From Zero To Hero: TalentLMS Gamification Part 1

Play With The TalentLMS Gamification Engine And Go For Gold

One of the many things that TalentLMS does well is making it easy to get started with eLearning.

Whether you are a veteran of corporate online training or a total newbie (as the youngsters call it), you can create your courses and have them up-and-running in no time. You don’t even need to install anything; being Cloud-based, TalentLMS only requires you to create your administrator account and you are good to go.

In our latest series of TalentLMS-focused articles here on eLearning Industry, we have been covering the (slightly) more demanding options available. You know, the kind of stuff that TalentLMS users might be intimidated by, such as adding your own domain, custom portal styling, and leveraging the REST API.

This week, we’ll talk about TalentLMS’ Gamification options: what they are, what they cover, where to find them, and how to take advantage of them to make your courses more engaging.

Are you ready to play along?

From Games To Gamification

Games are fun. And not just for children ― otherwise sports, game shows, board and card games, etc. wouldn’t be adult pastimes.

So, everybody loves games. That’s a fact. What people don’t particularly like is anything that feels like work. Ask any student, anything that feels like studying hard is not a favorite.

The brilliant idea behind Gamification, then, is to inject some gaming elements into work and study to make them more entertaining and more engaging.

Used since forever in traditional education, Gamification proved especially effective in software form -- which is why all kinds of LMS platforms have rushed to adopt it. But while all implementations share a similar approach (which we will describe in the next section), not all are created as flexible as TalentLMS’ Gamification options are. But I got ahead of myself.

TalentLMS Gamification Elements

Gamification in eLearning can take many forms, from subtle competitive elements all the way to educational software that is otherwise indistinguishable from regular video games.

But while the latter might be great for younger learners, when it comes to general-purpose LMS software, especially one meant for corporate training, it’s usually constrained to a certain number of techniques that are simple to understand and deploy, unobtrusive, and have been shown to perform well in increasing learner engagement while keeping the focus on learning.

TalentLMS’ gamification engine comes with full support for the major, and most commonly used, of those techniques, including Points, Badges, Levels, Leaderboards, and Rewards. Let’s see what each of those entails:

Points are TalentLMS’ way of keeping score and letting learners compete in their training. They are like test scores, but apply to the whole progress of a learner, across lessons, tests, and courses, and can even count things as learner attendance (with e.g. points awards for each TalentLMS login).

Badges are visual stamps that get awarded on certain achievements, and that can be displayed on the learner’s web page header and profile page. Badges are more specific than points (each represents a specific achievement, such as passing a course), and become increasingly difficult to acquire as the user progresses through their training.

Use Badges In Your PortalLevels are conceptually quite similar to army ranks: a hierarchy through which users steadily climb upwards and which affords them certain powers (namely: letting them unlock certain courses).

TalentLMS has all learners start on Level 1, and allows administrators and instructors to configure the minimum level needed for unlocking any particular course. Learners are then shown an "Unlocked on level X" tag alongside any course for which they aren’t yet allowed to enroll.

Leaderboards are the TalentLMS equivalent of a "high score" table, listing leading learners as ranked by various metrics (Points, Badges, Certifications, etc.). TalentLMS Leaderboards show the best in a particular ranking, as well as several learners below and above the current users -- ensuring that the learner gets a good overview of their relative ranking.

Using Leaderboards with TalentLMS

The last, but not least, TalentLMS Gamification element is the Rewards feature, which is where the stakes get real. See, where the other gamification elements only track virtual glory, Rewards allow learners to convert those virtual achievements into more tangible things, such as discounts.

While Rewards might not translate very well to a corporate setting (though, they could, in a future update, translating e.g. to a small bonus, an extra day off, or something similar), they are a great fit for commercial eLearning use cases, which is another area TalentLMS is heavily used for.

Your Game, Your Way

The real power and elegance of the TalentLMS Gamification engine is that it offers endless possibilities for combining and configuring those five gamification elements to suit your particular needs.

You can enable some, all, or none of them, configure how they operate (e.g. configure the occasions on which Points are awarded, or when a learner should be upgraded to a higher Level), see Gamification-related reports, and manage them at various levels (e.g. being able to reset gamification statistics for particular Groups or Branches).

There is also a lot of power hidden beneath the surface that is beyond the scope of this introductory article. Take TalentLMS’ Badges feature, for example. Not only does it allow for 8 customizable categories of badges, it also gives administrators the option to customize the Badge’s graphics and titles, plus it is compatible wi with Mozilla’s OpenBadges specifications.

The TalentLMS team also have several tutorials and support articles on the various Gamification features and their options, with more added all the time.

Let The Games Begin

Gamification is a great way to make your courses more engaging and add a little competitive spirit to your corporate (or commercial) eLearning program, and the TalentLMS Gamification system, while full-featured, is still easy to start with, whether you want to go all-in, or approach gamification in a piecemeal fashion.

In this article, we’ve tried to give you a 360-degree overview of what you need to know about TalentLMS Gamification. Stay tuned for next week’s article, where we’ll dive right in with specific instructions and tips for getting your portal’s Gamification going.

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