Game Elements that Make eLearning Better

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We continue with the topic of gamification and bring to you our latest blog post that focuses on game elements or the elements of gamification that make eLearning better. We will look at the following topics in this blog post:

  • Why gamification of eLearning works, and how it helps learners?
  • What are some of the best practices in gamifying eLearning?
  • What are the different game elements that help make eLearning more engaging? 
Using game elements to transform regular workplace learning programs into engaging training programs that deliver value to learners and the organization.

Why Gamification of eLearning Works?

Gamification of eLearning works as a strategy to boost learner engagement and retention of learning because gamification makes learning more interactive. You are making the learners do something more than just watching a video or listening to an expert demonstrate how to use a product. Gamification increases the scope of learning and allows learners to put into use what they learned in the program. This is typically done by making the assessment section a gamified interactive experience. The incorporation of game elements in an eLearning program makes learners curious about how the learning or assessment section will be gamified. It will also give them an added impetus to complete the program.

Further, a gamified platform is the ideal practice platform as it gives the learners valuable confidence in this “test” environment before applying the same in real-life situations. It becomes a safe haven for the learner, and an assessment module for the trainer.

Gamified Learning to the Rescue During the Pandemic

In this detailed study published by McKinsey; several interesting insights on workplace learning during the pandemic have been provided. L&D teams in large companies have adopted many measures to make learning smooth and seamless for employees working from their homes. One of the key points mentioned in the study cited above, is how organizations are looking to reinvent and transform their existing training content by delivering it in new ways; and exploring different digital learning strategies to train their employees.

“The uptake in virtual delivery also provides learning leaders with an opportunity to enhance the digital experience of employee learners. One way is for leaders to tie communication to the learners’ individual motivations, such as a sense of personal, community, or company purpose.”

One great way to transform existing training content like an instructor-led training program is to assess it, and convert it into a self-paced gamified eLearning program, or offer it as a blended game-based learning program with a virtual instructor. In the next section, we will look at some of the best practices in gamifying eLearning.

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Adding Game Elements – Best Practices in the Gamification of Training Content

Given below are some of the best practices that can be followed to gamify training content:

  • Define how you wish to gamify your training content

This typically means laying down the framework for game design, aligned with the learning objectives, and the final outcome of your training program. 

  • What type of game elements to use?

Use game elements that add value to the learning experience. Leaderboards, social media integration, ability to challenge other learners, reward points that can be redeemed for real-world goodies, interactive animated puzzles, online treasure hunts; these are just some of the many game elements that can be integrated within a training program.

  • Guide the learner 

One aspect that often gets lost in the process of gamification of learning is guiding the learner with appropriate steps. If a game is going to be suddenly introduced during a learning program, the learners need to know what exactly they need to do to complete the game or task successfully.  Instructions should be written clearly and without any ambiguity.

  • Keep it simple

Learners are not looking at world-building and complex narrative arcs and characters within their eLearning program. Remember your intention is not to distract the learners with your games. The game elements should help them remember the concepts that they have learned, and apply them properly to complete the games or tasks in the assessment section.

  • Evaluate the game before integrating it

Before you integrate a game within your training program, ask yourself these questions:

  • What purpose does the game serve?
  • Is it too easy or is it too challenging?
  • Is the points system / digital badge system too childish?
  • Is the game aligned with the final learning outcome of the program?
  • Do the game mechanics work perfectly?
  • Are the game elements visually aesthetic, and do they synchronize with the rest of the program?
  • Does the game reinforce the concepts taught in the program?
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If you are able to answer these questions properly and build your game around it; then it will truly benefit your learners, and help the organization achieve its employee training goals.
The next section will offer some more information on the different types of game elements that can be used in an eLearning program.

Game Elements that Make eLearning Engaging

  • Create visually appealing games

Your employees are adults and most of them would be people who might have played games on their smartphones or dedicated gaming consoles at some point of time in their lives. So do not create some kind of pale imitation of an arcade game that puts them off completely. Invest in designing visually appealing games.

  • Characters and avatars

By allowing your learners to assume the persona of a character or an “avatar” you are increasing the motivation for your learners to complete the game. Incorporate thoughtfully designed characters and avatars wherever feasible in your games.

  • Sounds, voiceovers, and narration

Have you ever wondered how Pixar and Disney movies have such a huge focus on sounds and voiceovers? These are used to narrate the setting of the movie and introduce us to the characters that we are going to see on-screen. Why should the premise of your games be any different? Learning online is an audio-visual experience and your gamified eLearning should also have relevant sound-effects, and a voice-over that narrates what the game is about and what the learners need to do to complete it successfully.

  • Progress bars and navigation panels

This is again a complement to our earlier aspect on writing clear instructions to complete the game. If your game involves the character completing several tasks or milestones during a journey, then incorporate a map with proper navigation details. Always integrate a progress bar and timer within the game to indicate the status of the game, and the time left for the learners to complete the game or task.

  • Scorecards, digital badges, and leaderboards

Ensure that there are scorecards that show the score achieved by the learners in the game. Offer digital badges for completion of each level of the program and a redeemable gift voucher on completing the entire program. You can fix a total score to be achieved and award learners who secure more than that score. This will work as an additional motivational factor for the learners to complete the program.

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Social learning is an interesting strategy that can be built into your training program. Allow peers participating in the same training program to challenge each other to complete levels of a program or a game and build a leaderboard within the system that showcases the score and progress of each learner. These are small things that go a long way in improving learner engagement, and providing an incentive for your employees to complete the programs assigned to them on time.

Is Gamification of eLearning a Remedy for all L&D Challenges?

The frank answer to this question is “No.” Gamification is not a magic wand that will completely change the way how your learners will access their learning. Addition of game elements will not ensure an improvement in the speed with which they complete the training programs assigned to them. Gamification is a learning strategy that can work in specific areas – employee orientation, product or sales training, communication training, culture sensitization, health & safety programs, etc. We have covered this in greater detail in an earlier blog post

Use gamification only when you think that it will help simplify a complex topic and explain it to the learners in a better way. Adding games in your training content as a token element will only backfire, and distract the learners from the actual learning content.  As an L&D leader, spend time with the employees in the organization, discuss with department-leaders in terms of what training the employees really need, and check if gamified learning can play a key role in it. Undertake this analysis before you authorize the development of a new training program or curriculum. 

To better equip you on gamifying your eLearning, we recommend further reading:

  1. Gamification as a problem-solving tool, and to improve learner engagement
  2. How can organizations capitalize on the many merits of informal learning to deliver specific knowledge and skill using gamification?
  3. Seven top gamification pitfalls to avoid, and
  4. The strategic advantage of gamification for product training.

Are you still unsure of gamifying your eLearning? Write to us at info@originlearning.com, to discover gamification strategies that would work well to address your learner needs. The ultimate gamification experience awaits you.


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