Gamified Online Training: 8 Misconceptions eLearning Pros Should Know

Gamified Online Training: 8 Misconceptions eLearning Pros Should Know
Summary: Can badges, points, and leaderboards truly enhance the value of your online training program? In this article, I'll explore the 8 most common misconceptions about gamified online training.

8 Common Misconceptions About Gamified Online Training

Gamified online training blends game mechanics and traditional eLearning course design to promote favorable behaviors. Employees have the opportunity to improve their skills while earning rewards or advancing to the next level. But is really all just "fun and games", as some might say? Or is gamified online training a cost-efficient, highly effective strategy for your organization? Here are 8 common misconceptions about gamified online training and the truths behind them.

1. Gamification Forgoes Formal Training For Entertainment

One of the widespread myths about gamified online training is that it puts entertainment above formal training. That employees get so caught up in the rewards and levels that they miss the point of the online training experience. However, this is not the case if you focus on the learning objectives and desired outcomes, and use the game mechanics only to support these core elements. For example, to reward favorable performance behaviors.

2. Any Incentive Will Suffice

You can just throw in a mix of badges, points, and other incentives to fuel motivation, right? This is quite possibly one of the most dangerous gamification misconceptions, as it renders the gamified online training completely ineffective. Different employees are looking for different incentives. This is based on their personal preferences, drives, and a variety of other factors. Thus, you need to know as much as possible about their backgrounds and needs in order to choose the ideal game mechanics. Selecting the wrong rewards for your employees could have a negative impact. For example, a majority of your staff are introverts. Thus, leaderboards won't appeal to them, and may even encourage them to disengage from gamified online training.

3. Gamified Online Training Is Solely About Competition

Gamification is often touted for its ability to spark friendly competition that drives employees to achieve their potential. However, it's not solely about our competitive nature. In fact, many employees strive to do their best because they have something to prove to themselves. They want to test their limits and show that they can earn that next badge or reach the point goal. It's not about vying for the top spot on the leaderboard or comparing their talents to those of their peers. Employees who are intrinsically motivated feel the need to fulfill their own potential. That is the hallmark of a truly effective gamified online training course.

4. Gamification And Serious Games Are Interchangeable

Contrary to popular belief, serious games are not the same as gamified online training. Gamification involves blending game mechanics into your eLearning course design, while serious games are independent learning activities that follow the traditional game format. For example, the main online training character must defeat foes at the end of each level to advance to the next stage. As a general rule, gamification is a more involved approach that pertains to every aspect of your online training program. Employees participate in online training activities, modules, and assessments in order to achieve the learning objectives and earn rewards, while serious games are usually a one-off online training activity that you can integrate into your existing online training program.

5. Extrinsic Rewards Prompt More Motivation

Employees are in for the gift cards and paid time off, right? Successful gamified online training courses don't rely solely on extrinsic rewards. Instead, they use these tangible incentives as a motivational spark to get employees involved so that they experience the benefits firsthand and become intrinsically motivated. Extrinsic rewards are not a long-term solution but a springboard to help employees find their footing until they understand the importance of intrinsic motivation.

6. Game Mechanics Are The Star Of The Show

Awarding badges, points, levels, and other game elements is not the primary purpose of your gamified online training course. Instead, the main aim is to give employees the resources they need to improve their productivity and proficiency. You need them to use all of the skills and knowledge at their disposal to do their jobs effectively. That is why you've invested so much in your online training program. Game mechanics are there to support these desired behaviors so that employees achieve the best results. As such, you need to start with the learning objectives and then consider how game mechanics will pave the way. For example, how will earning a badge help your staff improve their task performance?

7. Mature Corporate Learners Won't Enjoy Gamified Online Training

Everyone enjoys a good game every now and then. Just like everyone likes to be rewarded for their efforts. Gamification isn't just for younger learners who have grown up in the digital age. In fact, gamified online training courses appeal to employees of all ages because they cater to their need for recognition and personal satisfaction. Even mature learners enjoy gamified online training courses that allow them to realize their full potential while earning rewards. That said, you may need to include online training tutorials or walkthroughs for employees who are less tech-savvy. For example, those who are new to the world of eLearning and may not be familiar with the LMS.

8. Audience Research Is Optional

Some people mistakenly believe that any gamification strategy will do. That a one-size-fits-all approach will help them achieve their objective because everyone is driven by the same needs and motivating factors. But that’s far from the truth. Audience research is mandatory, especially if you want to create personalized gamified online training courses that engage your employees. Conduct surveys, interviews, polls, and observations to learn as much as possible about your employees beforehand.

Hopefully, this clears up the misconceptions surrounding gamified online training. The simple truth is that gamification can bring a variety of benefits to your online training program. It motivates employees, boosts morale, and even makes the online training experience fun and engaging. Thus, you may want to consider it for your next online training course.

Do you want to make sure that your gamified online training course will be a success? Read the article 8 Secrets To Gamification Success In Corporate eLearning to discover 8 insider secrets to create an effective gamification strategy.