Gamification can often be seen as “fluff” in an online course, and this is actually hard to argue with when the gaming elements are implemented incorrectly.
However, with some thoughtful planning and consideration, using games within elearning is quite beneficial on many levels.
If you are still on the fence as to whether gamification would be good for your online training, perhaps the following will persuade you to take the plunge.
Games are Engaging – The days of being lectured to in an online course are becoming a thing of the past. The great thing about gaming elements associated with online course content is that it encourages learners to interact with the content (and apply it) in ways they may not have done previously.
Safe to Fail – When activities and games (in the form of simulations) are utilized, it provides the learner with a safe opportunity to fail and learn. In effect, it removes the fear of failure so that true learning, and experimentation, can take place.
Effective for Complex Topics – Sometimes the nuances of a topic require a great deal of explanation. This traditionally means that the course contains many bullet points and is “text heavy”, which can become overwhelming. Utilizing game elements in your courses allows you to leverage case studies more effectively to convey the key takeaways. When learners are actively involved with the topic, they are much more likely to internalize the main points.
Cost Effective – Gamification in elearning can be re-used quite easily, reducing the cost traditionally associated with live training and game events.
Proven to Work – In one study at the University of Colorado, researchers found that declarative knowledge was around 11% higher for individuals who were taught with some form of gaming simulation compared to a control group. Their procedural knowledge was 14% higher, and their retention 9% higher (Ely & Sitzmann, 2010). Granted this is one study, but others have also shown similar success.