Gamification in learning has been around long enough for us to know the pitfalls - and yet many are still not getting it. Here are three things to think about when considering gamifying your learning.
It's not about getting learners to stay in the learning app for longer
Gamification can include giving awards and rankings to motivate your learners. The key to making this successful is thinking about what kind of behaviour you want to stimulate and then slanting your rewards in that direction.
For example, it's easy to add a badge that gives you points for watching 20 videos or reading 10 articles. And while your learners will undoubtedly pick up some learning from that, the behaviour it really rewards is simply spending more time in the app. The learning probably won't stick because that's not why they're in there.
This is a gamification technique lifted from the online gaming world. There's a lot to learn from that environment, but blindly copying all the techniques doesn't take into account the different things we're trying to achieve with learning, compared to the commercial side of gaming.
- You want people to remember what they've learnt.
- You want to change your culture to make learning an everyday thing.
- You want to promote social learning or peer-to-peer learning as well as top-down mandatory courses.
It's not about catching people in their down time
Don't confuse gaming with gamification. Casual gaming done in a few minutes of down time cannot easily be replaced by casual learning.
People are generally trying to relieve boredom, or clear their heads, or just relax and enjoy themselves in their down-time. This has been catered for brilliantly by specialised gaming companies who know how to grab their attention and fill that time. It's also true that this is not the best time to make people learn - they just won't have the mindset to retain the knowledge.
A better strategy is to aim for those times when people actually need what you're teaching, and make it available. Providing information at the point of need will give you a better-informed workforce. it will also change your culture to one where people know where to go for the help and learning they require, and go there enthusiastically.
It's not all about games
Gamification is more than just adding a game to your learning assets. Unless you have an unlimited budget, the game you create won't compete with the latest blockbuster Xbox offering. So after a cursory look, gamers won't be interested. And non-gamers probably won't engage at all.
Look at using gamification to change behaviours in all types of people. Most people like competing even if it's just with themselves. Build in competition elements and at the risk of repeating ourselves - make learning an integral part of the culture of your business.
Don't follow - Lead
We still hear people using gamification as a buzzword without thinking it through. Sometimes even keynote speakers at conferences will go down the same old path - "... give your users another badge for clicking thumbs-up on a video." Yawn.
Use Gamification to change behaviours. You'll get fantastic results and your learners will come to love learning.
We created Learn with Mobile to give learning providers and training companies an easy way to get to grips with concepts like this. Scott Bamford - our Technical Director - wrote a longer piece on his blog.
If you're looking to educate in a fresh, affordable, and rewarding way, check out fully mobile responsive e-learning solutions using Learn with Mobile. Get started for free right now, or call the Ambidect team on +44 (0)1260 221292 if you have any questions.