How does ELM do gamification?

Gamification has the potential to increase productivity by 25 percent, reduce training time by 90 percent, and reduce new hire training onboarding time by 70 percent, but it’s often overlooked as nothing more than a trendy buzzword. By combining what we know about neuroscience, cognition, and motivation with engaging design, gamification becomes part of a training strategy that is anything but child’s play. 

Defined as applying game mechanics to eLearning, we combine the characteristics of gameplay with dynamic content to create training that is as addictive as it is engaging. Deceptively simple, gamification actually taps into complex processes in the brain that govern cognition and retention via mechanics like:

  • Leaderboards
  • Points
  • Narrative stories 
  • Quizzes
  • Animation
  • Badges
  • Levels

It’s true that gamification isn’t the perfect solution for every type of learning. By understanding the neuroscience behind why our brains love games, we can apply gamification to the right topics while blending it with other learning methods to level up your training strategy. 

Gaming Neuroscience 

Your brain has powerful neurological pathways that activate depending on what you’re doing. Your default mode network (DMN) is responsible for the things you do in “autopilot mode,” which is sometimes the case with traditional training. Reading through text-heavy slides or paging through a product manual means the DMN takes over and tells your working memory that a topic isn’t particularly important. 

When your brain is challenged or entertained, your working memory network (WMN) takes over. It’s responsible for absorbing new information and converting it into long-term memory. A 2016 issue of Frontiers in Psychology discovered that game elements actually deactivated the DMN, allowing the brain to switch out of autopilot and actively engage with the content for better results.  

It’s not just about engagement, either. When you play a game, you have the opportunity to win. And the human brain loves winning. Its reward center is housed in the cerebral cortex, and when you win a game, a rush of dopamine is dispatched from the ventral tegmental area (VTA). It makes its way to the pleasure center in your brain, and just like that, you’re hooked. Whether it’s Candy Crush or Sales 101, engaging positive emotions are a sure way to keep gamers on task and in the zone. 

Benefits of Gamification 

You shouldn’t feel like training is just a matter of pressing your luck. Use our gamification services, and you’ll see measurable, trackable results plus these other benefits:

  • More Motivation. Gamification rewards learners for their time and keeps them interested in what’s next. Whether they’re motivated by self-improvement or competition between players, that enthusiasm drives behavior and focus. 
  • Learner Autonomy. No two learners are the same and gamification allows individuals to learn on a personal level. Game-based learning taps into each individuals’ intrinsic motivators like competition, improvement, and completion. 
  • Instant Feedback. Games naturally give feedback as players demonstrate their mastery. If they do well, it’s onto the next level. If not, they know instantly what needs to be fixed. Seeing results in real time helps increase motivation and mastery. 
  • Social Learning. Both friendly competition and gaming collaboration allow learners to forge new connections. A 2020 article in Educational Psychology Review found  that learners respond positively to mild social pressure when they are competing with members of a community. 
  • Emotional Connection. Gamification often uses storytelling to help learners apply what they’ve experienced in simulated situations. This helps create an emotional connection (and, in turn, stronger neural connections). 
  • Meaningful Goals. Typical training goals can be ambiguous. Leveling up and completing games gives learners meaningful, tangible goals to work toward as they train. 
  • Cognitive Relief. Brains love to multitask, but it can hurt training efforts. Games direct attention to one task at a time, which increases focus and reduces the cognitive load on the brain. 
  • Foundational Mastery. Traditional training can suffer from too much info—or not enough. Gamification gives learners a chance to demonstrate their knowledge before moving on to a new or more difficult topic. It’s a better way to incrementally improve on and master topics without informational overload. 

There’s a reason games are so enjoyable: They tap directly into how your brain engages with content. Our gamification services help you forge emotional and social connections to meet your training goals. Our neurolearning can help you move your training to the top of the leaderboard by incorporating smart and beautiful gamification into your strategy. 

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