Instructional Design

Game On: Why Gamification Works

“My employees play enough games without me giving them the green light to spend time playing more games on my dime when they should be doing productive work. Why would I encourage this gamification fad?” Is this what you think? Well, who could blame you! The term gamification does imply game playing, and goodness knows enough of that goes on in the workplace, but gamification isn’t going to turn your place of business into Animal House! Just as brain games contribute to brain fitness, gamification, technobabble for game-like elements in eLearning, contributes to mastery of a topic introduced in the learning module.

Gamification is not really games; it’s the use of game-like elements to facilitate learning. You can’t simply push knowledge to your learners solely through games without incorporating the other essential elements of eLearning. Let’s look at the why and the how of incorporating gamification.

Engage Learners

It’s getting more difficult by the day to engage an audience. How long can you engage learners using old-fashioned techniques? PowerPoint is so 1990s and early 2000s, but we can take it from the classroom and use it as a foundational stepping stone to computer based learning. The key to engagement is variety and interaction. Gamification is a small slice of the eLearning pie along with storytelling, scenarios, audio, video, graphics, social learning—and that old-fashioned, just-won’t-die element—TEXT.

Provide Immediate Feedback

Gamification provides the format for simulation and for testing. You wouldn’t want a Navy pilot learning how to land on a fully loaded aircraft carrier when he or she could learn by simulation. Think of the savings in cost and in lives by incorporating gamification into the curriculum.

More likely, you’ll use gamification to test your learners’ knowledge on the subject matter presented in the training. It can be used to direct the learner with a high score to a more advanced module and a learner with a less satisfactory score to a review module.

Reward Learners for Successful Completion

Nothing pleases more than the reward of immediate gratification. With gamification, there’s no waiting on test scores. If you participate in the Open Badges program, your learners can collect badges the same way they used to collect them when they participated in scout programs. And, what’s the one thing that employees crave even more than money? Recognition. Badges serve as recognition and respect for a lesson well learned on the way to a job well done.