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Why gamification in elearning is important

3 minute read

Kirstie Greany Elucidat
By Kirstie Greany

Head of Customer Marketing


Gamification has been a hot topic in elearning for some time now, and it’s no surprise. We all love playing games. The feeling of accomplishment, of improving, of beating an opponent, and the feedback and rewards that you get are the sorts of things that keep you coming back for more. Here’s why elearning gamification software gets so much air time.

gamification important people playing

Gamification is the application of these same game elements to non-game activities, with the aim of getting you to participate and engage in the desired way. For example, think about how frequent flyer programs work. There’s something deep within us that likes to make the progress from silver status to gold status.

According to a survey from Talent LMS 87% of employees feel that gamification makes them more productive and 84% say they feel more engaged.

Why gamification in elearning? It all comes down to motivation…

There are two types of motivation:

  • Extrinsic motivators come from the outside: punishment, tangible reward, peer pressure and so on. The carrot is more effective than the stick – potential reward motivates more strongly than potential punishment.
  • Intrinsic motivators come from within: development of skills or confidence, or autonomy for instance.

Elearning can be great at tapping into intrinsic motivators where people are driving the direction of their own learning. Done well, gamification can build on the foundations of intrinsic motivation by adding social connection and opens up opportunities for extrinsic motivators such as leaderboards and badges. A great gamification strategy can do wonders for user engagement.

Gamifying training also benefits you as a producer

As learners compete, they’re likely to talk about it, share it and invite others to access it. (The US research cited above reveals that 81% of people are more likely to invite others to use an app or software if it was gamified.) Word-of-mouth marketing is not to be sniffed at!

gamification playing together compete

Gamification can also encourage users to explore more features or engage more by incentivising those behaviours. Dropbox is one great example of this: users value storage space highly so that’s the reward on offer; to earn it, they have to hit certain achievements including using specific features or referring friends. Without any hard sell, Dropbox increases engagement and ensures a stream of new users.

3 more reasons to use gamification techniques in your elearning

  1. To personalize experiences. The best games let participants make choices that influence outcomes. Putting the learner in control of a gamified journey by using branching scenarios for example, can be a powerful way to build engagement.
  2. To give feedback. The most engaging games quickly show the consequences of your actions: make a move and you soon know if it was a good one or if you need to take a different approach next time. The ways that a feedback cycle can be implemented are limited only by your imagination (and what your audience needs to learn!), but the engagement principle is the same. Elucidat’s 360 feedback and lesson badges can help with this.
  3. Because learners love it! People love games, but remember that gamification isn’t just about making something fun. Instead, it’s about incentivizing people to engage and actively participate in your learning to drive a behavior change.

Games are everywhere. You have likely been motivated by points, badges, leaderboards, and other game mechanics in the past. So why not try using the same powerful levers to motivate your learners towards better learning outcomes?

Get inspired: 5 awesome examples of gamification in elearning

We can help you do it!

Get the best out of gamification in your digital learning content by downloading the ultimate guide:

Written by Kirstie Greany

As Head of Customer Marketing at Elucidat, Kirstie is dedicated to empowering our customers by guiding them in creating award-winning digital experiences. Her expertise not only supports, but elevates the elearning journeys of numerous customers, ensuring their success.

Read more articles by Kirstie Greany