Gamification Mechanics – What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Gamification is one of the most popular trends in eLearning. Gamification increases learner engagement, makes eLearning fun and interactive, improves learner’s knowledge absorption and retention and enhances the learning experience for learners from all age groups. eLearning professionals, L&D (Learning and Development) professionals, as well as learners that have experience with gamified eLearning courses would have heard the term “gamification mechanics” a lot of times in passing. But what does this term mean and why is it important? In this article we’ll discuss the same.

Gamification mechanics, also called game mechanics or verbs of gamification are actually the elements that are used in an eLearning course to gamify it. These include the actions, control mechanisms and processes that are usually found in games, which help put the learner in the middle of the action as well as restrict them in certain ways in order to create a challenge. The term “mechanics” refers to how anything (in this case a game or gamified eLearning course) operates. Different publications list different number of gamification mechanics, but there are 7 key gamification mechanics which are recognized globally and used the most often. These include:

  1. Points
  2. Badges/Achievements
  3. Levels
  4. Progress bars
  5. Leaderboards
  6. Rewards
  7. Learner Interaction

Let us discuss these gamification mechanics in detail:

  1. Points

Well, it wouldn’t be a game without a scoring system, would it? In case of gamified eLearning, learners should earn points by progressing through a course or by unlocking achievements. Points should also be tied to either a reward, badge or an achievement itself. Points are also often used to level up (by collecting a certain number of points), to appear on leaderboards or as currency in the game to buy badges, rewards and other in-game items.

  1. Badges/Achievements

Badges are usually awarded when the gamer/learner achieves something, and are thus, usually linked with achievements. Badges are usually displayed alongside a learner’s username, in leaderboards or any other places in the LMS (learning management system) where usernames are displayed. Badges boost learner ego, and let learners boast about them in front of colleagues.

  1. Levels

Most games have levels. A ‘level up’ occurs usually when a gamer/learner gains a certain number of points, completes a task, unlocks an achievement or reaches a specific stage in the game or course. Leveling up also usually means that the course or game is about to get harder. It also means the introduction or unlocking of new opportunities, new skills, new learning material or new modules or courses.

  1. Progress Bars

Progress bars give the learner a visual indication of how much of the course they have completed, and how much of the course is still left. Progress bars should be visually appealing, and should move smoothly with animations after every progress.

  1. Leaderboards

Leaderboards are one of the most important gamification mechanics, as they propagate healthy competition. They are basically tables with the names of top 10 (or top 20) highest scorers in the game/course. Leaderboards are used to display learners with the most points, most badges, most progress, highest level. Top scorers gain the opportunity to boast in front of their colleagues, but could also gain a badge or an achievement.

  1. Rewards

Rewards could be anything from points, badges, levels, appearances on leaderboards, the advancement of a progress bar to even branded merchandise which are offered when the learner either accumulates a certain number of points, reaches a particular level, progresses to a certain stage in the course, or passes an assessment or evaluation.

  1. Learner Interactions

Interacting with other team members is something that has become a prominent feature in a number of games recently. Interacting with other players/learners can be a really powerful motivator, whether they are cooperating, competing, discussing new skills and new ideas, or just showing off their accomplishments. There should be a chat option in the game/course, and learners should also be encouraged to discuss courses on office’s social media groups or personal groups.

In order to integrate all of the above mentioned game mechanics in your eLearning course, you require a powerful LMS. That is something that should be kept in mind when going for gamified eLearning courses.

 

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How To Use Gamified Microlearning Activities To Boost The Impact Of Your Corporate Training

Gamified Microlearning Activities: How To Boost The Impact Of Your Corporate Training.

In the last few years, you would have seen two significant trends in online corporate training:

  1. A Wider Acceptance Of Gamification For Serious Learning
    Today, the use of gamification cuts across most of the corporate training needs ranging from induction and onboarding, soft skills training, professional skills training, application simulations training to compliance training.
  2. An Extensive Adoption Of Microlearning
    From its early avatar as performance support or just-in-time learning aids, today microlearning based training is being used across the majority of corporate training needs. It is being used to offer formal training, and it continues to be the preferred choice for job aids/learning aids. It has also made inroads into supporting ILT/VILT.

With the maturing of these techniques, a logical extension is to leverage on the combination of both approaches.

