7 eLearning Gamification Elements to Get the Most Out of Serious Games

• 4 min read

Make your serious games more effective with these eLearning gamification ideas

From badges and boards to keys that open learning doors, there are a myriad of game mechanics to consider when designing your online training course.

The question is: which gamification elements should you use for your audience in order to spark their motivation? How can you reinforce positive behaviours and get them to engage with the subject matter in a more meaningful way? Most importantly, which game mechanic is a perfect fit for your online training program and organizational goals? Here are 7 eLearning gamification elements to consider for getting the most out of the serious games you plan to include in your online training programs.

1. Leaderboards

Leaderboards are one of the most competitive gamification elements, as they encourage corporate learners to surpass their peers in order to achieve “first place” status. It’s the ideal game mechanic for those who want to be publicly recognized or praised, which makes it more extrinsic than intrinsic when it comes to motivation.

To get the most out of leaderboards, allow corporate learners to opt out if they aren’t comfortable competing with their colleagues. This ensures that your introverted corporate learners aren’t alienated, but still gives others the chance to work toward the top tier.

2. Points

Points are earned by completing tasks or participating in voluntary online training activities. Once learners have collected a certain amount of points they can trade them in for a reward or unlock new course levels.

3. Certificates and/or Badges

Certificates and badges are more tangible rewards. Corporate learners must reach their goals or show their expertise in order to receive a certificate. When more “minor” milestones are reached (e.g., if they successfully pass an exam or make their way through a branching scenario), they can receive a badge to track their progress.

Certificates are ideal for compliance online training courses, such as online safety training. If necessary, the certificates can have an expiration date, at which time a corporate learner must renew their certificate by retaking the online training course.

4. Collectibles

Whether it’s baseball cards or in-course items, humans tend to enjoy collecting things. Corporate learners can work toward complete their course collection. This same rule applies to trading. If another corporate learner has an item they are missing from their collection, they must communicate with them in order to strike a deal. This process makes your online training experiences more social and interactive.

5. Course Currency

Who doesn’t like money? You can use this to your advantage by creating a course currency that corporate learners must amass throughout their online training. They can use this currency to unlock online training content, access helpful tips, or even purchase tangible rewards. Be sure that you create a set of guidelines and stress the fact that the currency doesn’t hold any monetary value.

6. Virtual Raffle Tickets

Give corporate learners the opportunity to earn tickets during the online training program, then hold a raffle at the end where they can win prizes. This particular game mechanic can be tricky, since corporate learners aren’t participating simply for the sake of learning—they are in it to win, as they say, and earning rewards is their primary goal. This is why it’s always a good idea to pair it with another game mechanic that is more intrinsic.

7. Keys and/or Rarities

This is a gamification element taken straight from video and PC games. Corporate learners must complete an online training task or module to earn a key. That key will unlock the next level or they are required to save up a certain number of keys to unlock a reward. If you want to take it a step further you can even create keys that will grant access to “hidden” content, treasure chests, or doors that lead to supplemental online training resources, like fun games or puzzles.

Corporate learners who are more adventurous or become easily distracted will love the idea of unlocking rarities. For example, let your corporate audience know that there are only 5 rare objects hidden throughout the online training course (e.g., bonus points or one-of-a-kind badges). Corporate learners can unlock these items by completing special tasks or outperforming their peers.

Bear in mind that these are just a few of the top game mechanics that you may want to consider. If none of them fit the bill, you might think about creating a brand new gamification element or making some minor adjustments to an already established system. The key is to find an approach that cultivates the right amount of competition and appeals to their intrinsic motivation.

Game-based learning and gamification are top trends to look out for in 2017 and beyond. Learn more in our free report: eLearning Market Trends and Forecast 2017-2021.