3 Simple Tools for Learning Gamification

Games are a platform that has been of interest to educators for a long time. Games and game-like experiences have the power to engage us and retain our motivation. Naturally, people respond to games for different reasons, some for the social experience, some for the competition. As the game-generation moves to the workplace, we are seeing an increased need for learning gamification. Whereas old learning content formats have lost their effectiveness, we can foster the required engagement with gamified learning, among other means.

Firstly, however, we need to make an important distinction. When talking about gamification, we are not referring to games. Gamification means taking those elements unique to games (social experience, competitiveness etc.) and implementing them in learning. That being said, here are three simple game-like features you can implement in your learning.

1. Leaderboards can foster friendly competition in learning

Leaderboards have been a staple in online games for a long time. Players compete to get their name on the top for the prestige and recognition. While it may sound simple, leaderboards are a great motivational tool. In fact, many organisations across the globe have used this method of motivating through competition and recognition, especially in one profession – sales. Sales professionals have been subject to leaderboards for a long time. Whereas the sales leader of the month might be awarded, the ones further down the list will strive even harder the next month.

Consequently, leaderboards are very easy to apply to digital learning. Firstly, you just need to make sure that your learning content is interactive. From thereon, it is very easy to start awarding points for interactions, quizzes and social participation. Then, you can keep track of these points and combine them into different leaderboards. By doing this, the learners are able to engage in friendly competition with people from e.g. the same business unit or another regional office.

2. Badges are one of the fundamentals in learning gamification

Badges, or electronic achievements, are one of the fundamentally basic, yet very efficient tools in learning gamification. As such, badges work as instant gratification to the learner. Whenever you complete an important part, milestone or a goal, the system assigns you a badge. What’s great is that badges don’t have to be strictly limited to traditional learning activities either. Rather, you can award your learners for participation in group discussions and social media exploiting social learning.

Another great thing about badges is that they trigger the same types of behaviour as the leaderboards. On the other hand, they incorporate an element of competition – the employees can show of their achievements visually. Furthermore, we can use badges to encourage social interactions between the employees. Social learning can be very powerful, hence we should encourage all kinds of interactions between our employees – the learners.

3. We need to reward learners for their efforts – instantly!

We can reinforce and encourage specific types of behaviour by consistent rewarding. When building a modern, robust learning culture, we naturally need to encourage frequent learning activities. An easy way to do this is by committing to providing instant gratification – rewards and feedback. The leaderboards and badges explained before are only a few forms of instant rewarding. There are countless ways of applying instant rewards and generally the principles are more important than the methods.

Instant rewarding means that you provide a return to the learners for every activity completed. The instant reward may take the form of e.g. verbal feedback, scores, badge or access to further levels of content. These type of rewards are essential in keeping the learner on the hook. As a result, when we encourage learning by such rewarding, learners are more likely to “keep playing” i.e. to be engaged. Also, a well structured instant rewards approach can provide us with additional ways of monitoring the learning. The learning professionals can quickly appraise the learner’s progress just by looking at their achievements. Similarly, the learners get continuous, valuable feedback on their personal learning progress.

Have you implemented gamification in your organisation? If you are looking to get started and would like to know more about learning gamification best practices, feel free to drop us a note here.