Gamification is the process of using game mechanics and game thinking in a non-game context, like e-Learning courses. Gamification is a great way to make online training more interesting and engaging for users. People have a natural need for competition, rewards, recognition and advancement which makes e-Learning a great platform to incorporate gaming elements and take advantage of those needs.
Bill Jamison and Karin Ewing, e-Learning Instructional Design Managers at Cincinnati Bell, presented on gamification at the 2013 Lectora User Conference with “Level Up: Using Video Game Design and Mechanics to Increase Interactivity.”
Want to try gamification in your own e-Learning courses? Story-driven gaming typically revolves around a few key elements:
- Protagonist, Antagonist and Journey
The protagonist is a character that is relatable to the learner. The antagonist is the struggle or situation the learner is trying to overcome throughout the course journey.
- Power Ups
Power ups are tools or abilities designed to help your protagonist on the journey. To the learners, they represent mastery of knowledge, so they can keep track of how they’re progressing throughout the course.
- Level Variables
Level variables are a series of variables tied to the completion of each Chapter (level). Action groups and triggers can be used to reveal power ups as they are earned. These power ups are initially hidden at the course level and “earned” via a trigger on the last page of the level.
- Easter Eggs
Easter eggs are hidden gems like cheat codes in games and clickable items in content that encourage users to slow down and explore the page and find rewards. Easter eggs can help prevent users from simply clicking through the information.
Mini-Games are another awesome way to add game elements to your e-Learning course without the need for elaborate designs or complex variables. They’re a good technique to break up text-based quizzes, include engaging videos and audio, and provide a mental break while adding in some fun. Gamification is a great way to make online training more interesting and engaging for your users, so take advantage of it!
Christie Wroten graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in English and Writing. When she's not writing about e-Learning, Christie enjoys traveling or playing piano and guitar.