8 Best Practices For Designing Gamified eLearning Experiences

• 4 min read

How To Design Gamified eLearning Experiences

There isn’t any doubt that gamification holds a prominent place in the future of eLearning. This comes as no surprise, thanks to the fact that gamified eLearning courses boost learner engagement, increase motivation, and trigger their competitive nature. However, in order to create an effective eLearning strategy that features badges, points, and leaderboards you should follow these 8 golden rules of gamification.

1. Determine WHY And HOW To Gamify Your eLearning Course

Why are you taking a gamification approach in the first place? How are you going to use game mechanics to achieve your goals? These are the two questions that you MUST answer before you start the eLearning development process. A gamified eLearning strategy is only effective if it suits the subject matter and the needs of your audience. Each technique you utilize should tie directly into the learning objectives of your eLearning course and bring you one step closer to achieving the desired outcomes. Otherwise, you may want to opt for a different approach.

2. Enlightenment Comes Before Entertainment

There must be a rhyme and reason behind every aspect of your eLearning course design. If you are including game mechanics simply for their entertainment value then you should rethink your eLearning strategy. First and foremost, your eLearning course should enlighten online learners. Badges, points, and levels are just there to support the subject matter and fuel learners motivation. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of gamification is to positively reinforce your online learners and fill performance gaps. Your game techniques must support the actions, behaviors, and skills that they need.

3. Go Beyond Leaderboards

One of the most popular game mechanics used in eLearning courses is the leaderboard. Leaderboards add a competitive edge to the eLearning experience and motivate your online learners to surpass their peers. They are effective, but you shouldn’t stop there. Points, badges, medals, and awards help enrich your eLearning course in a more personal and profound way. Instead of trying to keep up with their peers, eLearning course participants are able to go at their own pace and “level up” on their own terms. Also, if you are incorporating leaderboards into the eLearning course design you should ALWAYS make your online learners aware of the fact that they will be public and allow them to opt out. Certain individuals may not be able to cope with the pressure or stress of competing.

4. Guide Online Learners Through The Process

Online learners need to know what’s expected of them and how they will be interacting with the game elements. In other words, you have to give your online learners instructions that outline the ground rules and guide them through the eLearning process. How will they be able to accrue badges or points? Can they redeem the points for a reward or incentive? In order for your gamified eLearning strategy to work, each of the elements must hold value. For example, a point is just a point unless you give them something to work toward.

5. Tap Into Their Intrinsic Motivation

Some eLearning programs choose to offer tangible rewards, such as gift cards and cash. However, this can be a slippery slope since you are appealing to your learners’ extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivators, on the other hand, have the power to fuel online learners on a deeper level by tapping into internal factors, such as the drive to succeed and achieve their goals. Instead of offering your audience free items you can invite them to earn badges in order to finish the eLearning course and earn a completion certificate.

6. Award Them With An Introductory Badge Or Starter Points

Give online learners a taste of what’s in store by offering them introductory badges, awards, or points right off the bat. Once you show them the significance of the reward they will put more effort into the eLearning process, as they know that their hard work is going to pay off in the end. Be sure to limit the amount of introductory points you award, as providing too many can diminish the value of your eLearning course and decrease their extrinsic motivation.

7. Simplicity Is Paramount

A gamified eLearning strategy can quickly spiral out of control if you try to include too many game mechanics or rules. Try to keep things as simple as possible and focus on the goals and learning objectives. Complex instructions and techniques will only confuse your online learners. For example, if you start integrating different badge types or double point eLearning activities your corporate learners may lose sight of the target and get sidetracked by the gaming elements themselves.

8. Evaluate And Test Every Element Of Game Mechanics

After you’ve completed your gamification design you should evaluate and examine the game mechanics of your eLearning course. You may discover that earning a badge isn’t challenging enough or that the point system is overinflated. Conduct surveys to find out how your online learners feel about the eLearning experience and what they would change. You should also meet with your Subject Matter Experts, Instructional Designers, and other key members of your eLearning team to get their input. A fresh perspective can help ensure that your eLearning course still offers the key takeaways and doesn’t rely too heavily on the game elements.

One of the best things about gamification is that it has a broad range of applications. You can use it in virtually any eLearning course design to immerse and interact with your online learners more effectively. Use these 8 best practices to ensure that your gamified eLearning checks all of the boxes and has what it takes to entertain, engage and inspire your online learners.

Are you looking for gamification inspiration in your compliance online training strategy? Read the article 6 Tips To Gamify Compliance Online Training Courses to learn how you can transform your compliance online training courses into amazing gamification experiences.

With Docebo’s rich set of gamification features, it’s easy to not only provide a gamified learning experience, but you can also provide real-life incentives for performance, beyond virtual badges. Test out the all-new Rewards Marketplace, now available in Docebo 6.9.