Embrace E-Learning and Increase Engagement with Gamification
Corporate Trainers; Learning & Development; K-12 Education | By: Erin Patrick-Proza
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So you’ve shifted to virtual training for a while now, but something is missing and you can’t put your finger on it…or maybe you just feel less-than-excited for your next mandatory learning module. Maybe you are responsible for designing the content for instructional delivery and you’re looking for a more comprehensive yet interactive approach. In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of gamification with eLearning and provide some powerful and practical tips to apply with it.
E-Learning is not new in the world of learning and development, but has gained a lot more attention in the past two years as a result of the pandemic. This is largely due to the many benefits that carefully crafted eLearning can bring to any training program. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) defines eLearning as,
“...a structured course or learning experience delivered electronically; it can also include performance support content. There are also many different elements that can make up an e-learning program, such as live or pre-recorded lecture content, video, quizzes, simulations, games, activities, and other interactive elements.”
The term eLearning (or E-learning) can sometimes be a bit of a catchall for any content delivered electronically. However, this blog is about getting a bit more precise with practical application of gamification with eLearning to help you increase engagement and participation in your learning and development program. So let’s dive in with a few data-driven statistics to point the way:
eLearning takes employees and students 40% to 60% less time than conventional learning (source)
Online learning increases student retention rates between 25% - 60% (source)
88% of respondents say that gamification makes them happier at work (source)
78% of respondents think that companies would be more desirable if their recruitment process is gamified (source)
The benefits are many, but we can identify a few right away with these data points: more efficient learning that’s on-the-go and mobile (and can arguably cut costly development time); increased retention rates through repetitive information that’s also interactive and participant-centered; an increase in morale and perspective of company culture through the options of ongoing development; and a positive goal for the recruitment process that is rewarding for both the applicant and the organization. These are potential results from creating a company culture of learning that’s both accessible and fun.
The Two Types of eLearning
E-learning (and most learning) can fall into two main categories: Asynchronous and Synchronous.
Asynchronous eLearning is self-paced and flexible, in which the learners are taking a course or consuming content on their own, usually through electronic devices. There are many authoring tools now for eLearning, including many Learning Management Systems that include such features. Did you know that our templates can integrate into any LMS system to add an interactive and gamified element to your learning modules?
Synchronous eLearning (better known as online or virtual training) and can be instructor-led, which happens at the same time as other learners, just remotely. This could include a virtual lecture with screen sharing of polls, quizzes, games, chats, and screen annotation. Did you know that many of our templates can be used for both self-paced or instructor-led scenarios?
The distinction is important because not all content is appropriate for self-paced or asynchronous learning, and not all synchronous learning needs to be in-person or virtually fatiguing. For instance, you may not be able to put your compliance training into self-paced sessions, but you could certainly review the key takeaways with a self-paced quiz after a live session. Likewise, you may not need a 60-slide deck to deliver effective synchronous sales training when 30 of those slides can be facilitated through an interactive game where participants get to compete with eachother while learning new concepts. Like many things in life, the trick is to know when and where to apply this approach for optimal results.
In addition to reinforcing and reviewing material or introducing new concepts, eLearning and gamification are also ideal for ongoing development. In the age of the Great Resignation, many companies have been scrambling to fill the many employment gaps in its wake. However, some companies have been keen to realize that their current talent capital may already reside in their ranks, and they may just need some upskilling and reskilling without the high cost of hiring and turnover. This is where accessible, self-paced courses can make or break that initiative, and gamification adds engagement and encourages the continued participation in that learning while increasing retention rates and morale.
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Gamification also taps into a very human driver of motivation: competition. This applies whether they’re competing with others, or with themselves to beat their own highest score. Friendly competition makes learning through games fun with a purpose. When applied consistently and incrementally, you’d be surprised by the amount of buy-in from your participants. Games are also enjoyed by every age group and genre, so they can be a great connector in that way and bring even the stubborn wallflower into the mix. This provides a non-threatening yet invigorating learning environment where self-paced learning can normally feel monotonous at times.
How to apply gamification with eLearning
Finding the right content for eLearning and gamification is your first step. In the context of eLearning, the additional consideration is whether you are conducting this training as instructor-led (synchronous eLearning) or self-paced (asynchronous eLearning). As we mentioned earlier, not everything will apply successfully, but there are also many things that can work and require a little outside-of-the-box thinking. We will use a hierarchy arrangement for this example, where we can mix both types of eLearning with gamification to create a progressive, unique, and engaging way to deliver content that your participants will enjoy. In this scenario, we imagine a 5-day onboarding course, in any industry. The first game or quiz should be rather simple to complete and allow the students to easily get points and gain confidence in the format. From there, the content can become a little more challenging, but each day has an obtainable goal for them individually and as a team. Since many of the question types are trivia-based (multiple choice, true or false, select all that apply, etc) this allows you to create your content that quickly assesses their knowledge and provides instant feedback for both the learner and the instructor. This framework also builds interest and ownership of the participants for their own learning and development, and sets the tone for your company culture as well.
