The gamification term has become popular over the last few years. Professor Werbach from Pennsylvania University defines gamification as, “the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts” (Gamification MOOC in Coursera 2015) . If you’re producing engaging elearning in my view it seems almost impossible not to be using at least some features of gamification.
I’m currently engaged in a gamification MOOC in Coursera, although I’ve participated in other gamification MOOCs, this one in particular encouraged me to reflect about gamification in my learning/elearning design.
I have been using gamification features in teaching and instructional design long before the term became mainstream. The reason for this is that gamification and good quality learning share many of the same features and foundations.
Here is a taste of what gamification and good quality learning have in common:
A business goal and objectives
Both should start with a well defined business goal and then specific objectives for how to meet this business goal. Solutions are built to achieve the business goal and motivate certain behaviours of the target audience or players.
Engaging and fun
To make a difference in learning design or gamification it is critical that the experience is engaging, fun, and memorable. Game theory examines and breaks down what fun looks like and how solutions (both gamification and learning) can utilise the different features of fun to get results.
Fun is important and makes life more enjoyable, but that’s not what it’s all about… it’s also about motivation. Both gamification and learning design address how the target audience (or players) can be motivated to continue the desired behaviour after the intervention has occurred. They both have strong foundations in motivational psychology to achieve better results for desired behaviour.
Practice, challenge and progression towards success
It’s not a single one off event but something more engaging. Having opportunities to practice and a sense of challenge and progression are valuable. How can you turn your learning design into an experience rather than an event?
Learning about gamification is a great way to refine learning design. So much scientific research has been done on motivation and how to engage people in games. Why not borrow these lessons learnt and apply them to learning design and/or other contexts.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about gamification and how it applies to learning design? Follow me to hear more.