Gamification in Learning: Getting Your Learners Motivated
Keeping your learners engaged is tricky when it comes to online learning. It’s important to create an environment that motivates your learners, making the learning experience enjoyable and engaging. eLearning gamification offers a great way to drive this motivation to learn. But before we look at how eLearning gamification motivates, let’s look at what it is.
What is gamification?
Gamification is the use of gaming elements to enhance non-gaming experiences. It’s crucial not to mix up gamification with game-based learning. Gamification in eLearning isn’t about building game-based courses. Instead it’s about acknowledging and rewarding learning achievements. Gamifying training, whether it’s optional or mandatory, is simple once you have the tools to do so.
In online learning, it’s usually done through a learning management system (LMS). With an LMS, you can positively influence learner behaviour and reward achievements, which motivates your learners to participate, and importantly, complete their training.
What are the elements involved in gamification?
There are several different elements that make up a gamified experience. Like traditional gaming, gamification uses:
- Badges – Awarded based on the completion of a task or activity, such as completing a course or a daily login.
- Points – Awarded to mark achievement and progress. The learner amasses points to reach a target. In this case, the target is usually called a level.
- Levels – Users climb levels set out for them. This motivates them to engage and complete more courses.
- Leaderboards – Progression and engagement are displayed on leaderboards. Comparison feeds into competition with others.
All of the above elements work together to create a system that rewards and motivates learners as they complete their training.
How gamification in online learning motivates learners
Works for different types of learners
There are two ways learners are motivated – intrinsically and extrinsically. Motivated by internal factors, intrinsic learners will complete a task because it’s rewarding to them. They get personal enjoyment from completing an action. As a result, they’re more likely to complete something, like training. For them, gamification adds to their overall enjoyment of completing an action.
Next, we have extrinsic learners who are motivated by external factors. This comes in the form of rewards at the end of an action, like praise. If there is no reward system in place for these learners, they may be more reluctant to complete an action. Gamification gives them an external reason to finish the task – achieving badges, points and progressing through levels.
Gives instant feedback
Providing instantaneous feedback keeps you learners’ confidence high and clearly shows them where they need to improve.
Instant feedback works in your favour too. If your learner has to wait for results, they may continue to carry out a task incorrectly. But, if they know straight away that they’re making a mistake, they can correct it, increasing productivity and saving time.
Let’s look at a real-life example. Imagine learning to drive, but not being told how to use the brakes. Now imagine your instructor only telling you to use them after you’ve crashed the car. This is an extreme example, but it illustrates how important getting timely feedback is.
Allows for friendly competition
We all have a competitive streak in us somewhere, albeit some more than others. Using leaderboards and badges to acknowledge your workforce’s learning achievements turns this competition into a friendly tool for motivating your learners.
But, gamification should be a fun add-on so it’s important to strike a balance when encouraging healthy competition. The last thing you want is for learners to feel under pressure to do well, or becoming disengaged as they don’t believe they can perform as well as their peers.
Collaboration and community
Gamification drives collaboration between learners. We might hate to admit it, but we achieve greater results in groups. And doing this through teamwork can be compelling. For example, you could set a collaborative task for a team or group of co-workers to each get a certain badge. In doing this, they’ll have to help and support each other to achieve this goal.
But collaboration doesn’t have to happen through group work. An LMS forum can be used to create a space where learners can chat with, and support each other. Within this online community, learners can congratulate and like other’s achievements, the learning experience less solitary and more community-based.
Provides a sense of achievement
Most of us get that nice sense of accomplishment after completing a task. At its very core, this feeling is the force that drives gamification and its mechanisms. Your learners are getting that sense of achievement through earning points and badges, and it’s also satisfying for them to see their name on, and moving up, a leaderboard. This positive reinforcement goes a long way to keeping them motivated and engaged.
Gamification taps into our need for instant reward in a fun and interactive way. Research shows that gamification can increase the time and effort learners put into learning, which in turn better prepares them for their day to day role and increases their productivity.
Have you started using gamification in your training? Let us know how you found it in the comments below.