Top Game-Based Learning Design Best Practices And Common Pitfalls

Top Game-Based Learning Design Best Practices And Common Pitfalls
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Summary: When you are incorporating game-based learning into your corporation, do it well. Well-designed gamified courses have a higher chance of actually having high levels of engagement and retention rather than courses that have a few game elements forced in with little thought, design, or planning just for the sake of gamification.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Game-Based Learning Design

As we discussed, to keep up with the modern learner’s needs and to improve the quality of the learning journey, trainers need to use other solutions to complement a webinar or an in-person course. In today’s context, digital platforms have revolutionized the way in which trainings can be delivered. With this in mind, when you go out can create game-based learning designs, there are a few tips and practices that you could put into practice.

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Tips For Best Game-Based Learning Design

1. An Impressive Start

We live in an age where information is easily available and we are being bombarded by it from every angle. In such a situation, we filter out information easily and don’t pay attention to anything for more than 30 to 60 seconds. This significantly lowers attention spans, meaning digital learning designers, don’t only need to create digital learning that helps learners and employees learn new knowledge and develop skills but also use strategies in digital learning that keep learners engaged, motivated, and interested throughout the duration of the course.

One way to capture the individual’s attention is storytelling. You could initiate your scene with a cutscene (animation or video) that informs the learner of the actions of the character and the logic behind it.

Once that cut-scene is over, you could move into a third-person or first-person view of the character or provide the learner with options like sound, play, pause, settings on the screen.

2. Adult Learning Principles

When designing it, you need to remember it is game-based learning and not a game and it should be based on adult learning principles. Entertainment and engagement are important parts of this learning exercise but they should not deviate from the main focus, which is learning.

Game elements should be used in such a manner that adherence to adult learning principles persists. The players should be able to explore the game environment, and they should have the ability to make decisions and have specific goals to fulfill which would provide them relevant and practical knowledge within the gamified learning journey.

3. Game Elements As Motivation

Badges, achievements, points, collectibles for their character or avatar as well as leaderboards are game elements that motivate the learners to play more which in turn, means more learning for the participant. Using these game elements in your game is really important for an effective learning journey. Another way to motivate them would be to provide the leaderboard’s top-rankers a tangible every month or every so often. In this way, people can bring the points they obtain to life, by going to the shop and buying real-life objects with points. This can bring instant gratification for the participants. The leaderboard becomes not only something virtual but something that can have an impact in real life.

4. The Element Of Risk

Behavioral Psychologists believe humans enjoy taking risks. In fact, they love it so much that it motivates them and can even be addictive. Therefore, you can use this motivator to your advantage and include the element of risk to your game-based learning, by providing the players with scenarios with high-stakes or questions where they stand to win big or lose it all (badges, collectibles, points, or even their place on the leaderboard) based on their performance and a simple decision they make.

5. A Challenging Game

If humans don’t find something challenging, they lose interest in it and they also wish to be respected. These are both adult learning principles that need to be incorporated into your game-based learning design. By making a game easy to finish, the element of challenge is neglected and is an insult to the player’s intelligence.

While the game shouldn’t be the hardest ever that the player doesn’t even try to complete it, it should frequently have levels, scenarios, activities, and questions that take an extra effort on the behalf of the player and they need to give it a few tried before being able to clear it.

Common Gamification Mistakes

Of course, gamification isn’t as easy as just adding some badges and points and hoping it all works out. Effective gamification requires the designer to research extensively and define clear learning objectives. There are some common gamification mistakes but can be avoided when developing gamified eLearning experiences:

1. Rewards Give Priority Over Results

Rewards aren’t what your gamification strategy should revolve around. They are incorporated to assist your online learners to reach their desired outcomes.

The learning objectives are the heart of your eLearning journey. The badges and points are only there to motivate them and boost their morale. So, you need to start with explicit learning objectives and then establish how the game mechanics fit into the picture, not the other way around.

2. Complicated Game Mechanics

The game mechanics should be straightforward and simple to comprehend. Leaderboards and point systems are important but don’t use complicated ones with a complex set of rules and criteria that the participant struggles to comprehend.

3. Putting eLearning Navigation Design On The Back Burner

The learners should be able to easily navigate the eLearning course, even with the game mechanics involved. For example, their progress to the next level or participation in each eLearning activity should be allowed without misplaced buttons or cluttered pages affecting their entire eLearning experience.

4. Ignoring Social Learning Opportunities

For gamification to be effective, the learners need to step out of the bubble. Social learning tools should be integrated into the eLearning experience and peer-based and trainer-based feedback should be facilitated.

5. Unspecified Criteria

This can occur in two ways. One is not defining the criteria at your end when developing the gamified eLearning course. The second is not informing the learners of what is expected of them to move to the next level and higher up on the leaderboard.


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