Designing A Gamification Technique: High Ideas
Elements of the design of a gamification strategy
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Your time … ..starting … ..NOW!
Of course I am not serious. But turn back the clock ten seconds and think honestly for a moment – wasn’t there a part of you who was all but ready to read this article at a speed fast enough to blow a bullet shame? I am willing to bet it was like that. Thanks to the incredible human impulse to take on a challenge; to reap its fruits or just bask in the glory of having “defeated” it. It is this very human impulse that gamification taps into and makes every banal process exciting and much more convincing.
In the learning process, especially in eLearning, gamification can not only provide the much-needed fascination and excitement, but it can also vastly improve the learning experience, making it fun and even addicting. Much has been documented about the myriad benefits of gamification, including statistical data showing that gamification dramatically improves motivation and knowledge retention. So instead of trying to sell gamifying your workout, let’s examine the actual process of how best to achieve this.
How to Create a Successful Gamification Strategy
Know your audience
Despite all the exemplary statistics on gamified learning, there is no guarantee that a gamification strategy will work for all demographic learners. A solid gamification strategy must therefore start with knowing and understanding the target audience. Factors such as average age, job description, technological knowledge and even cultural aspects play a decisive role in choosing the right solution.
Look at the content
In addition to the target group, the right gamification strategy largely depends on the knowledge material and content. While it has become a common practice to convert the content into your average-rated and / or timed rating questions, albeit wrapped up in an outlandish playful activity, not all types of content may or should be treated as such. In some cases, the content may warrant multiple views, revisions, and largely keeping it in its original format. An alternative in such cases could be gamifying the learning path, or in other words, the learner’s progress in navigating these materials. It is never a good idea to fit the content into a given gamification strategy. Rather, the content itself has to dictate which strategy would be right for it.
Ready-made game routines tend to be too familiar, causing learners to lose interest soon enough. Your gamification strategy should allow the learner to control some elements of the experience. Options to select individual avatars, roles, environment settings, etc. are a good place to start. You can also think about offering trade-off options that can make the experience more interesting and ultimately more rewarding. Sacrificing points for clues, being able to choose more points initially while giving up a “life” are just a few examples of such tradeoffs. Using branching scenarios is another way to let learners make important decisions and then show them the consequences of those decisions. Whichever strategy you choose, the end goal is to ensure that each learner has a different experience than the other based on their choices.
It can help your cause to group multiple gamified courses under a common theme or story arc, or even with common characters. Learners tend to be more involved in subsequent “episodes” of the overall narrative, as they feel engaged and naturally want to continue researching with great enthusiasm. However, in order to be so interconnected, it is important that the various courses have a common business goal or similar learning objectives. Continuity must also be maintained within a single course. The idea is to make the learner feel that the learning experience is a continuous, cohesive journey.
Give constant feedback
While in some cases delayed feedback and satisfaction may be thought to be more helpful, a gamification strategy is best when the learner feels that their learning experience is “alive” for lack of a better word. Constant feedback in the form of hints, tips, comments and recommendations gives the learner the feeling that he is talking to him, which increases his engagement. You should also continue to reward learners with motivational feedback elements like badges, trophies, leaderboard positions, and so on. Remember, however, not to over-reward them, or you risk trivializing the rewards themselves.
Make the start
The final crucial element in designing a good gamification strategy is not to make it monotonous. Gamified solutions often let learners do the same thing over and over over several rounds / levels. This is getting old pretty soon as the novelty wears off. You need to raise the bar for difficulty and challenge with each new phase of the solution. You can also introduce newer environments, newer tinkering features, and even newer types of rewards.
Put these gamification strategies right and you will have an effective gamified solution for your learners that they will love to experience. Gamification shouldn’t be about winning, losing, or being the best right away. Instead, a great gamified fix is more likely to involve multiple iterations to “get it right”. It keeps the learner yearning for more.
Harbinger Interactive Learning Pvt. GmbH.
Harbinger Interactive Learning is a global design and development company specializing in eLearning modernization, learning experience design, and custom eLearning solution development.
Originally published on harbingerlearning.com.