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23 Effective Uses Of Gamification In Learning: Part 1

Promoting interactivity and increasing learners’ engagement, desire for achievement, and motivation are the goals of any eLearning professional. You can have all that by gamifying your eLearning course material. In this article, I'll share 23 powerful uses of gamification in Learning to show you how gamification cannot only enhance the learning experience, but also make it refreshingly colorful and appealing. This article will be presented in 2 parts.
23 Effective Uses Of Gamification In Learning: Part 1

How To Use Gamification In Learning: Part 1

One of the greatest quotes I’ve read about gamification comes from the book Theory Of Fun And Game Design by Raph Koster:

That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.

Indeed gamification, that is the use of game thinking and mechanics in a non-game context to engage learners in the learning process, has been one of the most effective learning methods for over 15 years now. Gamifying the learning experience increases learners’ levels of goal achievement, engagement, interactivity, and motivation; what more would any eLearning professional ask for? This is why we created the Free eBook: How Gamification Reshapes Learning, where 23 carefully selected gamification experts share their specialized knowledge on gamification, education, and business and offer their insights on the effective uses of gamification in Learning. In this article, which will be presented in 2 parts (check part 2 here), I'll share 23 incredible uses of gamification from this free eBook and, along with the following 23 gamification experts, I will insist: Let the game begin!

  1. Mimicking real life challenges with increasing levels of difficulty.
    "I am currently scoping a simulation for media planners in the television industry, where the learner becomes a media planner with an increasing portfolio of advertising to place in the TV-schedule based on rules and regulations of the company, how it was sold by sales team, as well as the industry standards. The journey and choices you make could have you promoted to specialist, generalist, team leader, or in the worst case scenario fined and fired. By introducing different challenges with increasing levels of difficulty you mimic the learning curve of a new employee and options the employees really have to make. The added bonus of an in-company game is that you can play against your colleagues and even your managers, which adds the psychological driver of peer pressure and team fun with visual scores and leaderboards."
    By An Coppens 
  2. Promoting social interaction and competition.
    "One of my favorite examples is from our own team’s work. Using gamification and the Microsoft Kinect, we developed a tool that enables patients recovering from strokes to practice relearning the skills they’ll use at home. By simulating the actual tasks they will perform in a safe virtual environment, they are able to return more easily to their usual daily routines. All of this is wrapped up in an immersive, engaging platform with a competitive social scoring system where users can earn badges and compare their performance to both to their own past results and to other users’ results."
    By Andrew Hughes 
  3. Improving an existing leadership training program.
    "I always remember a project for a Navy client who asked my team to explore the potential of incorporating gameplay into an existing leadership training program. Our project officially focused on creating a serious game to foster leadership skills of junior officer staff. The produced serious game was based on a collection of “sea stories” illustrating real-life leadership challenges and included a healthy combination of narrative, challenge, meaningful choice, achievement, and other great elements of gameplay. The game was very well received within the Navy and even earned several awards, which made my team extremely happy. However, what mattered most was the fact that, by way of this game, the existing learning process was transformed into a compelling, context-driven, self-reinforcing learning experience that allowed the learners to explore a multi-dimensional slice of reality instead of simply reviewing a case study book."
    By Anya Andrews, Ph.D., PMP 
  4. Adding gamification elements to learning for those with various learning disabilities.
    "I, myself, have Attention Deficit Disorder and along with other people experiencing the same issue have reacted positively to courses with gamification elements. Those of us who suffer from ADD or ADHD can get easily distracted from learning, because it can become a monotonous practice of regurgitating the information learned. By adding engaging elements to educational material, gamification significantly helps in capturing the attention of those that have a hard time focusing on learning in a normal setting. Not only is information retention increased, but adding these elements creates a positive association with learning, which is very difficult for those with attention disorders."
    By Austin L. Meredith 
  5. Using game-based simulations in corporate learning to improve job performance.
    "We provided online game-based negotiation training to a California-based agency that works with businesses to get their state taxes current. At the conclusion of the training, we conducted a group exercise, where each group was given a case study and was asked to create a solution. According to the training team lead, “Several weeks after the training, I received responses from several participants. Each said they selected cases other employees were unable to resolve, and using the techniques taught in the game, they approached the cases from an entirely new perspective. They worked with the business owner to negotiate a solution that allowed the taxpayer to resolve their issues, and the state to clear the account. In all cases, the taxpayer expressed satisfaction with the outcome”."
    By Bryan Austin
  6. Simulating reality in uncertain environments.
    "Experiential Simulations’ Entrepreneurship game Traction has gamification elements such as leaderboards, badges, competition, and feedback. Players experience a start-up environment both post and pre-revenue while maximizing the overall game score. Obtaining badges and other achievements within the game have a random element associated with them. This random element means that the reward isn't predetermined from a given set of actions, which makes the accomplishment more enjoyable. This mixture of randomness mirrors reality in startup environment. The entrepreneurial world is characterized by uncertainly, information deficits and randomness. Real world entrepreneurs tend to be extrinsically and intrinsically motivated. The struggle to succeed -despite many setbacks- typically requires a high degree of intrinsic motivation for an entrepreneur. Thus, Traction helps create this intrinsic motivation through the use of gamification elements."
    By James Bowen, Phd, PMP 
  7. Allowing learners to collect badges by completing certain courses.
    "Badges increase the learner’s overall rank, and unlock other more challenging courses. Now, learners have a clear picture of the path ahead of them and have fun along the way. The second moment of truth happens at the micro level, when learners experience their first learning event. At this level, a reward system provides guidance and engagement similar to the portal (macro) level. A sales course we recently developed had the goal of dispelling misconceptions about a product line: if learners could correctly identify the client’s misconceptions, they would earn a medal and unlock a humorous 3D animated video."
    By John Carlos Lozano
  8. Using game elements in a presentation.
    "First divide the audience into two teams and give them instructions on how to use their cell phones to text answers via an audience response system (I use PollEverywhere.com). Then, ask a question and have audience members respond to the question via a text answer. In real-time the learners can see their teams’ answers as a percentage of respondents for each choice versus the other teams’ answers. This allows learners to feel they are part of a larger social group (their team) and they are challenged to answer the questions. After all the audience responses are collected, reveal the correct answer. Whenever I use this technique, I find a great deal of laughter and fun during the presentation because the elements of games keep it fun as well as educational."
    By Karl M. Kapp
  9. Enabling learning in a forgiving environment, which allows for risk-free mistakes.
    "Recently we created a training course for a client that contained a number of legal terms that employees were struggling to digest. The gamified solution that we provided them with was an island where learners had to explore and complete tasks in order to be able to move to the next part of the game. The legal terms were turned into fun quizzes with visual aids to help learners remember what they had been taught. Finding all the vital information on this island required them to use their own initiative to figure out where to go and what to do next. As they completed the tasks, they were given immediate feedback, which encouraged them to continue to their quest."
    By Kirsty Chadwick
  10. Tapping into intrinsic motivation.
    "The most effective use of gamification in learning is to create an overall context and narrative, and then select the most appropriate game elements to create an immersive experience to take a player on a journey. My advice to learning professionals when working with software vendors, subject matter experts, Instructional Designers, and stakeholders is to take control over their project. This approach requires a systemic rethink and redesign of how we engage and motivate people to learn. A great start is to think of instructors as game masters and our learners as players, so we can begin to challenge traditional assumptions about learning and instruction to create better experiences for our learners."
    By Marigo Raftopoulos 

Want to know more? Read the second part of this article, 23 Effective Uses Of Gamification In Learning: Part 2, for 13 more fantastic uses of gamification in Learning!

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