Anyone who has been involved in eLearning over the last couple years has probably heard of gamification by now. For those of you who have not heard of it, gamification is essentially taking a conceptual piece of learning (module, course, quiz etc.) and incorporating it into a game-styled interaction. Or if you want the technical definition gamification is the “use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”.
Gamification has seen a massive rise in popularity in many sectors, but particularly in eLearning. One of the key reasons for this seems to be the massive rise in user engagement and knowledge retention when interacting with gamified learning. In 2006 a report by the Federation of American Scientists on Educational Games found that learners were able to recall only 10% of what they read and only 20% of what they heard. When learners observed someone performing an action whilst explaining it, this number rose to 50%. But learners are able to recall 90% “if they do the job themselves, even if only as a simulation”.
From this interesting piece of research, it’s clear that by integrating gamification into eLearning, we can improve the knowledge retention of learners. Gamified eLearning has the extra benefit for many people as they find games to be more fun than traditional learning methods. Meaning that in addition to being proven more effective, gamification of eLearning also makes the learning experience more immersive and increases user satisfaction. Increased user engagement will in turn improve performance in whatever the learning/training is trying to achieve and show a very strong and demonstrable return on investment.
So, how do we gamify learning content?
Gamification is an easy term to throw around, however what exactly would fall under ‘gamifying’ a piece of eLearning?
As mentioned earlier, gamification is the process of mixing game mechanics and thinking into traditional environments. It is worth noting that there are different levels of gamifying content – there is a definite range in gamifying content from one or two game elements (such as a scoring/points system), to more heavily or fully gamified portions.
For example, our VAT eLearning courses use several different elements of gamified eLearning, such as the use of levels and unlocking content, user scores, exercise achievements and badges that reward users for success in their interactions.
(A heavily gamified Titan Learning interaction)
The image above is an example where gamification has been applied to a standard memory VAT quiz; the aim of the VAT quiz is to test how well an individual remembers certain VAT terms. By adding game elements to the standard VAT quiz, the result is a scored ‘hangman style’ game that is more engaging and memorable for users, when compared to the original the standard memory VAT quiz. This has been empirically proven by testing our own user groups.
Gamification as a whole gives the impression of being a significant improvement upon conventional learning, which may explain the massive boost gamification has received as a concept. Only time will tell how integral gamification will be to the future of eLearning.
If you’d like to see an example of how Titan Learning uses gamification, try our featured example “VAT Hangman” and see how you score.