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A Winning Strategy: When to Use Gamification Methods in eLearning

The gamification market is fast approaching the $1.2 billion mark – and for a host of very good reasons. Many companies are adopting gamification as an effective method to engage their e-Learners in a creative, informal learning setting. And this strategy is increasingly important, as more employees than ever are working in remote environments outside the office.


Gamification itself means different things to different people. But perhaps the simplest definition for the eLearning world is the application of game-like elements into eLearning sites, content, or courseware. 


Creating content that is both informative and engaging is the tightrope often walked in eLearning. Incorporating gamification elements into eLearning experiences, however, can assist you with both. Some common elements of gamification applications and the new training method include: 

  • Levels: Learners unlock different course levels after gaining a set amount of points or completing a task.
  • Rewards: Learners are rewarded with items that might include badges, points, or levels that can be redeemed for tangible things like branded merchandise or other perks.
  • Points: Learners earn points as they progress through a course or unlock a particular achievement.
  • Leaderboards: Learners engage in healthy competitions between co-workers or teams as they work through a course. For instance, they can compete for points or badges.
  • Badges: Learners, like scouts, earn badges upon achieving course goals such as completing a module. 
  • Learner Interaction: Learners can interact with their co-workers or other participants via chat options in the course’s game etc.
  • Progress Bars: Learners can gauge their progression through a course with various progress bars.
  • Individual Profiles: Learners can create individual profiles with avatars that change and move as they progress through a course.  Avatars can be especially useful when company employees undergo new training at different levels. 


Successful learning is a combination of on-the job and real life experience, peer and role model feedback, and formal training. The challenge is to incorporate all of this knowledge into a positive eLearning experience for learners.

Gamification can be beneficial in this arena for a reasons that include:


Learners are creatures of habits who like to have choices. If they feel like they are being forced into a course, then they will likely skim through the process  or not complete it at all. Utilizing gamification elements, however, can alleviate this issue by giving learners choices. And with these choices comes a more fun, comfortable, relaxed learning environment. 


Along with engagement comes retention. If a learner is engaged with content, then they are far more likely to retain the information. 


Gamification, when applied properly, can present scenarios that easily translate into real life situations for the learner. For example, using game pieces to walk a learner through a company compliance course can help formulate on-the-job skills like strategic thinking or speed of reaction.


Learners can have instantaneous feedback on what they have done right or what they need to improve on. 


Gamification can be used for a multitude of learning needs like compliance, sales, product introduction, onboarding, and customer support.


Because of the versatility and many applications of gamification, this method of learning design is becoming increasingly useful in the development of training, skilling, and onboarding solutions. Gamification as a learning strategy is highly effective when the training must be engaging, motivating, and impactful.