboarding training, certification courses, product sales, customer support, and compliance.

A few use cases might include:

  • Badges within onboarding training programs to show which skills a trainee has mastered.
  • A leaderboard for customer support to show which team members has helped most customers.
  • Training scenarios that help learners practice their responses during a crisis scenario.

4. Positive ROI Impact and Learner Outcomes

Since gamification can lead to higher recall and behavioral change, it can create performance improvements that impact ROI for organizations. When learners remember information better, they finish their training faster, and their performance improves.

Even learners who are taking a course for pleasure or self-enrichment are more likely to be satisfied with courses that include gamification, because they enjoy the experience more, and because it helps them learn more effectively.

5. Better Learning Experience

Gamification offers the opportunity for learners to engage with the content in various ways. This can break up the monotony and tedium of lecture-style courses. The more interactive and competitive a course is, the more invested learners will become in mastering the material and doing well.

And of course, games are fun. Gamification makes courses more enjoyable, which means learners stay engaged for longer. The more a course feels like “work,” the more a learner is likely to burn out and not complete it. But when the course is entertaining, learners will spend more time engaging with it and mastering it.

6. Safe To Fail

Failure is a frighting concept for many learners. Anxiety about failure can make it harder for a learner to test their knowledge, especially if the stakes are high. It also means they’re less likely to try different options or look for more unique solutions to a problem.

Gamification isn’t always about rewards but can also incorporate the “loss” of a reward. This makes it safe for people to fail and to learn from those mistakes. This is especially important if learners are being trained for a situation where the costs of failure are high. Offering them a training simulation for avalanche safety where they are asked to assess the terrain around them and recognize when it’s dangerous is a lot safer than practicing outdoors in ski country.

Try some of the WordPress plugins offering additional interactivity.

Over the years, more and more options have become available for course creators who want to add gamification to their course. These include GamiPress, which lets you add points and badges based on user activity, to H5P, which makes it easier to incorporate interactive elements.

If you haven’t yet explored this option, now’s the time to give it a try. Playing around with gamification could help you find an even more enjoyable way to teach your course.


Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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