Gamification is the application of gaming designs to learning or training scenarios in order to make them more engaging and entertaining for the learner. In game-based learning events, learners compete directly against one or more individuals or participate individually in an interactive experience that rewards learning performance in some way.
The increased popularity and usage of gaming techniques can be attributed to the spirit of competition; it not only makes learning more enjoyable, it increases retention and boosts all important time-to-competency measurements. It’s a concept long employed by sales organizations that is quickly spreading throughout large and small enterprises.
Gamification techniques strive to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism or closure. Gamification is about more than just playing games in fact, sometimes it does not involve playing games at all. It can be defined as the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications.
Competitive computer-based games serve both employer and employee by improving productivity and positively impacting business results. Games incentivize employees to learn and accomplish more skills, which raises competency levels throughout an organization. Gaming is also applied to boost knowledge and loyalty among customers, channel partners and other stakeholders.
Game-based learning reflects another significant training trend where learners control their own learning experiences. Learning organizations are becoming more astute about leveraging technologies and providing training at point of need. They are becoming more process oriented, with greater emphasis on results.
Several organizations do not consider gamification in learning as a viable approach on account of higher cost, longer turn-around time to develop and so on. Many shy away from using it in their formal learning programs, believing that while it is fun for the learners, it does not necessarily lead to a learning outcome.
Gamification should have a purpose that will enhance instructional design and meets learning goals. It should not just throw a learner into a competition because it is fun, but instead target your audience and move you closer to your business goal of behaviour change. It is always important to think about how that game element will help the learner recognize and apply new skills. Gamification offers many ways to be creative with a training course but that creativity needs to be directed towards the learning objectives of a given course. With this in mind, instructional designers can reverse engineer a game so that it becomes a teaching tool rather than a distraction.