In this article, I outline one of the ways through which you can use the combination. I outline how you can use gamified microlearning activities to boost the impact of your corporate training.

Before moving on to the specifics of the combination (gamified microlearning activities), let me outline the strengths of microlearning and gamification techniques for online training.

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is short, focused, bite-sized training that is typically 2-7 minutes long. It is not eLearning lite. Instead, it is designed to be a nugget that meets a specific learning outcome.

The microlearning nuggets can be designed to be consumed as a stand-alone nugget (as a job aid/learning aid designed to help learners at the moment of their need), or as part of a learning path featuring several such nuggets (typically for formal training). The microlearning nuggets can also be used to support ILT/VILT programs.

Microlearning is typically offered in the mobile learning format (although, it will support other devices too), enabling learners to consume the learning on the device of their choice and on the go.

It features high-impact, engaging formats notably, animated videos, interactive videos, infographics, interactive infographics, and so on.

What Is The Relevance Of Microlearning Today?

The primary trigger for the adoption of microlearning was the need to meet the challenge of diminishing attention spans. But, this is not the only factor in its favor.

As we see a change in the pattern of how learners want to learn, microlearning based training provides a great way to match the learners’ preferences to learn.

  • It resonates with learners on account of the fact that it can be consumed on the go, and it will help them achieve a specific learning goal.
  • In a world where we need to multi-task all the time, microlearning based training can be consumed in the midst of other commitments.

What Is Gamification And The Value It Brings In For Learners And Businesses?

Gamification is the use of principles and key elements of gaming to deliver the required learning objectives.

Unlike traditional eLearning, the operative words in this approach are “fun as you learn.” Driven by a narrative, the learning path is interspersed with learning assets, challenges, levels, instant feedback, scores, badges, and leaderboards.

A highly engaging approach, gamification for serious learning helps L&D teams achieve learning outcomes through a more engaging journey. An effective gamification strategy provides higher completion rates as well a better recall and retention. It can be used with equal success to apply the learning at work as well as help learners upskill.

What Are The Benefits Of Gamified Microlearning Activities?

Gamified microlearning activities are one of the approaches that can help you leverage on the combined value of gamification and microlearning.

They offer the following benefits:

  1. Gamified microlearning activities are aligned to the 70/20/10 model of learning. You can use microlearning gamified activities for formal training, for performance support (just-in-time learning aids), and to facilitate proficiency gain. The nuggets can be designed to offer highly experientialtraining. You can also leverage on social or collaborative learning.
  2. Gamified microlearning activities offer short, focused tasks leading to learning, problem-solving, application of learning, practice, proficiency gain, and so on.
  3. Gamified microlearning activities offer high engagement as they provide a highly relevant and immersive learning experience. As a result, you will see:
    a.  Better completion rates
    b.  High retention and recall

How Can You Use Gamified Microlearning Activities To Boost The Impact Of Your Corporate Training?

I recommend a simple 3-step process that you can use to leverage on the combined power of microlearning and gamification.

Step 1: Identify The Microlearning Nuggets That Can Be Designed To Deliver Diverse Learning Outcomes

You can use them to offer the following (individually or in a path where you can combine one or more):

  1. Theory
  2. Practice
  3. Application
  4. Testing
  5. Collaborative learning

Step 2: Depending On The Nature Of The Learning Outcome, Design The Nuggets In Different Formats

For instance, you can have different categories based on what you want to achieve. These could include nuggets that learners could use to:

  1. Watch and learn
  2. Practice
  3. Test their knowledge
  4. Explore (curated to enhance learning or look at related information)

Step 3: Combine Gamification And Microlearning Techniques

The combination of gamification and microlearning techniques can be done in multiple ways.

I am outlining 4 examples that show how you can use gamified microlearning activities.

1.  Offer A Personalized And Gamified Learning Path

Microlearning nuggets can be woven into a highly relevant and personalized learning path. You can either gamify the learning path or have individual nuggets that feature gamification.

This example of gamified microlearning activities features:

  • A personalized learning path.
  • All microlearning topics have points associated with each of them.
  • A dashboard is accessible to the learners to view their progress through the topics and their performance in achieving points, badges, and expertise levels.

