Why it’s important that gamification features aren’t deterrents
Gamification is a powerful tool for engaging students and improving learning outcomes. However, some features can be off-putting. For example, confusing goals or objectives, constantly comparing student performance, or complicated design can frustrate users and hinder their motivation. But why is it so important for eLearning gamification features to be encouraging? In addition to motivating students to continue their studies, gamification should help them retain knowledge and increase their overall satisfaction. Most importantly, when gamification features are truly beneficial, they help students achieve better results in the real world. Let’s dive into what gamification features you should look for so you don’t discourage your students.
8 gamification features that are not demotivating
1. Clear goals and objectives
One of the most inspiring features of eLearning gamification is clear goals and objectives. Students need to know what they are expected to achieve and how to achieve it. The goals and objectives of any game you decide to implement into your eLearning platform should be created with SMART criteria in mind. This means they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. When your students have their goals planned, they are more willing to work toward them.
2. Meaningful rewards
Rewards serve as motivation for students to complete tasks and achieve the above goals. However, rewards that are too easy to obtain or that have no connection to the purpose of the game or the story can be off-putting. Rewards should be challenging enough to motivate your students to try to win them, but also aligned with practical outcomes and goals. For example, is a certificate of completion more beneficial than a badge for students who need to demonstrate mastery of a task?
3. Monitoring progress
Students should be able to track their progress and see how far they have come without being overwhelmed by what lies ahead. For example, a progress bar is encouraging, while a visual representation of what they haven’t unlocked can be demotivating for some. The platform must provide students with feedback on what they need to improve, but without stress. For example, create a map that includes stops along their personalized learning journey so they can get a better idea of what they’ve achieved and what’s next.
4. Balanced public leaderboards
A leaderboard that is available to everyone can cause students to lose motivation. For some, it creates a sense of comparison and discourages students who are not at the top. This means that leaderboards that level the playing field can spark some friendly competition. For example, many leaderboards don’t show student scores accurately because they include performances regardless of when people started using the platform. So you can consider different rankings for different stages of the employee journey or specific courses, especially if they cover a longer period.
Gamification should involve collaboration and social interaction. Students can work together to achieve common goals, share ideas and knowledge, and provide feedback. This creates a sense of community and increases motivation to learn. To add these features, try using discussion boards, chat rooms, and team challenges in the game.
6. Fun and interactive design
Your students must be able to enjoy the learning experience and feel motivated to continue engaging with it. Try adding gaming elements to your eLearning courses. These can be avatars, 3D animations, sound effects and virtual reality (VR) elements. All of this will keep your students engaged as they learn and keep them coming back to your lessons again and again.
Personalization involves tailoring the learning experience to each individual’s needs, preferences and learning styles. Specifically, you can customize the learning path of each person in the game, customize the platform algorithm, or use personalized on-screen feedback. This will encourage students as the experience will be more relevant to their goals, niches and interests.
8. Choice of difficulty
Challenges and difficulty are essential features of eLearning gamification that can increase student motivation. Your students should be able to feel challenged to expand their skills and knowledge at all times during in-game learning activities. However, the challenges listed should be reasonably difficult. So allow users to choose the difficulty level. If the challenges are too easy, some students may become bored and disengage. On the other hand, if they are too demanding, students will most likely be discouraged or simply give up.
Things to consider when using Gamification
It is important to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of gamification elements in your eLearning courses. One way to do this is by analyzing performance data. This may include tracking completion and participation rates and checking the general performance and assessment of your students. By comparing performance data before and after implementing gamification, you can determine if it has a positive impact on learning outcomes. Similarly, student feedback can show you whether the process is effective so you can make improvements and adjustments. Collect them through surveys, quizzes or discussion groups.
Regardless of which eLearning gamification features you implement in your lessons, you must ensure that they do not compromise the privacy of your students. Some of the features above require personal data, so the way it is collected, used and shared must be transparent. Because you don’t want this data to be vulnerable to unauthorized access or hacking, you need to have some security measures in place. Your eLearning platform should also give learners the option to opt out if they ever feel unsafe.
Some of the above features of eLearning gamification may turn off some students, especially those who face accessibility issues. As an instructor or course designer, you should provide different means of representation, such as audio or visual options. Additionally, you can offer alternative gamification activities that cater to different learning needs and disabilities.
Gamification can improve training outcomes and keep your students fully engaged. However, care must be taken when implementing it so as not to discourage and overwhelm them. Follow the above strategies and send your students without forcing them too far out of their comfort zone when it comes to privacy and competition. You can also check out our list of Top eLearning Gamification Companies to find the right outsourcing partner for your eLearning program.