Gamification is a hot trend in e-learning, and with good reason. When used correctly, it can help raise engagement and compliance, boost user enjoyment, and even improve learning outcomes. Of course, to fully reap these benefits, it’s important to choose the right type of game experience to match your target audience and desired learning outcomes. Below, we unpack seven key gamification strategies:
1) Achievement Badges
If your course contains a lot of optional content, there’s a high risk that users will unintentionally miss or lose track of useful content. Rewarding users with achievement badges when they complete milestones in the training incentivizes them to continue so they can “win” or “collect” more. If you let users see all possible badges, it also alerts them to course content that they still need to complete.
2) Avatar Upgrades
This concept is similar to achievement badges, but instead it rewards users with extra outfits, tools, or other customizations for their game avatar or character. For example, if the course topic is health and safety concepts for vehicles, you could reward correct answers with an improved protection shield and vehicle customizations. Users can show off their upgraded avatars in company leader boards or other internal platforms like intranets or chat rooms.
3) Competition & Leader Boards
Humans are naturally motivated by competition. You can tap into this desire to compete and win against other players by incorporating a leader board that ranks course participants. If your course LMS doesn’t have this option, you can simulate competition by allowing users to compete against a virtual character to complete a task within a certain timeframe or beat a certain score.
4) Platform Game
In a platform game, players try to get from one end of a board to another while navigating obstacles, often on a side-scrolling platform—the classic example being Super Mario Bros. While platform games are beloved by many, they should be used very selectively in the context of E-learning—users can react negatively to a skill-based game unrelated to the training topic. We recommend using elements of platforms to track user progress or implement relaxing (and optional) “breakers” in the course story.
5) Role Playing
Role playing is an excellent format for trainings related to decision making, negotiation, and procedures, as it allows users to practice and test out their knowledge in a simulated environment that mimics real-life situations. It can be employed across a wide range of topics from anti-bribery to health and safety procedures to anti-terrorist trainings.
Tactical games and simulations are excellent for helping to hone and verify the user’s strategic thinking skills. The options are wide-ranging, from a simple strategy game like chess to a highly complex simulation of a real-world environment, such as a certification course that requires marketing professionals to design and execute a long-term business strategy to capture the most market share.
7) Board Games
Complex, multi-step courses can benefit from a board game format because it organizes content visually and provides a clear, accessible learning path to users. It pairs well with badges and hero enhancements to encourage exploration of content.