Do you have an existing e-learning course? It may be possible to incorporate gamification into it, with just a few modifications. We offer some suggestions.
1. Inspiring goals
Epic games make it appear that every action taken and every level conquered is in the interest of a greater good. You can try that too! Open with a mission style goal for the course. It can be as over the top as you like, for a splash of humour. Don’t restrict the goal to something simple like ‘you will learn how to pitch the product correctly’. Go with something large and inspiring – how about ‘generate millions in revenue’?! Inspire learners from the word GO(al)!
2. Clear onboarding
Games tend to start off with action, while e-learning begins with a complex set of inputs to explain how to use the module. While it’s important at the outset to clarify the objective of the course, its outline, curriculum and methodology, don’t overdo it – the onboarding process needs to be short and to the point. Minimize explanations, but set up an induction module that learners can reference later.
3. Greater autonomy
There’s a tendency while designing e-learning courses to handhold the learner. Click here – then read this module – then read this PDF – and so on and on. This is in the interest of simplifying learning. But have you ever heard of a game doing that? When they gain autonomy, learners understand how to participate in the learning process themselves. This increases engagement and thus, improves all learning outcomes.
4. Small rewards and forfeits
No matter what the minor success – the learner logging on two days in a row, scoring above a percentage on an assessment, etc – ensure you provide small rewards for every minor success. It could be as simple as a gold star or gold coins redeemable within the LMS itself. Similarly, immediate forfeits for minor failures – such as slightly less time available on an assessment if the learner gets an answer wrong – have also been seen to deliver results in game-based learning.
5. Progress bars
Learners need to know where they stand, vis-a-vis their own previous knowledge level, the course, and other users. The user should be able to view their own scores and progress, as well as which percentile they fall into, within the class. As the user progresses through the course, consider giving them a single piece of a virtual puzzle. When they complete the gamified e-learning course, the puzzle is completed as well. This allows them to visually see how much of their learning has been completed at all times.
6. Up the stakes
Add a timer! Time pressure can build excitement to participate. You can also ask learners to guess what their score will be just before they take an assessment, then display guess vs reality. You could even replace the final end-of-course assessment with a boss battle, where every correct answer acts as a fireball hit on the boss and every wrong answer is a hit on the learner!
7. Put action first
Usually, e-learning courses start with slides of exposition where the context is set, a message from management is shared, etc. This reduces early engagement. Instead, with game-based learning, let learners take action as soon as the game begins; start off with a fun quiz, to build engagement and also act as a baseline against which the learner can track progress through the course.
This adds a little more complexity. Build a storyline for learners to participate in and play through. Allow learners to uncover new information as they move forward through the game. You can even hide Easter eggs! These special pieces of content of benefits can be hidden behind ‘question walls’ where the correct answer unlocks the new material.
This is probably the most important aspect of gamified e-learning. In a video game, you go through levels that are progressively more difficult, easing you into the game. Similarly, personalized learning paths present learners with content at the right level of difficulty based on their experience and previous scores.
At the same time, it’s important to keep learning at the center of the game. Do not lose track of the learning content while working on gamification, and don’t over-complicate the game-based learning process. Consult the e-learning experts at Hornbill FX today and let’s get started together.