Gamification is a theme that often intimidates both the e-learning newbie right through to the seasoned expert. In the past decade, the perception of the type of person that plays games has changed drastically. The average age of the gamer now 31. Over 74% of teachers now regularly use games within the classroom. And 52% of gamers in the UK are female.

For HR Managers, L&D professionals and training experts, the challenge is how to implement gamification effectively.

How do you "gamify" an existing piece of content? How do you decide on the delivery method? What are the limitations?

Below are some top tips on how to take your games-based learning to ‘the next level’.

Get Creative!

One of the biggest reservations our clients often have is coming up with the idea or the concept. Without knowing what’s possible, it can be difficult to know where to start. Our advice is to dream big! Start with your best idea and work from there. With an ever-increasing range of tools at our disposal, the opportunity is there to create characters, scenarios and environments that deliver a more immersive and engaging experience than ever before.

Getting the Gameplay Right

It’s crucial to ensure that the game isn’t too easy but also isn’t too difficult, either. Users are very quickly switched off if they feel that they can’t play the game properly, so it is crucial to make sure the learner feels comfortable with the format. Adding instructions or a demo before starting the game is always a good idea. Similarly it doesn’t hurt to keep some things hidden or to let the learner explore a little before revealing the correct answer or information.

Simplicity Works Too!

Remember Flappy Bird? In 2013 the game created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen absolutely exploded and sent droves of people crazy as they tried to navigate a bemused looking bird over a series of pipes. The message here is that often the simplest format can still be engaging for the learner. From a learning perspective the key is to ensure is still contains learning objectives and achieves the desired outcomes.

It’s A Social Experience

Both Sony and Microsoft have gone out of their way to make their consoles more social than ever. Why should e-learning be any different? Scoreboards, leader boards and the ability to communicate with peers are all elements that are becoming more commonplace with games-based modules. Adding these elements boosts uptake, encourages collaboration and also brings in an element of competition, which works particularly well for some learning material.

Reward the Player

People like their efforts to be recognised and gamification is no different. Having milestones, levels and goals all help the learner to feel a sense of progress. Having trophies, badges and using ‘easter eggs’ all contribute towards a positive and gratifying learning experience. A sense of achievement can go a long way in building an employee’s confidence in their own ability.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Learning

Developing a game simply for the sake of developing a game does not create effective learning. All too often content is forced into a pre-existing game format with little to no explanation for the learner. The result is an experience that feels disjointed and confusing for the learner. Building a game organically that focuses on the objectives and reinforces the learning is a far more successful method. The end product will be far stronger, much more enjoyable and have a positive impact on your learners.

Junction-18 have over twelve years’ experience in developing games-based e-learning. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you implement gamification for your organisation, give us a call on 0141 248 8851 or e-mail info@junction-18.com

Posted by: Nick Ramsay