When used right, gamification badges are one of the most effective tools for learner motivation and engagement. After all, receiving a badge and being honored is something we all love, irrespective of our challenges and work environments.
Gamification badges, medals, trophies or rewards are a recognition of the commitment that a learner puts in to achieve a set target. Using one at an appropriate level motivates the learners to work for the next challenge.
The article details out the objectives of having gamification badges, different types, and some tips to use them effectively.
What are gamification badges?
Gamification badges are essential gamification elements that symbolize rewards given to learners for their achievements.
Whether you’re an employee who hit the sales targets or a trainee who aced a job skill, gamification badges help the learners feel recognized for their efforts.
Badges act as a target setting as well as a recognition device that motivates the players to work hard towards the gamification objectives. The prospect of earning more badges is recognized as one of the best player engagement tools.
Letting the learners know that their efforts are noted and appreciated helps them move towards bigger learning challenges.
Traditionally, point-based marking/grading systems were used to measure a learner’s achievements and success. However, most trainers and educators agree that badges and virtual reward systems work better when it comes to learner engagement.
When devising a gamification plan, it is important to note that badges should be incorporated and used at appropriate stages. Acquiring badges should not be the only objective of the learners. Instead, the purpose of using gamification badges should solely be to motivate learners to further their learning levels.
Appropriate usage of gamification badges is a key factor in estimating the success of the plan.
Learner commitment and types of badges
So how can you include gamification badges in a learning environment?
Badges should ideally be tied to the commitment level of the trainees/learners. A learner should hence be rewarded not just for a level of achievement but also for the extent of efforts that they put into a learning schedule.
Following are some key types of gamification badges commonly used:
Basic Badges: These are the most commonly used ones and are in the form of emblems that are rewarded to learners achieving the easy/basic targets of the game.
Achievement Badges: Going a notch higher, these are rewarded to learners for completing complex targets within a gamification procedure. Achievement badges are also rewarded for first-time events like a trainee making their first successful sales deal.
Awards: These are given in recognition of exclusive one time efforts. Learners completing an entire training module, for example, can be given an award for completion.
While these are some basic ways of categorizing gamification badges, as a trainer, it is important to keep incorporating new concepts. Other badges identifying the progress of learners, or their extra efforts in completing a task, or even efforts put in for working as a team can be separately recognized as badges.
Tips for using badges to motivate learners
Following is a compilation of some brilliant proven tips to keep your learners engaged:
1. Use all types of badges
The aforementioned section gives a hint of the types of gamification badges commonly used by educationists and trainers. Each category is used to recognize a particular type of learner behavior.
Irrespective of whether you’re rewarding our learners with basic badges, achievement badges, awards, or other innovative examples, it is important to link the badges to a definite learning objective.
Incorporating all types or as many types of badges in a learning module helps the learners feel motivated for every single effort they make.
Badges could be in the form of simple emblems or even printable certificates that learners can be rewarded with. Trainees can achieve badges for all types of positive behavior including simple efforts as well as completing complex tasks.
Game administrators need to strategically decide the objectives as well as the actions that they want to promote and reward. The target should not just be about completing the course, but to encourage the learners to maximize their efforts at each step.
2. Makes badges meaningful and relevant
Everyone loves recognition, rewards, and badges. Every single badge that you receive is valuable.
However, as a game administrator, it is important to ensure that all the badges are linked to crucial learning steps and are absolutely meaningful and relevant.
Badges that are too easy to come are often not appreciated enough. This is one of the most common gamification mistakes that trainers make. Ensure that the learners put in the required efforts to earn a badge.
Additionally, badges should also be linked to the level of difficulty of a task. A more complex task should be recognized with a more valuable reward in order to sufficiently motivate the learners.
3. Link badges to goal setting
Badges are not just a means to reward efforts but are also a powerful goal-setting tool. They help in guiding the learners’ interaction as well as motivating their development by the training content.
Ideal badge levels should be intriguing and make the learners excited to earn more. With a complete list of badges that can be earned during the complete training module, the learners get encouraged to collect more.
However, it is important to carefully study various gamification techniques to ensure that you do not over-emphasize the badge systems. While earning badges is closely linked to employee engagement, it is not the only objective of gamification or learning.
4. Customize the badges
While the article enlists the key types of badges that educationists and trainers commonly use, it is important to let your imagination run and put efforts to personalize the badges.
From getting innovative about the levels at which you want to award badges to designing the badges the way you want, everything is up to you.
A stunning image that motivates the learners to earn it, or makes the owner proud of wearing ids the main trick here. Adding other details like badge type/level, name, description, etc can also be done.
Make sure that the badge design reflects the gamification goals and mission as well as the efforts put in by the learners to achieve it.
5. Promote healthy competition
Finally, the ultimate objective of putting in efforts to earn a gamification badge is to know how you stack up against competitors.
While gamification is definitely not just about competing, healthy competition is the key to success. Badges should be sufficiently attractive to tap into the learners’ competitive instincts. For example, a learner acquiring the maximum badges gets the top slots on a leaderboard which means extra recognition amongst peers.
Final Words: At the end of the day, gamification is intended to enhance a learning experience while creating meaningful engagement within the learners. While badges are one of the most effective gamification techniques, it is important to understand the thin line that stands between rewards and recognition.
While gamification badges are definitely about rewards, emblems, and certificates, the objective and intent should always be focused on recognizing the efforts put in by the learners at each step.