Gamification in E-Learning: 5 Main Principles To What Not To Do


Gamification in teaching strategy allows you to intensify the educational process in the company and achieve better results through higher employee motivation and engagement levels. It increases individuals’ interest in certain subjects, improves knowledge retention, and helps learners to assimilate information better. 

For an entrepreneur, the request to implement gamification looks slightly different than the average developer. In most cases, it all starts with opportunities to create new user shopping habits. And the most influential and motivating aspects of buying classes can be just the elements that simulate the gameplay. Plus, rewards are the best way to improve the interaction experience. In this case, the company becomes easier to track the actions of visitors and gradually form their habits. For example, it will likely become commonplace after trying a feature three times. You can implement the Dictionary feature in the sidebar and make it a necessary part of the study experience. In doing so, this feature will contain a game element. In the learning process, a person will have to use it several times anyway before it becomes a habit and a targeting agent. Accordingly, the more interest and hype on the training, the more earnings - this is what encourages brands to adopt this technique in their organizations. But along with their effectiveness, online learning tools may provide some drawbacks. This article will highlight and help to avoid some of them while implementing a gamified platform in your company.

Table of Contents

Undefined emotions, motivation, and outcomes

Poorly designed UI/UX elements

The single-point unoptimized strategy

Mismatching of capabilities and expectations

Using gamification as the primary teaching method

The Bottom Line

Using gamification in online education, teachers evoke learners’ emotions - both positive (like engagement, joy, inspiration) and negative (anxiety or frustration). So, selecting the right strategy is essential for the best user experience. Here are some tips on how to implement gamification in training and generate good impressions and outcomes.

Don’t concentrate on quantity

While integrating game mechanisms into educational content, you should understand that “more” is not necessarily “better.” Quality must be ensured first of all. So it would be useful to make gamified software testing and find out what elements work well and delete extra ones. Training, optimized for the target learner base, will reduce confusion and contribute to motivation and easy studying.

The open-source learning management systems are free, so having some technical skills or using a third-party developers’ service, you can experiment with various mechanisms for implementation (badges, participants’ ratings, progress bars, etc.)

Avoid unclear conditions

Whether you provide badges, point systems, leaderboards, or challenges in gamified online training courses for employees, make the rules and objectives clear. Participants should understand their tasks and rewards to be motivated to reach the best outcome. They should know how to learn, grow, get points and top up their ratings. If you suggest real-world rewards, like travel opportunities or participating in international business events, then a prize visualization will be an excellent motivation for learners to improve their results.

Don’t let negative emotions impact learning

There is a risk of aggressive customers’ reactions to rewards, which depend on course completion. As a result, learners feel like the program controls their training path, decreasing motivation. Instead, educators should encourage participants for their performance with e-learning gamification elements. Thus, competence rewards will positively influence the customers’ behavior and induce their immersion in the topic.

As gamification techniques for corporate training cause extrinsic motivation, they can also become a  source of anxiety due to employee competitiveness. So the developers should balance learners’ disturbance and rewards to boost a competitive instinct. Such tricks as personalized assistance tools will calm down the participants’ excitement and redirect emotions to achieve a better result.

Thus, properly directed e-learning industry gamification generates enjoyment and deep involvement. And moderating negative emotions allows one to reach an excellent outcome. Still, there are other factors we must avoid while creating online courses. So let’s get familiar with them.

Don’t underestimate the power of design while creating online courses with gamification. It greatly impacts users’ experience (UX) and determines whether a program, e-learning PWAs or a native app succeeds or fails. When it comes to UI, even tiny details are critical. So the MPS editorial board decided to share the most common mistakes you should avoid while developing an interface:

  • Inconsistent elements. Using too many styles on the page can disorientate users and complicate the process of data perception. Elements within the chosen color palette, line thickness, button forms, icons, etc., should stay consecutive.
  • Primary and secondary items (text, buttons) look the same. It would be better to differentiate hierarchy with visual weight: bold letters, intense colors, big images for the essential elements, and the opposite for the minor ones.
  • Low contrast visual composition. Use a color wheel to find the best combination to create an online course with gamification. Avoid smooth transitions for call-to-action elements and separate different data sections. It can make the page dull and hard to perceive.
  • Irrelevant images and bad iconography. Blurred photos, unclear icons, and wrong sizes can create a bad customer experience (CX.) Instead, you should use high-quality content and vector graphics to ensure the best page performance on any device.

