An Introduction To Multi-Device eLearning Games

An Introduction To Multi-Device eLearning Games
Summary: eLearning games are a great way to boost engagement with your learners, but with the growing need for multi-device friendly courses, how can you make sure your eLearning games are accessible for everyone? This introduction gives you the best options for developing gamification elements and eLearning games which work on any device.

4 Ways To Create Multi-Device eLearning Games  

eLearning games are a proven way to increase engagement and get your learners more interested in your course.

If your eLearning is going to be deployed on multiple platforms then you need to make sure your games can be too.

Whether you’re going to be introducing gamification elements to your eLearning or a fully-fledged serious game, you’re going to need to make sure it’s multi-device friendly.

1. Gamification

Using game thinking to introduce gamified elements to your eLearning can be achieved in many ways.

Adding a points system and leaderboard is often best done at the Learning Management System (LMS) level, so having a Learning Management System that offers multi-device support means you’re all set.

Making your Learning Management System available on all devices could be as simple as using a responsive theme, one that adapts to the screen size and input methods of the devices your learners use to access it.

The top 3 LMSs by users are Moodle, Edmodo, and Blackboard, with a combined user base of over 100 million. All three have gamification features available and are multi-device friendly as standard.

They either offer native mobile apps for the major operating systems or a responsive theme allowing access via a web browser from any modern device.

If your Learning Management System is responsive you just need to add the leaderboard, badges, points, or other scoring system to have your gamified eLearning course.

2. eLearning Games In Authoring Tools

Serious games that focus on eLearning needs are one of the best ways to keep learners interested in your course.

Storyline 2 can be used to create interactions like drag and drop, matching, and other basic game style elements and build them into the course you’re creating. Currently, courses can be exported as HTML5 for deployment across multiple devices.

Articulate has announced plans to release a responsive mobile player for their content, which should act a lot like Adobe Captivate Prime’s fluidic player, allowing the same content to be viewed anywhere in a controlled frame rather than a browser.

Adobe Captivate includes several templates for interactions like Hangman and jigsaw puzzle-style games that can be used to include a basic game. With the new features Adobe introduced in Captivate 9 these interactions are available across platforms for mobile users as well as desktop.

Lectora also has games templates and you can create your own games within the tool using actions and variables.

Building simple game interactions is possible in most popular authoring tools, but it’s also possible to build fully featured serious games and include them in a course.

You can also use a fully responsive, HTML5 based framework like Adapt to crate your course. Starting with a responsive learning course makes it much easier to include game content that is built in the same way.

3. HTML5 Responsive Games

There are some techniques you can use for creating real games that work seamlessly in your eLearning.

If you’re using a framework which outputs HTML5 content then it’s possible to include HTML5 components, including games, in your course.

There are many different HTML5 game engines to work with if you go down this route, some of the popular options include:

  • Phaser.
    An open source framework for 2D HTML5 games, there’s an active community and plenty of tutorials to help you get started.
  • Construct 2.
    A user friendly interface allowing rapid creation of 2D games with output in various formats including HTML5 for the web.
  • Easeljs.
    Another open source project, it’s a good choice for developers who are familiar with Flash as it uses a similar API.

Amazon developer Jesse Freeman sets out four key requirements for creating a responsive game:

  1. Display.
    Game graphics and user interface supports multiple resolutions.
  2. Controls. 
    Game mechanics work across multiple types of input.
  3. Cross platform code. 
    Publish to multiple platforms with the same code base.
  4. Synchronized data. 
    Saved data is synced across all platforms.

Amazon has platforms that run on everything from phones to TV sets with all combinations of controllers that you can imagine.

The chances are that your learners won’t be accessing the course from such a huge variety, but these rules are a great place to start when you create your game content.

Synchronizing data across platforms becomes especially important when you’re tracking your learners’ game achievements in your Learning Management System. Allowing people to come and go from the game and not lose any progress is essential when promoting it as a mobile friendly option.

4. Multi-Platform Games. 

The next level in game design is a fully fledged 3D game engine which can publish to any platform using the same code base. Unity 3D is currently the most popular option for game developers and can publish your game to all major platforms.

The truth is, the majority of eLearning games will be built either within an authoring tool or using a more basic 2D HTML5 game engine. It’s a step up from the basic interactions you can achieve inside an authoring tool, offering a huge leap in terms of creativity.

Consistent Experience 

Whichever route you go down it’s important to make the game an intrinsic part of the experience. Building it with the same visual style and control methods as your course will mean a consistent experience for your learners.

With the extra creativity you have from a responsive HTML5 based game framework you can create much more varied and realistic games and simulations to compliment your eLearning objectives.