Effective Learning Games Boost Engagement Of Your Workforce
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How Learning Games Boost Engagement Of Your Workforce

An effective learning game can be much more successful than a traditional eLearning module. Learning games are more interesting and interactive, so they capture learners’ attention and help them retain information better. Serious games have a huge potential to create engaging learning that allows users to solve problems through practice. This is true for K12 learners as well as corporate learners. But creating an effective game-based training requires rethinking the learning objectives and designing the experience in a way that is highly immersive. This is where game mechanics and gameplay elements come in.

So, what makes an effective learning game? Here are 5 elements that will help you create an unforgettable game-based learning experience.

1. Relevant Context

In a learning game, it is important to integrate learning and play. The experience needs to involve more than just clearing different levels in the game. Your learner should be mastering training goals simultaneously. For this to happen, you must capture relevant context from the learner’s work environment. Only then will they be able to make a connection between the learning and their job role. For example, if you want to train your salespeople on merchandising, consider using images or a 3D rendering of the store for the background environment. The game could require learners to complete tasks they perform in their job, in addition to fun puzzles or strategic activities.

2. Plot And Aesthetics

A story or plot makes the game more interesting and memorable. Include a backstory in the rules, and then unfold the plot throughout the game. You can consider using thematic elements or a narrative thread to convey the story as the game progresses. Learners find it easier to remember concepts if it is explained through a story. Make sure you use characters that are believable and with whom the learner can identify. Visuals are powerful tools to keep your learner hooked to the game. Aesthetics are as important in learning games as they are in entertainment games. Try not to cut corners with aesthetics if you do not want a negative impact on the learning game.

3. Challenge

Your learning game must pose challenges to the learners. It is inherent to human behavior to be intrigued by challenges we encounter. Focus on fixed, clear goals that are relevant to your learners. The level of challenge should be just right. This is a thin line to balance on. If you make the learning challenges too easy, your learners have a tendency to get bored and quit. But, if it is too complex, your learners may get frustrated and give up. The trick is to design the game to be just right so your learners will enjoy it and learn from it. In most cases, your target audience will have a blend of novices and experts. One way to deal with a mixed group is to keep the initial challenges easy and increase the complexity gradually. That way, both groups have something to look forward to.

4. Rewards

When there are challenges, there will be rewards to follow. Learning games are built to motivate the learners with the help of rewards. However, make sure you reward the relevant behaviors. Learning designers often motivate learners by providing badges for completing a section with a certain proficiency. That way, the learners are motivated to move ahead. However, if you award points for every activity the learner does, the exclusivity may diminish. Instead of points, you may also consider rewarding the learners with extrinsic benefits outside of the game like a gift certificate, a catered lunch, and so on.

5. Feedback

In an online learning game, the feedback should be instantaneous. Immediate feedback encourages your learners to perform better. Make sure that the feedback you provide your employees is focused on the performance in the context of their job role, not just within the game. It must clearly explain why that is a wrong move and what impact it can have in their real life. For example, if the learner makes a mistake, then the feedback should explain the consequence it may have in their work-role in real life. That way, the learners will find the content relevant.

Games can teach a variety of skills. Learning experts from top organizations are investing in game-based training to keep their employees engaged. Built effectively, these learning games can be immensely successful. Our Instructional Designers and gamification specialists at Designing Digitally, Inc. use themes, gamification, stories, and interactions to create custom training courses. To review examples review our case studies or contact us today!

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