As a teacher, one of the main goals of instruction was to engage my students. As a special education teacher, this goal was even more critical to the effectiveness and success of my instruction. I would often engage students during test prep and review by creating interactive memory games such as jeopardy. I would establish a competitive dynamic among student with incentives and rewards. Ultimately, I found that the more kids felt like they were playing, the less they realized they were learning. It was under these conditions that my students were achieving the most success in my classroom.
As instructional designers, the same approach can be exercised. Learners engage and retain when it doesn’t actually feel like learning. As we think about how to gamify our learning, we should be mindful of the core principles of game design, and adapt them to the learning experience as necessary:
Engage your learners with aesthetically pleasing design. This is the initial buy-in for most e-learners. They’ve got to like what they see before they become too invested in the process. Engage them early on, to keep them engaged.
Learners can be challenged through leveling. Create a competitive learning environment under which the learner is challenged to improve and push forward throughout instruction. Be sure to provide guidance for improvement when learners struggle.
Make progress measurable for not only the instruction process, but also your learners. Progress trackers and rewards-based systems are a great way for learners to feel accountable for their progress (or lack thereof). Making this visible will help learners maintain a pace in which they are able to get the most out of your e-learning.
Give learners something for accomplishing milestones within your training. Make them feel like the work wasn’t for nothing. Rewards should be clear and obtainable.
Check out some great gamified example below, and be sure to share some successful ways you’ve been able to gamify your e-learning!