In 2020, more than 200 million Americans played video games (WePlay Holding). Naturally, more and more organizations and educators want to incorporate video games and gamification into their eLearning curriculum. Gamification is “the practice of applying gaming formats and tactics to boost participation and engagement in eLearning activities” (Karaolis).
Gamification takes many different forms. Quizzes, leaderboards, and badges are common forms of gamification. Some have taken it a step further and have created simulations (of varying degrees of complexity) to help students or trainees apply knowledge and skills in real-world situations. OpenLearn has created several free games to go along with the content it has created, including a supply chain game, a cyber security simulation, and a philosophy interactive story.
eLearning has been shown to encourage active learning, promote continuous learning, improve productivity, create a more enjoyable learning experience, and allow organizations to collect performance data and compare them against learning objectives (Pandey). These benefits come from evoking friendly competition, providing the learners with a sense of achievement, providing an engaging learner experience leading to anticipated behavior change, encouraging learners to progress through the content, motivating action, and influencing behavior (Pandey).
But why does gamification work? According to eLearning Industry, “Research has found that gamification of eLearning motivates users to access and use the online learning material more frequently. It has also been indicated that well-designed game environments provide continuous opportunities for player improvement, which is useful for both school-based learning and employee training” (Kharod). Moreover, playing video games and engaging in gamification can release endorphins, and “when these endorphins are released, learners not only have more fun during the eLearning process but they actually retain more information” (Pappas). Some best practices for creating gamified eLearning experiences include quality stories, visual design, competitions, challenges, rewards, and feedback (Karaolis).
Here’s a word of caution concerning gamification, though. Not all students thrive under competition. A public ranking or display of scores may cause some students anxiety. Other aspects of gamification could also cause hesitation or resistance to learning. It is important to keep this in mind and provide an alternative for these students. Something as simple as being able to opt out of a public score display or designing it so that students are only competing against themselves allows for gamification to continue in such a way that all students can benefit. It is also important to ensure that any gamification allows options for those in need of accessibility accommodations, such as a screenreader.
Gamification makes learning fun, but you need great learning material to draw from before you can start thinking about creating or finding games. Let MyEducator help you with that and explore our catalog of quality content—like our Introduction to Supply Chain Management resource paired with OpenLearn’s supply chain game!
Karaolis, Stephanie. “4 Engaging Examples of Gamification in Elearning.” Elucidat, December 16, 2021. https://www.elucidat.com/blog/gamification-in-elearning-examples/.
Kharod, Savan. “Gamification in Elearning: Top Things to Try in 2021.” eLearning Industry, February 4, 2021. https://elearningindustry.com/using-gamification-in-elearning-top-things-try-2021.
“How Many People Play Video Games.” How Many People Play Video Games | WePlay Esports Media Holding. WePlay Holding, October 9, 2021. https://weplayholding.com/blog/how-many-people-play-video-games-in-the-world/.
Pappas, Christopher. “The Science and Benefits of Gamification in Elearning.” eLearning Industry, December 2, 2014. https://elearningindustry.com/science-benefits-gamification-elearning.
Pandey, Asha. “Top 6 Benefits of Gamification in Elearning.” eLearning Industry, June 17, 2015. https://elearningindustry.com/top-6-benefits-of-gamification-in-elearning.