Gamification is the process of integrating some of the concepts of game mechanics into an e-learning course. This is done with the hope of making the course more engaging and interesting which, therefore, increases the success rate. As this concept is not a thoroughly tried and tested procedure, however, there are some misconceptions about its implementation and usefulness.
Let us address some of the major misconceptions.
1. Formal training or entertainment?
One of the biggest concerns regarding gamification is that it foregoes formal training for entertainment. In a poorly implemented system, this might be the case. But if the focus is placed on learning objectives and desired outcomes, and game mechanics are used only to support these core elements, then we will have an effective gamified e-learning course.
2. Just throw in some incentives and rewards, right?
A very dangerous misconception of gamification is that any incentive or reward is enough to provide motivation to learners. This, however, could not be further from the truth.
People are different. It takes thorough research to understand which incentives work best in terms of motivating your learners. Such insight is critical when designing a gamified course since it is possible to render the training ineffective if the learners are not properly motivated by the rewards. In the worst case scenario, learners will probably disengage from the gamified training entirely.
3. Are extrinsic rewards enough for motivation?
The key to long-term success is, without doubt, intrinsic motivation. It almost guarantees that a learner will succeed eventually. But it can be hard to become motivated in something new or remain motivated in an existing course. This is where extrinsic rewards come into play.
Successful gamified courses do not rely solely on extrinsic rewards. Instead, they use these tangible rewards to spark motivation in learners and keep them interested. When implemented correctly, extrinsic rewards can help push the learner forward until they find their own intrinsic motivation.
4. Does gamification mean a serious game?
No, there is a distinct difference between a gamified course and a serious game.
Gamification involves blending game mechanics into an e-learning course. It is a more involved approach that pertains to every aspect of an online training program. Employees participate in online training activities, modules, and assessments in order to achieve the learning objectives and earn rewards.
Serious games, on the other hand, are independent learning activities that follow the traditional game format. They are usually a one-off online training activity that can be integrated into an existing online training program.
Gamification can be a blessing to your e-learning industry. It can improve the success of your courses by increasing engagement, boosting morale, instilling motivation, and by providing a fun experience for the learner. But as with any venture, thorough planning, research, and design are mandatory if the gamified course needs to succeed.