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What works in gamification?

Paola Giura
 Paola Giura
 Best Practices
16/09/2020 : Anyone designing an online course needs to know what gamification strategies work best for their target audience.
What works in gamification?

Gamification is one of the timeless trends in eLearning. Learning by playing, in fact, is a maxim that doesn't only work with children but with all age groups. Although the theory is quite clear, it is not always easy to understand how to put the game into an online course. It can happen, in fact, that your gamification strategy is not working as you would like.

The secret is to design gamification down to the smallest detail. In this way, not only will the trainees focus more, but they will be more likely to effectively complete the course in order to add new opportunities to their professional and non-professional lives. How to plan gamification in an online course?

  • Set a goal: it is useless to "liven up" the course if you do not have a clear goal. Gamification must be a means and not the end. For this, it is essential to understand how the game can facilitate and improve training.
  • Measuring progress: if students can use a progress bar to orient themselves, it is necessary that the person who designed the course is also aware of the progress due to gamification. For this, it is essential that a specialist or someone on the design team studies the results obtained through this strategy.
  • The target audience: as always, it is not possible to "do the math without the host". Have you already studied your target audience? Who is the course aimed at? Millennials? Employees of a company? Young university students? It is preferable that your gamification strategy is adapted to their needs and expectations.
  • Create a community: If you take a look at the most popular role-playing games, you'll find that one of the strengths is creating a real community. This is one of the goals of gamification: if you create interest from all students around the game, your course is likely to be just as effective.

Here are a few more tips (you'll find more tips in this article) to strengthen your gamification strategy:

  • Sound effects: sounds can be a great way to reinforce a concept or highlight a mistake. Without exaggerating, use sound effects to stimulate students from an auditory point of view as well;
  • Time and score: it's a classic. Many games from all ages are based on finishing the activity before time runs out. In a gamification strategy it is a great way to keep the student active. The same reasoning applies to scoring: who does not like to be at the top of the ranking?
  • Avatar: each student can choose their own graphic representation that will accompany them throughout the course. In addition to becoming a sign of recognition of the student, it is also part of the personalization of his training course.
  • Simulations: making sure that the student is in a practical situation (even if virtual) is the best way to stimulate learning. For this reason, simulations can not miss in an online course that wants to overcome the theory and take a step towards reality.

Still not sure if your gamification strategy is effective? Play it yourself and see if it works!

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