Developing a Learning Culture

4 Video Game Elements to Steal for Your Next Webinar

Unless you’re a total noob, you know that video games are onto something when it comes to engaging players and getting them hooked. But consider this: According to ESRB, the average gamer is 34 years old. It’s a surprising number and one that might look suspiciously similar to that of the age of your average learner.

Now, contrast the sights, sounds, and motivation when playing a video game to a webinar: Traditionally one-note and easily forgotten, webinars are rarely as exciting as button-mashing during a fight game, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as engaging. By stealing a few interactive elements from video games, webinars can level up to something more than just a visual presentation.

  1. Style Sections as Levels

The element that makes video games so binge-able and engaging is that most are broken into levels, missions, or chapters. Not only does this break gameplay into more snackable sizing (“just one more level!”) but it also encourages players to keep playing until they finish a level. When styled into levels or missions, webinar sections seem more approachable can inspire the same desire for completion, all while piquing interest in even the most disengaged learner.

  1. Incentivize Engagement with Prizes

Webinar creators sometimes halfheartedly add game-like elements to their presentations, but by and large it’s done in the form of badges. Don’t get us wrong; badges are great in some situations. But for webinars, when you really want learners to be glued to the screen, they may not be enough motivation. Instead, consider using prizes to incentivize learners to watch and participate. Perhaps learners earn points that they can exchange for entries into a post-webinar drawing, or there’s a hidden chapter that can be unlocked after learners complete a mission. Add incentives that learners really want, and they’ll really want to complete the webinar.

  1. Introduce the Element of Competition

Nothing inspires quite like friendly competition, so don’t be afraid to pit webinar participants against each other. After all, it’s competition that keeps gamers coming back again and again, especially when playing against opponents in real time. Add in mini-contests throughout the webinar and hand out points for answers and discussions and display the leaderboard in real time. Learners are more likely to stick around and participate when they see their peers doing the same–and winning.

  1. Add Optional Minigames

Some of the most engaging video game components are minigames: short, fun games that add to the experience, but aren’t absolutely necessary for completion. Minigames can tie into a webinar by giving learners a chance to practice their skills and earn extra points. While they aren’t necessary for gameplay, minigames can enhance user experience and add an element of fun. So whether it’s a quiz on the side, a mini-simulation, or even a just-for-fun webinar breather, building minigames into the experience could make a world of difference in engagement levels.

Video games are practically textbook templates for how to engage users and encourage participation. But don’t let your webinar gamification end at a few badges or you could find learners becoming disengaged and dropping out. Instead, actually include addictive, incentivizing game elements into a presentation to take it to the next level.

Awesome webinars? Achievement unlocked.