Using Gamification For Better Learner Engagement: An Overview
In the right hands, games can be the most powerful tool in our arsenal. Unlike books, audio, and even video, video games are a product of the modern age. It can provide a method of interaction with content that as of yet no other medium can. Games allow for a truly unique and interactive experience which can leave a lasting impression on the user.
It is wrong to assume that games are purely for entertainment. It has the tools in place to support every type of learner whether they be textual, audio, video, or kinesthetic. No compromise needs to be made in that regard.
Let us take a brief look at how gamification can be used to increase learner engagement.
Make learning fun
Learning can be a truly enjoyable experience with the right instructor and learner pair. But this is an ideal scenario. More often than not, the learners will find it difficult to maintain a good level of interest in a course. This is especially prevalent if the course is compulsory which will result in employees finishing the course half-heartedly.
A course that is implemented in the style of a game, however, can offset this greatly. Whether a course is compulsory or not, learners will actively finish it if it provides a fun experience and might even look forward to new courses.
The phrase “learning by doing” is a common and very useful piece of advice. Using gamification we can implement interactive learning. This will give a higher chance of success compared to a simple page-turner course. An interactive module will have learners understanding concepts faster and remembering them for longer.
The minimum hardware requirements of gamified courses allow them to be safely implemented on mobile platforms as well. This provides the option for self-paced learning. When learners are allowed to learn when and where it is most convenient, it increases their engagement with the course and will lead to much better results.
Acknowledgment and reward mechanics
Everyone enjoys being acknowledged for the things that they have done. In this regard, games allow for predetermined rewards such as badges or trophies to be awarded to the learner on successful completion of certain objectives. Other incentives can also be awarded for exceptional performance such as early access to future content, offers on other courses, a chance to work with the L&D teams on certain courses, etc.
It must be noted that these extrinsic motivators are not a long-term solution and they should be used to help supplement intrinsic motivation.
It should be noted that although gamification can provide great benefits, it must be used carefully. Like with any product, thorough research and planning must be done before implementation. Simply throwing in game-assets will not work.
Implementing it poorly is worse than not implementing it at all and it will negatively impact the learning experience. Gamification might also require an increase in training budget but when implemented correctly it can provide a significant return on investment.