A good UI design plays an essential role in creating gamification for e-learning because clients should easily navigate the pages and clearly understand what each element is responsible for. In addition, a provided mechanism should help to make the studying process faster and comprehensible, not the opposite. Finally, with a perfectly designed UI, educators can teach their employees and rely on e-learning application monetization, which can recoup their investments. 

Back to the topic, there are still several issues you should consider combining gamification and e-learning, so keep reading to know the complete set of warnings.

Benefits of Using Mobile Apps in the Education Sector

Gamification in online education shouldn’t represent the one and only approach for raising learners’ engagement. Instead, you should consider the main goals that the courses follow and define which digital elements will help to achieve them (not negatively impacting results.) So, let’s figure out which gamification tactics for training could harm your plans.

Short perspective

An educational process with newly integrated performance rewards and leaderboards can be very attractive at first glance. But learners’ interest may wane over time. Planning a few steps further will help to avoid losing engagement in the gamification teaching method. It’s better to start with simple attempts in your curriculum, not going too deep from the first days. Make sure your content is appropriate for the audience. Keep an eye on whether innovations motivate people, and make timely adjustments in your course performance to engage more customers.

Overemphasized rewards

People shouldn’t learn just for a reward. The process should be interesting by itself. Moreover, funding big rewards can be too costly for a business. The other reason to avoid expensive prizes is the wrong motivation. Learners may start cutting edges to pass the training faster. So educational quality can be doubtful in this case.

Alternatively, you can provide cost-free prizes, such as a recommendation from a top manager on LinkedIn, lunch with a CEO, or other non-material but very creative ideas. What is essential - is their direct relation to the business.

Top performers celebration only

What is gamification in e-learning definition? It’s about the team, its common goals, and achievements. So, all the training participants should be treated well. The best employees should stay out of the crowd, for sure. Still, it’s important not to forget about the others. Sometimes, the team spirit can provide more efficiency than a few people with high rates.

A competitive environment brings productivity, but sometimes it’s vital to slow down and measure some approaches. You’ll know why in the next chapter.

Everything Personal: Making the Most of Personalized E-Learning

Not all innovative ideas should be immediately reflected in e-learning gamification. How to define the boundaries? First, you should ensure the target audience can easily percept your materials. For example, don’t implement complicated gaming elements and rules while developing training courses for older learners. Wisely used technology will help you to make the conservators’ educational adventure smoother. 

Knowing your customer’s specifics and challenges can be enough to pick the right toolset and gamification strategy for e-learning purposes. Also, as we said earlier, performance rewards shouldn’t be too expensive (even if you can afford them) to surpass the training process. Educational content should remain the king, while social mechanisms, like points and leaderboards, only engage the audience and make its path more effective.

benefits of gamification in elearning

Providing gamification in staff training and business development, you should keep content in focus. Some entrepreneurs try to build their courses around the gamified structure, while the process should be quite different. Point scores and participants’ ratings perform just as tools, allowing to measure learners’ progress and effectiveness.

Gamified details shouldn’t distract from the training material but encourage to study diligently and equally with the best performers. You shouldn’t provide gaming elements not connected to the learning topic. In this case, courses transform from educational to recreational.

You can find companies that have successfully implemented gamification in their academic programs: Duolingo, Khan Academy, and Quizlet.

Hopefully, this article will help you build a powerful course for business purposes. The described principles will be useful in organizing and executing e-learning strategies in the company. In addition, you’ll provide extrinsic motivation and satisfaction to learners, resulting in better engagement and knowledge retention. The target audience specifics, simple rules, and equality are the primary factors educators should consider using gamification in training.

A properly designed e-learning curriculum is a great way to help individuals acquire the necessary knowledge and motivate them for a perfect result. And even competitive anxiety can be transformed into the learners’ capabilities activation in this case. Entrepreneurs can implement gamification in various goals where a need for a high engagement level is essential.

Appropriately provided, the educational process with interactive elements can bring the desired results. Undoubtedly, it can create a positive customer experience and grow their engagement level. However, gamification can count as successful only when it improves learning outcomes.

E-LearningNovember 8, 2022
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