Gamification is a big buzz word in the UX and online learning world. Many people get it confused with game design, which it is not. Game design is just that — the act of creating an actual game such as Sims or Angry Birds.Alternatively, the way we think of gamification at Extension Engine is to apply a design principle or mechanism to content in order to help drive learner engagement. In other words, applying game design mechanics into a non-game environment such as an online learning application or course.
Does gamification really help learners?
Over 75 percent of people are gamers (50 percent casually and 27 percent moderately to fairly often), so the features involved with gamification are familiar. These can be used to improve learning outcomes.
- Learners recall just 10 percent of what they read and 20 percent of what they hear.
- If there are visuals accompanying an oral presentation, the number rises to 30 percent, and if they observe someone carrying out an action while explaining it, 50 percent.
On the other hand…
- Learners remember 90 percent "if they do the job themselves, even if only as a simulation.”
- Almost 80 percent of the learners say that they would be more productive if their university/institution or work was more game-like.
- Over 60 percent of learners would be motivated by leader boards and increased competition between students.
- And 89 percent would be more engaged win an e-learning application if it had point system.
Although these stats are very promising, the other side of the coin will tell you that “gamifying" a learning experience is not easy, especially doing it successfully. Gamification in online learning has lots of complexities, high costs, and long creation and development times. Because of this, many think it’s not a viable solution unless you have a larger than normal budget.
Extension Engine has developed several gamified experiences in the past, for both educational and corporate organizations, that utilize many of the mechanics described in this post, including avatars, pathing, progress, rewards/badges, certifications and more.
As mentioned earlier, successful gamification in online learning is not about creating a game. Gamification employs the use of game mechanics (interactive elements) into the experience.
Here are some popular mechanics used to gamify learning:
Benefits of gamification in online learning
There are several benefits to be gleaned by gamifying your experience, which are detailed below. At the end of the day, they boil down to increasing engagement, creating challenges, providing a sense of accomplishment, and articulating progress:
Gamifications examples in online learning
We hope this has helped demystify the concept of gamification in online learning and has shed some light on the pros and cons. If you want to learn more about gamification in online learning, let’s schedule some time to talk.
Presently, there are many great gamified experiences across both the academic and corporate world. Below are a few gamification examples, my current favorites:
KnowRe is an adaptive math learning application. This gamification example helps students succeed in math by assessing, personalizing, and engaging students with game-like features and beautiful graphics along with a social learning component.
Duolingo is a free language-learning platform, currently offering over 68 language courses. Duolingo utilizes progress bars, strength meters, rewards, and daily challenges to help the learner become more proficient in the new language.
ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve the behavior of their classrooms in a fun and compelling way. In this gamification example, students are assigned an avatar that administers a reward or consequence, depending on their behavior and on goals that are set up from the beginning. ClassDojo employs a whole host of mechanics, including badges, levels, leaderboards and more.
McDonalds: Till Training is a gamified training experience to help cashiers use the register and improve their customer service delivery. It utilizes scoring, levels, challenges, sound effects, and other game mechanics to deliver a very addictive training experience.
LIFESAVER: Crisis Simulator is a simulator that uses interactivity and live-action film to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It’s a free app that works across all devices and employs a host of mechanics, including progress, stats, points, feedback and constraints to help deliver a very authentic life-saving experience.
Deloitte "Will You Fit into Deloitte" is an interactive video using gamification principles to help their recruitment efforts. This video is just one part of a gamified training course that embeds missions, badges, and leaderboards into the platform alongside video lectures, courses, and assessments.
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