Applying Gamification to e-Learning

You’ve probably heard the term “gamification” in recent e-Learning discussions: at conferences, in training articles and blogs, and even across the web on your favorite social media sites. Your first instinct may be to associate this word with adding interactive games to e-Learning courses. Although this is one way to interpret it, gamification has multiple definitions and includes a number of possibilities for interweaving training with gaming.

Like you, we were curious to learn more about gamification and see how it can be used in an e-Learning context. Today’s entry provides two interpretations of the term and lists multiple ways that you can apply gaming techniques to your e-Learning courses and training.

Definition 1: The Gamification Blog sees gamification in its most literal sense: using games to teach materials to learners. In a recent entry, Gamification Roundup – January 23, 2012, the blog lists real-world ways in which businesses and educators are supplementing traditional learning techniques with games. For example, Extraco has an interactive game on their website that teaches visitors about their services and shows them ways to save money. Check out the full blog entry for more great examples.

In the context of e-Learning, you too can supplement training by adding games to courses. Specifically, Lectora® Inspire comes with interactive Flash games such as Bowling, Climb the Mountain, Golf and more that allow you to quiz learners in a fun way. The games are pre-built so they’re super easy to use, and you can add your own questions.

Definition 2: In Bersin and Associates’ report “Strategic Human Resources and Talent Management: Predictions for 2012,” gamification is defined in a different way. Instead of using “an entire game, you can “gamify” any learning program using the well known techniques of game mechanics.” In other words, you can apply gamification to e-Learning by incorporating simple gaming techniques into your courses.

According to Bersin and Associates’ report, examples of such gaming techniques include achievements, points, badges, quests, leaderboards and more. Keeping these examples in mind, there are endless possibilities for weaving these game mechanics throughout your courses to create a game-like feel without adding literal games.

How have you used games to pump-up your e-Learning? What creative ways might you use game mechanics in courses? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights – share them below!

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