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Gamification in Learning: What is it and How Can You Use it?

Zac Francis
Zac Francis

When it comes to successful learning, an immersive and engaging experience is pivotal. Gamification provides a way of making your learning experience enjoyable and rewarding, as well as boosting productivity—with some US companies seeing a 50% increase in productivity because of gamification training features.

Keep reading to find out what gamification actually is, why it’s effective, and its benefits when applied to learning.

What is gamification? 

Gamification is defined as the application of game-like elements to a non-game context, leading to increased levels of engagement and motivation. Gamification successfully captures all of the advantages inherent to games and applies them to varying aspects of life.

Think back to the last time you played board games with your friends. The chances are you felt motivated by the prospect of winning and having this feat acknowledged, which drove your immersion in what you were doing. By dangling verbal or tangible achievements in front of us, games keep us invested and compel us to do our best.

Although the term ‘gamification’ is relatively new, the concept has been applied since the beginning of the 20th century, and has likely featured in many areas of life since civilizations existed. For example, in the early 1900s, Boy Scouts could earn badges and ranks—one of the earliest examples of gamification.

Is gamification effective? 

In short, yes. The benefits of gamification include creating a more enjoyable learner experience, increasing and sustaining levels of motivation, and improving knowledge retention. Let's take a closer look at some of these advantages. 

A fun learning experience

 Most of us have, at some point, been on the receiving end of the conventional form of learning - think long-form video with no breaks, or hour-long presentations delivered by instructors in-person - that required us to just sit and listen with no opportunity for active participation.

Gamification is made with the intention of bypassing this problem—and it works, creating an immersive and fun learning experience that encourages the learner to interact with the content.

And science agrees - playing games is proven to improve our mood by increasing levels of dopamine in our brain—the chemical responsible for making us feel good.

Increased motivation

Gamification is designed to encourage intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. 

Intrinsic motivation is when you want to do something because you have an interest in the task. The excitement that comes with gamification makes the experience that much more enjoyable. 

In contrast, extrinsic motivation is the desire to do something due to external rewards, such as trophies, points and badges. These game-like elements incentivize us to do our best and keep us invested in the task at hand.

What is gamification in learning?

Gamification in learning involves using game-based components such as rewards, points, and trophies to increase learner engagement, help learners retain new information, and test their knowledge. It is increasingly used within the business sphere, offering employers a proven way to incentivize and engage their workforce as they learn.

Why should I use gamification in learning?

There are many benefits of gamification in learning and development. Although the complete list is much longer, below are some of the more significant advantages of gamification in learning:

Improved workforce performance 

A major benefit of applying gamification in learning is improving workforce performance. In fact, 89% of employees believed they would be more productive if their work was more gamified. The gamification experience is an addictive one, promoting repeated engagement and interaction that, in the long-term, translates to increased productivity. 

Studies have also proven that those who learn using gamified content increase their long-term retention of the subject matter. Whilst immediate absorption of information is important, long-term retention is also crucial to ensuring your workforce remains operating optimally over time.

Engaged and Happier Employees

Gamification results in happier and more motivated employees.

Research shows that companies who incorporate games in their training process enhance employee engagement by 60%. Additionally, over 66% believe gamification has helped reduce their stress levels. 

A natural consequence of happier employees is greater workplace retention. Employees with greater professional satisfaction are loyal and remain at a place of work for a greater period of time. Incorporating gamification in learning can therefore prevent churn.

Effective Safety And Compliance Training

Mandatory learning can sometimes be unappealing. Many of us have sat through disengaging videos that are dated and lengthy. And it doesn’t help that mandatory topics are often not considered valuable to an individual’s long-term career path. Companies are realizing that outdated training methods and endless powerpoint slides are leading to unfavorable business outcomes—including poor safety and compliance. 

Gamified learning takes the very same content and presents it in a way that’s fun and interesting. Adding scores, showing progress and including visual and audio elements are ways to inject something engaging, resulting in higher completion rates and greater long-term retention—both of which contribute to a safer, more productive, and efficient workforce. 

eduMe and gamification 

Gamification in learning is invaluable to ensuring your workforce is engaged, productive, and loyal. 

In eduMe’s mobile-based training platform, your employees can earn points for completing lessons and gain levels as they complete content. They can also see where they rank within the company—promoting a feeling of community whilst adding some friendly competition for extra motivation. We have also made it possible for users to view their progress, and see their level and rankings. 

Already some of our clients are reaping the rewards of our gamified learning, with rideshare company Alto seeing an average quiz score of 85%—providing the company with confidence that their new hires are upskilled enough to provide a 5 star service.

To see how eduMe can help optimize the performance, retention and safety of your workforce, get in touch 👇