Day 1: Names, Places, and Contact Information Quiz
Format: Asynchronous | Template: Whirl
The goal of this quiz is to let your students get familiar with an electronic quiz while also leveraging their retention from orientation. Possible questions might include: What is the name of your reporting supervisor? Where is the HR office located? (Or remotely, what is the contact information for HR?) How do you request time off? Have you submitted your emergency contact information?
Day 2: Review of the Company Manual Game
Format: Synchronous | Template: Spin Off
The goal of this game is to provide an interactive way for your students to learn about your company and its policies, and ideally would be an instructor-led scenario so that any questions that arise can be answered immediately. Perhaps this game could also be team-based so the pressure is lessened while producing a team building exercise. Possible questions might include: What is the company’s slogan? What is the company’s vision statement? What is the company’s mission statement? What is the company’s policy on _____? Where can you find the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for _______?
Day 3: Customer Experience Quiz
Format: Asynchronous | Template: SPARK!
The goal of this quiz is to take your participants through the customer journey and service steps that are expected. This can be conducted as a self-paced quiz that starts when the customer walks through the door or clicks on your website. While each industry has a unique customer experience, your service guidelines may be very similar. Possible questions might include: What is the appropriate greeting for answering the phone? Where should you direct a customer or caller if they’re looking for _____? How many minutes should someone be on hold? If someone has a complaint, what is the proper procedure?
Day 4: Training Software Game
Format: Synchronous | Template: Tally
The goal of this game is to share the software applications and how to use them, but in a participant-centered and fun way. This would also ideally be facilitated with an instructor so that corrections can be made to ensure full comprehension. With all the media options available, including image mapping and hotspots, this game can be leveraged for technical training as well. Possible questions might include: Where can you find IT help for app integration? How can you check if your browser is compatible for the application? Identify on this picture where you would click to find ______?
Day 5: Review Showdown
Format: Synchronous | Template: Quiz Show
The goal of this game is to provide a comprehensive review of their week of onboarding with a robust review game that also serves as a tool to provide more teachable moments. This could be instructor-led or self-paced; team-based or individual competition with a leaderboard. Combining content and questions from each day will allow your participants to apply the knowledge they’ve been learning throughout the week, and consolidate that information into long-term memory.
Day 6: (Optional) Survey
Format: Asynchronous | Template: SPARK!
Send out a quick check-in with your students regarding their experience with your training week with an interactive survey. Get some feedback and analytics on your instructions and performance and use that data to inform your next session.
"We use Whirl predominantly as an interval reinforcement tool to reduce the forgetting curve. It’s helped create a fun expectation from our programs as well as lets people have fun while learning!"
So here’s why games work: Games are mobile and can be used in a variety of ways, from a microlearning approach with self-paced learning to a knowledge check in a live session. They can pack a powerful punch (of fun) in a small amount of time to increase engagement and knowledge retention. Try our self-paced quiz below as an example of a way to include interactive learning, even when it’s asynchronous.
Review time! Try this self-paced quiz to test your knowledge, featuring one of our eLearning gamification templates called SPARK!
Integrating games into your eLearning program is great for a number of leadership skills as well: soft skill development, professional development, or your general ongoing development, based on its ability to be participant-centered. It can also be used situationally and scaled for scenario training, such as sales or product knowledge. It’s designed to be short and sweet for multi-media consumption, so it can be easily accessible with devices such as phones and tablets, which keeps people mobile and flexible for on-demand learning. This allows the focus to be on performance gains with valuable feedback and creating quality content that people love, all while using games to deliver your information to an informal and safe learning environment. And, by turning your content into fun, engaging, and interactive sessions you can pull all learning styles into the fold, no matter the subject matter. All of this can help prompt positive changes in behavior and engagement. But don’t take our word for it:
Rinnai America Corporation
At C3 SoftWorks, we’re passionate about helping people find unique solutions to their training and education goals and have over 35 years of experience in those fields. We strive to make gamification easy and our single but powerful platform can deliver many ways to make your training more engaging. If you’d like some ideas on navigating a hybrid learning environment using games, we’re here to help.
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