Gamified e-learning solutions succeed when a learner finds themselves invested in their performance: eager to improve, desperate not to fail. In order to achieve emotional investment from the learner, gamified courses must have the following:
Clearly defined goals
You can't expect employee engagement if the objectives of the game are not clear. The in-game goals you set should be in line with wider business objectives, allowing the learner to understand the point of their participation. The clearer the connection between the aim of the game and the aim of the learning, the more involved the learner is likely to be.
A compelling story
An effective way to convey a subject to a learner through gamification is to add a real world scenario the learner can relate to, then let them participate and observe the situation as it unfolds. Dynamic storytelling through branching scenarios can further enhance engagement, with the learner's decisions having a direct impact on the consequences within the story.
A competitive edge
Whether your learners are playing against each other individually, in teams or simply playing to beat their personal best, a competitive edge is needed to motivate learners to carry on through what can often be a repetitive framework of trial and error.
Cast your mind back to the Impossible Quiz or QWOP - these games were not particularly exciting in terms of content, but for some reason we (I) continued to play on, even after 100 (1000) failed attempts. Why? Because they taught patience. Repetition is a common feature in e-learning for this reason: learners find themselves facing the same problems, using the same weapons or having to try again after a failed mission. But, once the mission/task/level is complete, you can guarantee that the information needed to complete it has been retained by the learner. Don't be afraid to send them back to the start after 3 failed attempts: this will only assist in boosting engagement with the content.
A feedback framework
A feedback framework is the bread and butter of gamification. Whether you choose a points-based system, awards and badges, course currency or a leaderboard that is publicly visible, instant feedback promotes emotional investment in the subject matter as it creates a sense of achievement (or disappointment) when learners win or lose.
Congratulations! You have achieved employee engagement through gamification. You can now Level Up! To do this, please answer the question below:
How can you win with gamification?
hint: read up.
Gamification has great potential when used with the right content and audience, but when it feels like a gimmick, it fails. Learners don’t want boring elearning, but they don’t want childish games either. The sweet spot is a simulation that’s relevant and challenging.