Digital games like Fortnite and gaming apps like Candy Crush are incredibly 'sticky'. By using the same design ideas, you can make learners engage more and perform better.
We have taken inspiration from the elements that drive the success of the multi-billion dollar gaming industry to help you create even better e-learning experiences.
How gaming design ideas can enhance e-learning
- Personalisation for immersion – With gaming, you invest emotionally in your character and care about what happens to them as you play. Would you want to customise your elearning character too? What if you could upload your own avatar or face, like on Fifa? In elearning, we use well-crafted scenarios to increase immersion.
- Storytelling for engagement - Create a storyline where you can place the learner at the centre of the scenario. The learner is faced with a situation and they must decide how they respond based on the circumstances. Putting the learner right at the heart of the story makes it much more engaging, and suddenly gives people important practical experience that will make them more confident when it comes to making similar decisions in real life.
- Achievement levels – Levelling up is a standard feature in most games. This adds to the sense of achievement and no doubt also explains part of the addiction. You're constantly trying to beat your best and progress. We can do this in elearning too, enabling learners to progress through a custom suite of modules, all available at different levels.
- Unexpected situations – Like films, computer games can sometimes be unpredictable. There may be plot twists, an unexpected ending, or an unforeseen event taking you by surprise. In e-learning, it's vital that we do the same. This makes the learning much more credible and also reflects what happens in the real world.
- Game over – Sometimes a gamer might make a catastrophic mistake (the obvious one is walking into the line of fire) which forces the game to end abruptly. That's a valuable lesson learnt. We should do more of that in e-learning too. When learners answer questions badly which could potentially have devastating consequences for our business, maybe that should be 'Game over' and we should force them to start all over again. They wouldn't make the same mistake twice or any complacency they had about the module would surely evaporate.
- Badges, sounds and achievements – In gaming, progress is rewarded with badges, sounds, and other bonuses at key milestones. We can reinforce that same sense of achievement too in e-learning, but could we go further? How about tangible bonuses (e.g. going home early or a stamp towards a treat) when you complete a set number of courses?
- Extensive R&D and product testing – Some of the most successful gaming titles are sequels, developed from an original title, with many years of testing, research and improvement roll-outs behind them. Okay, so we're not going to make you wait that long for your own title to hit learners' screens, but, since we've already put the time in, we're happy for you to get the benefit.
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