Why Your Online Training Course Development Needs Gamification

Why Your Online Training Course Development Needs Gamification
Summary: Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users' self-contributions. In this article, I'll highlight why we need gamification for our online course development. And I have started this with a young girl example.

Why We Need Gamification For Our Online Training Course Development

A young girl sits calmly with a tablet in her lap. On the screen, small cartoon fish swirl about in a pattern. Smiling, she puts a finger on the screen and the fish begin to coalesce into alphabet characters.

This girl is learning two valuable lessons. First, she’s mastering the alphabet, a tool that will help her communicate, love and express herself for the rest of her life. The second, and the reason she’s learning these characters before anyone else in her kindergarten class, is the power of gamification. Gamification is a process that incorporates game mechanics into learning and accelerates the learning process while improving retention.

Gamification has been around for as long as people have played learning games in class, rolled the dice in trivia games or even thrown spears through rolling hoops. But gamification, as terminology and in practice, is seeing a revolution with the advent of eLearning. Its introduction has meant big advances in classroom education and even bigger advances in workplace training.

Maybe it’s time that you incorporated gamification and took your safety training courses online! Here are 5 reasons why you should.

  1. The game of life.
    Gamification has been improving performance for a lot longer than many people realize. Many jobs utilize the motivation of awards and gamification. A firefighter is motivated to save lives, certainly, but in many ways being a firefighter isn’t that different from any other job. Promotions and increased salary are all part of leveling up, and excellence in service is often recognized by awards. Firefighters take part in annual games to showcase talent and improve skill. It’s only logical that we incorporate motivation and natural drivers of behavior into learning and working environments. Humans of ages past learned from first-hand experience. Sitting in a classroom and staring at a blackboard is far from stimulating or natural to the way we learn effectively. Thanks to gamification, we can find ways to make learning fun.
  2. Serious learning can come from games.
    War games are called games for a reason. By practicing routines and tactics that may later save lives, soldiers ensure that muscle memory will kick, later, when the stakes are lethal. Some games, like the ancient Mesoamerican’s version of racquetball were played with the highest stakes of all. Participants entered play knowing that if they lost, their lives would be forfeit to ritual sacrifice. These and many of life’s other activities display game-like qualities—it’s just natural human behavior.
  3. Traditional rewards don’t motivate people as well.
    It’s hard to motivate people. Sometimes traditional rewards don’t cut it. Pontification, gamification nasty little brother, is responsible for a lot of boredom and dissatisfaction in the workplace. Pontification is when rewards are applied to boring and disinteresting activities, like putting a gold sticker on a difficult essay. The gold sticker doesn’t make the essay anymore fun. Gamification incorporates game-like activities into the process of learning, like a child tracing fish to form letters. By making the activity fun, we improve the satisfaction of performing it. In psychology, this is called the Over Justification Effect—when external incentives that have nothing to do with an activity, like points for completion, can actually decrease a person’s motivation to participate.
  4. What’s wrong with winning?
    Learning to win and learning the behaviors associated with winning are important, whether we’re at work or in the classroom. Sometimes playing games, chasing promotions and incorporating a little fun into your learning can be exactly what helps to win out over boredom.

Sometimes the payoffs can be pretty extraordinary. In 2011, computer gamers helped scientists solve a problem that had stumped them for over a decade, and they did it in only three weeks. Programmers gamified the problem by creating an interactive, online puzzle that replicated the protein folding of a virus critical to the progression of AIDS. How many other seemingly impossible problems can we solve through gamification?