Game Over: 4 Gamification Mistakes

4 Gamification Mistakes
Summary: Gamification is a popular trend for e-Learning right now. But if your learners are disinterested, unfocused or not learning anything valuable - it may be GAME OVER for your e-Learning course.

4 Gamification Mistakes That You Should Avoid

GAME OVER- it’s the dreaded end to a video game, blinking at you in red as your character falls off a cliff or lies defeated at the feet of your enemy. Whatever the situation, a GAME OVER message is bad news bears. Even though you won’t actually get a “GAME OVER” message of failure on your finished project, you want to avoid creating an unsuccessful game-based online training course. So how do you prevent a GAME OVER disaster of a failure in your course?

Here are 4 Gamification mistakes that signal game over:

  1. You added too many rewards.
    If you reward every little accomplishment in your game, your learners will think it’s easy and won’t take it seriously. Instead, choose rewards for specific checkpoints, so your learners feel like they’ve accomplished something big. Spacing out rewards also gives learners something to work toward. If you’re worried that you’re not giving enough feedback with rewards, check out this post with other ways to let your learners know how they’re doing: 4 Tips to Give Helpful Feedback to Your e-Learners
  2. Your game doesn’t fulfill learning objectives.
    The goal of an e-Learning game is to teach your employees something—it’s more than just a fun break from the workday. Ask yourself what your employees will learn from your game. If that doesn’t match up with the objectives you defined at the beginning of development, it may be game over for your course. Need help writing objectives? Read this great blog post: 4 Tips for Creating Effective e-Learning Objectives for Yourself.
  3. The game focuses only on competition.
    Competition is an important element in gamification, but don’t forget about collaboration. One way to incorporate both in your e-Learning game is to put employees on teams. This way, you’re encouraging employees to work together, as opposed to an “every man for himself” environment. In addition, be careful how you reward individuals, so you don’t destroy morale. Try to reward teamwork as opposed to individual accomplishments. For more ways to encourage employees to work together, check out this blog post: Top 3 Informal Learning Tips.
  4. Your game mechanics are faulty.
    If your game mechanics don’t work smoothly, your learners will be confused. Make sure you user test and evaluate elements like time limits on a player’s turn, chance that determines the outcome of an interaction, risk and reward actions and resources. If anything seems frustrating, take a look at your game mechanics, and see where the problem is. Learn more about user testing and course evaluation here: How to Evaluate Your Online Training Course.

Avoid these mistakes to prevent a GAME OVER disaster in your next e-Learning game! To read more about gamification, check out this blog post: Is Gamification More Than Just a Buzzword?