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2.  Gamified Incentives To Enhance Performance

The gamified learning journey can offer a personalized performance indicator that can aid learners to focus on further improvement. You can nudge the learners to achieve this through gamification elements (points, badges, and recognition).

This example of gamified microlearning activities features:

  • An emotion meter and stars achieved at various stages of the gamified activity.
  • Through the performance indicator, the required cues are provided to learners on the improvement areas so that they can gain more points and achieve badges.

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3.  Real-Time Feedback And Gamified Assets As Recommendations (Based On Learner Behavior) Can Help Learners Improve Their Performance

In this endeavor:

  • The remediation or reinforcement nuggets can be offered in a microlearning format that can be gamified.
  • The challenges can be offered as microlearning nuggets that have gamified scenarios and assessments.
  • The practice sessions to improve the skills can be gamified microlearning nuggets (can be offered in a stand-alone mode or connected through a gamified learning path).

This example of gamified microlearning activities features:

  • A microlearning based learning path consisting of various types of nuggets, including gamified practice activities and scenarios.
  • It also offers recommended learning nuggets based on learner performance/behavior.

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4.  Curated Assets With Gamified Incentives

Besides offering the microlearning nuggets for formal training as well as job aids or learning aids, you can also offer curated assets. To encourage learners to go through them, you can use gamification elements such as points and badges.

This example of gamified microlearning activities features:

  • Curated assets that provide more information and deeper knowledge on the topics covered in the main learning path.
  • These too have points allocated to them for completion and adds to the overall points tally for the learner.

gamification-and-microlearning-techniques-img8

As you would have noted, the combination of microlearning and gamification in the format of gamified microlearning activities can be used in many ways to boost the impact of your corporate training.

In this article, I have touched upon a few facets of how you can leverage on this combination. In this endeavor, you are limited only by your imagination.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/how-to-use-gamified-microlearning-activities-to-boost-the-impact-of-your-corporate-training/

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Recommended Research: Constructivism & Learning Technology

Last week, we had an awesome virtual class on how to implement an effective gamification strategy within a corporate learning environment!  Here is the recording and slideshare.

In class, we briefly touched on some learning theories and research related to constructivism and the effective use of technology, games and gamification within the overall learning environment.  I’ve been reading a lot of articles recently that relate to constructivism, and some of our attendees were interested in receiving a list of those resources.  Below are a few reading suggestions.

I’ll create more recommended reading lists, so follow me if this sort of thing is useful to you.  The next blog posts will probably be devoted to virtual and augmented reality resources.  (If you haven’t checked out the crazy cool VR features in Adobe Captivate 2019, please take a look!)  I will also post my own summaries of select articles over the next few weeks.

Please add your own suggested reading articles in the comments section!

Here are three introductory level readings that are great as starters:

A great explanation of what constructivism is, what helps us learn, and what learning truly is.

An in-depth look at the learning process from beginning to end, including how to use educational technology (and how not to use it), and the importance of social learning and collaboration.

An overview of the types of educational technology available for use in the learning environment, as well as a historical perspective of how that technology has evolved.

I just finished working my way through the below articles, many of which are referenced by the above chapters, and cross-referenced amongst each other:

  1. Shaffer, D. W., Squire, K., Halverson, R., & Gee, J. P. (2005). Video games and the future of learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 87, 104–111. Google Scholar
  2. Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets of potential: Using mobile technologies to promote children’s learning. New York, NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Google Scholar
  3. Thomas, M., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace. Google Scholar
  4. Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2), 16–30. Google Scholar
  5. Vavoula, G., Sharples, M., Lonsdale, P., Rudman, P., & Meek, J. (2007). Learning bridges: Mobile technologies in education. Educational Technology, 47(3), 33–37. Google Scholar

More articles and article summaries coming soon.  Please follow my posts if you’d like to see more!

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Free eBook – Game Changer: Game-Based Learning And The Future Of L&D From The Engagement Experts

In most cases, nowadays, you can’t blame the learner when a training program is not providing the expected results. You don’t need a whole eBook to tell you that modern learners are of a certain good level, and have proven their ability to educate themselves. What you need is what Growth Engineering is offering right here; a load of information on why game-based learning is important and how, when, and where to implement it to get the results you’re aiming for. Read it and your perception of training will be forever changed. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.