Why you absolutely need Gamification in eLearning

John Shannon

Humans of all ages, from childhood to adults like to validated for their work. It’s simply part of how we are wired, we find joy and satisfaction in accomplishing a quest or a task at hand. When we are acknowledged for being the best at something, even better!

The psychological benefits of being rewarded and recognized for a skill, talent, or accomplishment motivate us to continue. This is one of the core concepts behind gamification, and why it has been proven to be so successful today.

Gamification has been implemented across a wide variety of industry initiatives and has found itself in the eLearning sphere. In traditional learning, gamification was used as well (remember receiving a gold star for turning in your homework?) or playing fun memory games in the classroom. With the digital age evolving and online learning becoming the norm, gamification continues to be used, in the form of badges, quests, points, and leaderboards.

The question in this blog though is why do we need gamification in eLearning? What about rewards and recognition stimulates us in a way that causes drop-off rates to decrease, and engagement rates to rise? Let’s go through this together.

What is Gamification?

Let’s quickly go over the term “gamification” first before anything else. Gamification is the use of game elements in nongaming activities. Game mechanics such as points, badges, leaderboards, etc help engage and motivate your audience. Gamification in a nutshell helps make boring things fun.

Also at the core of gamification, there are four main elements:

  • 1) Rewards and incentives
    2) Obstacles or challenges to overcome
    3) Goals or quests to achieve
    4) Game rules

Implementing these mechanisms into workplace training or an online learning environment, in general, helps boost productivity and engagement, as well as supporting learning retention.

Benefits of Gamification in E-Learning

It might seem risky to try gamification in your learning strategy. Proposing to your team or bosses might seem intimidating, especially if they haven’t heard of game-based learning before. No stress- there are plenty of proven benefits of gamified learning that can help get you and your team the confidence to go ahead with the green light.

1) Learner Experience
2) Engagement
3) Retention
4) Company Culture

1) Learner Experience

 

There are many well-known companies that have gamified their apps, (think Nike Run Club, Uber, Starbucks). These well-known brands all gamify their user experience and reward their customers for their loyalty and engagement. It’s quite a great strategy, and it pays off, for both them and their customers.

There’s a sense of achievement we personally feel when we have a 5-star uber rating, or when we get enough points for a free mocha frappe. It even motivates customers to spend more, just to see those rewards and badges accumulate. Over time, we expect to see them across many of our day-to-day activities, and when an app doesn’t have some kind of reward program, well, it can be a bit of a letdown.

When this is implemented within learning, a similar effect is created. As your learners progress, you can reward them with badges, achievement points, and even a fun leaderboard for getting a high score on the mini-game they played in between modules. Elements such as these leave a fun, memorable experience for all of your students, and they are excited about learning as a result.

2) Engagement

 

It’s statistically shown that up to ⅓ of employees don’t find their training materials interesting. This, of course, leads to low engagement rates, low retention, and eventually dropping out of the learning or training program completely. This then impacts their performance within your organization, and that can affect your companies growth and bottom line. It’s hard to prove a positive ROI based on these results.

Enter gamification. (show statistics here) Gamification results have shown up to a 60%  increase in learners’ engagement, and a 50% increase in improved productivity! Those are some pretty incredible results. Your students will not only learn but find the content educational and entertaining.

3) Retention

 

Retention is a hard KPI to measure, although it is incredibly important to ensure that your students are not only completing their learning programs, actually learning and remembering their lessons long term, so they can practically implement them in their careers and day to day lives.

Knowledge retention rates generally aren’t very high, studies have shown that employees forget about 50% of all information within the first hour of learning! With that in mind, as a course creator, you should be very strategic with not only the information you present, but how your present it to your students.

One of the very few ways to improve their retention rates is via gamification. Games help your learners participate on a whole new level. When competition is involved via gamification, it helps create the experience to be more memorable and we naturally remember more of it. In return, retention rates rise.

4) Company Learning Culture

 

Being known as a “thought leader” in your field is definitely a goal to aspire to, for companies and individuals alike. A company that values and creates a continuous learning culture is no doubt one that is miles ahead of its competition in regards to progress and impact. Gamification in learning and training helps send your students a message that you not only care about your students, but you want them to enjoy the journey.

If your learners are not only learning the modules but actively engaging and participating in conversations and training, they simply become better learners and employees overall. This creates a fun excitement that is attractive and encouraging. Your learners will want to show up, and progress. Gamification within learners helps create an excited, motivated audience that ends up with successful students.

Summary

These days, gamification is nearly everywhere, whether we realize it or not. Whether it’s shopping, working out, or grabbing an uber, we are accumulating points and gathering digital approvals that give us little hits of dopamine and encouragement. We can guarantee that it is just as successful in eLearning, simply by looking at its success across other mediums.

Using gamification within the learning experience in the form of badges, rewards, points, leaderboards, and contests will help not only create fun competition, but keep your learners excited and, most importantly, engaged.

They won’t even know they are learning! In return, their retention rates will rise. LMS (learning management systems) like Archy Learning have partnered with Gamify to create a gamified learning experience that is sure to help your course be a success. You can start a free trial here today!

John Shannon

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