10 Key Benefits of Gamification in eLearning
Gamification is not just about fun. Game designers and educationists in the present world are concurrent in their opinion that the use of gamification in eLearning is one of the best ways to maximize learner engagement.
Over the years, learning methodologies and techniques of students have changed considerably. Students in the present generation have shorter attention spans and need more effective tools to hold their interest. Gamification of eLearning courses is hence becoming more important than ever.
With simple techniques that effectively involve the grey cells, gamification techniques have been proven to be highly successful when it comes to education and eLearning. Making apparently mundane tasks fun and the ability to retain and translate the acquired knowledge are some key advantages of gamification.
The article here will present a deep understanding of the importance of gamification in eLearning courses.
Gamification in eLearning
When we talk of gamification and eLearning, we are basically referring to the use of the elements of a game or a video game for designing the learning courses for a subject. Game mechanics are used to make eLearning more appealing and effective.
So what are the common elements used in gamification in eLearning courses?
Some key features include:
- Scoring mechanisms or rewards
- Levels of learning which help in presenting the course in a staggered way
- Leaderboards which enable learners to choose their own approach towards learning
Games are naturally engaging. And it is no different when it comes to learning and eLearning courses. It is, however, necessary to remember some key gamification techniques before using them in an eLearning course:
- Use scoring mechanisms to motivate learners to build upon previously acquired knowledge and study diligently
- Use rewards and instant feedback mechanisms to keep the learner engaged and eager to learn.
- Use levels to create a sense of achievement amongst learners.
- Use of timers to bring forth the importance of time based and quick learning
- Use as many fun elements to draw the learners attention
- Give the learners multiple options to try out
- Provide lifelines to instill risk taking skills
Top 10 benefits of gamification in eLearning
Following are the top ten advantages on our list:
1. Makes learning fun
Learning, eLearning and work related training can be seriously exhausting as well as boring for people. This is perhaps the reason that these courses are always accompanied by a natural element of fear. More often than not, learners have a tendency to take a course as a gloomy experience that they must pass through.
This is the biggest reason that most learning courses end up turning counterproductive. There is no knowledge retention and learners hardly take back the information acquired through the course.
Gamification brings in the fun element within the eLearning courses. Making something fun by including elements of play is one of the best ways to create willingness amongst learners and keep them engaged for a longer duration. Additionally, gamification helps learners do things that they would not otherwise want to take up.
The theory is also supported by scientific evidence. Neurological science confirms that games and fun elements trigger the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine which is a stress buster hormone. The higher the levels of dopamine within the system, the more motivated and happy will the learner feel during the course.
2. Improves learning experience
Gamification creates opportunities for learners to associate with the content. This makes the entire learning process more effective while still keeping it informal.
Since the technique is based on getting the learners exciting and involved in the elements of the game, the knowledge acquired is easily retained. Various options like scenario-based games give the learners an experience of taking decisions as they move ahead. Since the knowledge comes through experience, it is easily retained.
Games that are relevant to real life situations and challenges offer more practical knowledge and create more knowledge retention.
3. Creates a willingness to learn
Games bring more value to an eLearning program than just “fun”. Gamification encourages learners to participate and creates a need and determination amongst them to take on the challenge.
Since gamification eliminates or minimizes the traditional style of learning, the results are often more effective. It creates a desire amongst the participants to get involved, feels challenged, and conquer the obstacles within the game. This, in turn, results in effective learning.
Designing an eLearning course around gamification techniques that involve challenges, rewards and feedbacks makes the program feel less stressful and more like a fun activity.
4. Builds learner motivation
One of the key techniques used in gamification is the reward system. Rewards help keep learners motivated and gives them a reason to continue participating at higher levels. Additionally, a learner easily associates rewards with the knowledge that they used to get it.
Human brain easily associated rewards with motivation. Rewards bring in a sense of achievement amongst the learners. Gamification in eLearning courses is based on keeping the learners motivated and engaged for the duration of the course.
5. Creates a platform for microlearning
Microlearning or nugget sized learning is the latest buzz in the eLearning world. Small packets of learning modules that can be taken up in a few minutes are extremely attractive to modern day learners. Millennials, with their short attention spans find it very convenient to take up these quick information sources.
Gamification in eLearning can create a platform for microlearning by focusing on micro-goals instead of macro goals. The small sized information nuggets help boost productivity, motivation and learner engagement.
Gamified rewards can also be used with each microlearning nugget to keep the learners engaged and willing to take on the next packet. Gamification is hence a wonderful technique to provide structure to eLearning courses.
6. Facilitates feedback based learning
Feedback is one of the most effective techniques used in gamification. This is what brings in constant improvements amongst learners.
Gamified eLearning courses use the technique of providing instant feedback to learners for a better understanding of the content. This helps learners self evaluate themselves and see how they’re performing during the stages of the course.
7. Prompts behavioral change
Positive behavioral change is the biggest challenge of an eLearning course module. Scenario based games help learners develop behavioral patterns that are required to take up a particular challenge.
Learners need to practice behaviors that are required to be demonstrated within a scenario. The likelihood of learners continuing to use behavioral change later on in their work life is high when gamification elements are used correctly.
Learners or employees can be given rewards at multiple stages- for learning to do things and also for actually implementing them in their work life.
8. Useful for varied learning needs
Gamification in eLearning can be used for multiple learning needs like induction training, soft skills training course, courses for customer support, sales and marketing courses, etc.
9. Helps in long term knowledge retention
Gamification techniques have been proven to be more effective in helping learners retain information. And it is true for eLearning courses as well. When gamification techniques are applied correctly to eLearning courses, it helps leverage people’s need for learning, competition, achievement, and expression.
10. Encourages teamwork
The use of gamification in eLearning programs help learners work toward common team goals or cooperate in a group to achieve a common target. This facilitates the environment wherein learners understand the value of teamwork.
Incorporating team based healthy challenges, team rewards/scores/badges, discussing team strategies, etc can help learners value the importance of group learning.
It is time to get serious about games! After all, gamification is not just about fun. It is about applying game-based learning to actual course objectives. And that is the ultimate objective of an eLearning program. Gamification is definitely the future of eLearning!