Top 10 tips for gamifying your eLearning
Games and gamification are the fastest growing areas in learning and development. A recent research report projected the global gamification market to grow from $421.3 million in 2013 to $5.502 billion in 2018 – that’s a compound annual growth rate of a whopping 67.1%!
We’ve always been advocates of using game design principles in learning activities to engage learners to change behaviours, learn new skills and, above all, have fun. For over 26 years, we’ve developed and run business simulations and built gaming principles into our eLearning, interactive case studies, branching scenarios and mini-simulations.
To help in our quest to make learning fun, Unicorn recently invested in chart topping game studio Amuzo to bring world class mobile and cross-platform game experiences to our learning.
Amuzo have priceless experience of creating and developing some of the most iconic games of the last 15 years and their games have been played an amazing three quarters of a billion times in the last two years.
Of course, many video games are developed with budgets that we can only dream of, but the underlying principles of engagement, immersion and design excellence could hardly be more relevant, and are remarkably simple to apply. How? Here’s how.
1. “It’s the ability to choose which makes us human”
Dump the linear in favour of hub design. Let the learner explore, discover, make choices and feel they have control.
2. “Do it, fix it, try it”
Encourage learners to dive into a scenario or case study before they have all the facts, then make the facts available in context. It’s amazing how those boring facts come to life when you need them to solve a problem.
3. “Specialist subject – the bleedin’ obvious”
Don’t make the user wade through bullet lists of learning objectives, or those dreaded user instructions where you point out that the X in the top corner closes the window, the right-facing arrow means Next and the left facing arrow means Back. We already know! Otherwise we couldn’t have got to this screen in the first place! Get on with it!
4. “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”
Games continually tell you how you’re doing. Try to find engaging graphical ways of measuring progress. You can also have more than one progress indicator.
5. “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed”
Don’t be afraid to let your learners fail. Think how long it took you to get three stars on every level of Angry Birds. Users don’t mind “losing” so long as they’re encouraged, get positive feedback on their progress, and get challenged to try again. Build in risk of failure – having to go back and start the case study again is a strong motivator to focus, especially if you “lose a life” in the process.
6. “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious”
Many of the best and most successful video games include elements of humour and surprise. Why not eLearning? It may not seem easy to bring a good laugh into a course on, say, financial regulation – but actually it is. Use your imagination, and remember you don’t need to be ROFL funny. Even the mildest play on words can come as welcome light relief to the poor benighted compliance student.
7. “Thank you Mario, but our Princess is in another castle”
There’s not a lot of scope for randomness in most eLearning projects, but you can create blind alleys. Make sure they add to the learning and then encourage the learner to explore them. Remember this when designing branched case studies – all that creative effort and no-one ever goes down the “wrong” route because the right route is too obvious. Give them an incentive to explore.
8. “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”
Games often use adaptive systems, adjusting the content, level of difficulty or choices to the level of the user. How relevant is that to eLearning?!
9. “The gift of sound and vision”
Use high quality graphics and sound. The YouTube generation has made us remarkably tolerant of low quality video, but this isn’t the case with audio or with the overall user experience. Poor quality audio can be worse than none at all. We are also now so used to high quality intuitive UX from our home and mobile technology that even with our limited budgets, the quality of the graphic design is increasingly important to attracting and retaining the learner’s attention.
10. “None of us is as smart as all of us” (Japanese proverb)
When it comes to peer motivation, we may not be able to compete with World of Warcraft, but we can integrate simple social media tools into our eLearning, add league tables in the LMS, show the learner the last five answers to an open question, and so on.
For more information about how Unicorn and Amuzo could bring the fun to your learning drop us a line today on 0845 130 5138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
And to discover the amazing world of Amuzo visit www.amuzo.com