Is gamification necessary for eLearning?
Gamification has become a popular component of many learning management systems in the workplace, but is it really necessary to promote effective eLearning? And if so, how much of a difference does it make when compared to non-gamified learning?
Gamification relies on game mechanics like points, rankings and leaderboards to make standard learning objectives more engaging and impactful. It should not be confused with game-based learning, where actual games are used to guide the learning or training process.
So just how effective is gamification for eLearning programs?
What the research says about gamification in eLearning
Research shows that gamified eLearning absolutely boosts employee engagement and overall learning.
- A 2014 review in Frontiers in Psychology concluded that gamification can help with workplace stress, team-building, loyalty and acclimating employees to rapid changes in the workplace.
- A 2019 study of gamification in higher education found that gamified learning led to better motivation and increased confidence in students.
- Researchers in a Spanish study conducted three learning experiments—two with gamified features and one without. The participants in the gamified experiments performed better—and the results were statistically significant. This lends credence to the notion that gamification supports better knowledge acquisition.
- Axonify has seen 15% improvements in participation when physical rewards are included as part of the gamified learning strategy.
Research proves that gamification works—but it’s only effective when it’s done well.
When gamification is not effective
Though there’s no denying the merits of gamification for employee engagement and knowledge acquisition, it’s not always a fit. For instance, it should never be forced on people as part of the eLearning strategy. Some people don’t respond to learning in a competitive environment, so they should have the ability to opt out of the game mechanics.
In addition, gamification should be objective and quantifiable. Gamifying in-person training can lead to resentment and disputes if you’re assigning scores and rankings to employees based on your observations alone. You want to use an objective learning tool like an LMS that provides gamified assessments and ranks employees’ results based on quantifiable metrics like quiz scores and participation rates.
How gamification fits into corporate training
Gamification has been an integral part of classroom learning for years, but many corporate L&D teams are only beginning to harness this effective tool for company training and employee development.
The psychology for corporate learning is the same as for classroom learning. Trainees are exposed to learning materials in a competitive environment that fosters team-building and triggers people’s extrinsic motivations (the desire for external rewards). As each employee achieves success within the gamified environment, they achieve a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that goes way beyond that initial drive for rewards.
If you want to train employees with the help of gamification, the best way is to use a learning management system with game mechanics built in. Axonify makes learning engaging by offering gamification within a social learning environment. Each user has control over the gamification features that they want to take advantage of.
So is gamification necessary for learning programs?
While it is possible to engage learners without gamification, doing so presents a huge missed opportunity. Not only does gamification add excitement to an otherwise mundane learning process, but the technology is readily available and easy to access. By neglecting to make it a part of your process (or at least giving your learners the option), you’re sacrificing a significant potential advantage.
Put simply, gamification is not a requirement—but it’s certainly a tactic that should be considered given the evidence of its impact in a variety of settings. Gamification works—discover how you can make it work for you.