Wikipedia defines Gamification as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”. While Gamification has been applied in several domains, our focus has been on its application in learning. Research certainly confirms the advantages of learning through Gamification. Let me share a case study that compares the gains in learning achieved through serious game concept vs a traditional eLearning approach.
Wikipedia defines Gamification as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”. As per Wikipedia, “Gamification techniques strive to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism or closure. Gamification strategies include use of rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks or competition to engage players. Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar or providing the user with virtual currency. Making the rewards for accomplishing tasks visible to other players or providing leader boards are further ways of encouraging players to compete”.
While Gamification has been applied in several domains, our focus has been on its application in learning. The games that we design are therefore geared to meet definite learning outcomes and our Gamification strategies broadly map to:
Research certainly confirms the advantages of learning through Gamification. Let me share a case study that compares the gains in learning achieved through serious game concept vs a traditional eLearning approach.
We had to design a quick online training for Project Managers who were being groomed to handle Account Management practices. The course on Account Management Fundamentals outlined the basics of account management and more specifically, what they must do to move their organization up the value chain.
The learners needed to understand two aspects:
First approach (traditional eLearning based)
The first solution was in a traditional eLearning format. To get the online training quickly off the ground, we used the Articulate Presenter based approach to present the basics of Account Management. This is what the first version of the course looked like.
Gains and challenges
The initial mandate was to quickly train the Project Managers on the essentials of Account Management and this was met.
However, the feedback from the learners was that they need specific cues on how to accomplish each step to move up the value chain.
Second approach (serious game based)
We reworked with the revised learning mandate and now chose a Gamification approach.
This approach met the mandate and the serious game concept enabled the learners to handle the real life challenges in an engaging and immersive format. The ongoing updation of the question bank and their randomization kept them intrigued and also enabled them to continuously hone their skills.
We are currently working on the next update to the same course with Avatars (featuring two profiles-entry level and seasoned professionals). At the start of the game, learners need to select their profile type so that the scenarios and questions can be personalized to their profile. The lifeline feature as well as access to an expert to provide important cues has been factored for the entry level profile. On the other hand, the second avatar (featuring a seasoned Project Manager) would deal with more tricky situations and will not have access to the lifeline or expert’s guidance.
I hope this case study was useful. Do share your observations and your success stories for Gamification in learning.
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