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3 Simple ways to gamify your online learning

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3 Simple ideas for elearning gamification (without the gimmicks)

Gamification can help you create a more engaging learning experience. But, make sure you don’t simply take a game and apply it to your learning. Instead, you should focus on finding ways to use gaming elements to create learning experiences that are not possible with traditional face-to-face training. Here are three simple ideas to help you get started with using gamification in your online learning.

1. Focus on engagement and motivation

Think of your learners like players on a journey from novice to master. This is what makes games engaging — and sometimes addictive! Build your online learning in a way that encourages learners to strive to reach the next stage.

Here are some ideas that work well:

  • Present a series of small, achievable challenges to reach an overall goal.
  • Use quests to engage and motivate. Start with a simple question or quiz.
  • Give learners the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Provide great feedback that shows learners where they went wrong and gives them a chance to try again, keeping them motivated to continue learning.
  • Use film and audio to provide interaction.

Draw inspiration from this example of an engaging elearning program (built with Elucidat) that has multiple small, achievable challenges:

2. Make it a challenge

Lots of small, incremental challenges maintain the motivation to improve skills and knowledge. Make challenges achievable and provide feedback and branching navigation to keep the course relevant and engaging.

Here’s an example of a simple but effective mini-course (built with Elucidat): Preventing Fraud:

In Preventing Fraud, learners jump to the next course stage if they respond correctly to a challenge. Learners are taken on different twists and turns until they reach the desired outcome. The game sets a score and adds rules to allow learners to move through the course.

Related: 7 ideas to help you create simple branching scenarios with Elucidat

Let’s look at another example that makes learning a challenge. The interactive historical game Medieval Swansea enables learners to take on the role of a detective to solve a mystery. Learners complete challenges to unlock stages. Some of the successful gamification features include:

  • Scenario learning: learners complete interactive challenges and quests.
  • Storytelling: narrates the different stages.
  • Progression: a dynamic map shows players/learners what stage they are at and what’s left to complete.
  • Dynamic polling: players vote on solving the mystery and see what other players are saying.
  • Challenging: there are opportunities to gather points and bonuses that unlock future stages.

3. Create a sense of accomplishment

Affirm learners’ progress with tests and scores. Once learners pass a test or a level, give them something to show they’ve done well. Badges can be awarded to learners who have successfully completed stages in a program. Achievement rewards can also be used to unlock levels in your course, or they can be used in compliance training to demonstrate the workforce’s competence in a particular area.

Related: The anatomy of good gamified elearning

Final thoughts

Yes, gamification in online learning is a hot topic, but it shouldn’t be used as a gimmick. Instead of creating online learning that mimics a traditional offline game, such as a word search, think about how you can use gamification elements to enhance the learning experience beyond what is possible in offline face-to-face training.

Experiment with modern authoring tools – such as Elucidat – to see how easy it is to incorporate these simple gamification ideas into your next online learning project.

Steve Penfold
Steve Penfold is Customer Success Director at Elucidat. He helps large companies and online training providers use Elucidat to simplify and speed up their authoring process.
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