What is Gamification in E-Learning and Why is it so Important?

Who doesn’t want to play a game at work or in school? Of course, life can’t be all fun and games, but when it comes to e-learning, games are all the rage. More specifically, gamification in e-learning is a popular and very effective learning technique. In fact, a University of Colorado study discovered that users of gamification during the learning process scored higher in both fact- and skills-based learning assessments. Gamification also helped improve retention rates when used in workplace learning.

Let’s break down exactly what gamification is and how to use gamification in e-learning.

What is Gamification?

The term gamification refers to the usage of the mechanics, dynamics, game thinking, and aesthetics found in games. The objective of this technique is to improve user experiences, as well as boost the motivation and engagement of the user. Because these techniques can blend fun with effectiveness, they’ve found a natural fit in e-learning systems. Gamification can help engage users, motivate actions, promote learning, and encourage them to solve problems. All of which can help the user understand and retain the educational material better. 

What are the Key Elements?

There are several design elements that suit the needs of gamification in e-learning, such as:

  1. Point systems
  2. Badges
  3. Trophies
  4. Customization
  5. Leader boards
  1. Progress levels
  2. Progress tracking
  3. Challenges
  4. Feedback
  5. Social engagement loops

All of these elements are intended to encourage the user to engage, boost both motivation and retention, and lead to an overall more positive learning experience. This technique takes advantage of the competition instinct most people possess and encourages productive behavior.

Why Does it Work for E-Learning?

A 2015 study in the Journal of Computer Sciences found that when gamification was offered in an online informatics course, students who enrolled in the gamification version of the course performed better and retained more than those who took the course without gamification techniques included. 

The learning process requires high motivation, which is something gamification design elements can assist with in e-learning systems. Gamification stems from the basic concepts of gaming. A game is a goal-focused activity with reward mechanisms in place, which is what makes playing them so satisfying. By utilizing gamification in e-learning, you can allow the user to undertake specific tasks to achieve a desired goal (which in this case is learning the material). Tracking and rewarding their progress is possible as well, which can help improve motivation and engagement. 

Widening Horizons

One way to create extremely engaging e-learning content is to make training materials available in multiple languages to accommodate your staff’s diverse needs. Allowing employees to learn in their native language can help improve retention and engagement, while simply making learning materials easier to understand and digest. 

When implementing gamification techniques in translated e-learning materials, it’s important to choose a partner with experience in the target language and the subject matter of the educational materials. Being familiar with how games and their mechanics work is important too. In this respect, experience with video game localization and transcreation are crucial to the success of implementing gamification techniques in e-learning materials.