How to Test Knowledge and
Boost Retention with Gamification

Corporate Trainers; Learning & Development; K-12 Education | By: Erin Patrick-Proza

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When you think of assessment, gamified content probably doesn’t come to mind immediately. And quite frankly, it’s not always applicable! However, to ensure that your learners are benefiting from the novel experience that gamification can provide- while also boosting knowledge retention and improving participation in your training as a whole- gamification should be a go-to for exciting content delivery and sticky learning. In this blog, we will explore some of the science of why this works, with some quick tips for real-life applications of gamified content.

Why gamify?

Gamification works as a powerful mediator between achieving serious learning outcomes and providing an enjoyable and novel learning experience. Put simply, gamification puts the “fun” in “functional”. This is important because the learner experience can oftentimes be overlooked (and sacrificed) due to resource and time constraints. This is completely understandable, but it’s also avoidable with some strategic gamified content that engages your learners and creates an environment of active learning, and a little can go a long way.

Gamification puts the "fun” in “functional”

In fact, one of the main benefits of gamification is to invoke a non-threatening influencer of better performance and positive behaviors while providing learning opportunities that stick. Assessing knowledge in this way serves as a delightful reinforcement tool as well as an effective way to enhance your existing content. With multiple options to format your questions and content, the learning journey is never dull or boring. This article will address a specific question type that may help you want to ‘get in the game’.

How does it work?

For fun and fast-paced knowledge assessment, word stem questions can bring the heat in a functional way. Fill-in-the-blank questions can acutely assess comprehension by mitigating the room for guessing with no predetermined answers, such as Multiple Choice questions provide. This forces the learner to supply their own answers, which will reveal what your learners really know in real-time, both for their own development and to inform the instructor. Word stem questions can start with:

  • Who

  • What

  • When

  • Where

Fill-in-the-blank question types can be leveraged to measure a wide variety of topics, simple skills, and specific knowledge, such as:

  • Terms

  • Facts

  • Data

  • Scenarios

  • Principles, methods, or procedures (SOPs)

Question stems encourage your learners to think more critically about their answers, which helps deepen their understanding. By using fill-in-the-blank questions that get increasingly more difficult or complex, you can efficiently identify where the learning is sticking…or not sticking. We can take some cues from the revised work of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which presents a hierarchy of considerations when crafting our learning objectives from simple to complex. The best fill-in-the-blank questions range in difficulty and provide a way for learners to move up and through applied knowledge. Start with lower-order thinking to access engagement, and then increase the rigor. For example, we might craft a question stem flow like this:

  • Start with “remember”: terminology recall; who did what; facts, etc

  • Move to “understand”: what does this mean; state in your own words, etc.

  • Then “apply”: the correct code for this procedure is ___, etc.

  • Include a way to “analyze”: what’s the relationship between…?

When should I use this?

This type of questioning is most effective when the information is still fresh and ‘top of mind’ for the learner and works as a fantastic review and revisiting method. Use the experience to promote active learning and dialogue among peers so there’s a social learning component involved as well. As your learners engage in synchronous learning with their peers, you will have more time to focus on participation and performance.

Question stems + Gamification

Many people are familiar with this learning strategy from primary school or eLearning scenarios, but what if you could gamify this for an instructor-led experience that makes this style of knowledge assessment fun and engaging?

Want to see this question type in action in our template from the BRAVOZONE called DASH?

Now that we have explored the benefits of question stemming styles of assessing knowledge, let’s circle back to how gamification serves an important role in that process. Gamification plays to the human nature of (friendly) competition, and the intrinsic rewards involved in self-development. This reward system is a large component of why gamification is so effective, and it's actually an ancient way of connecting people with others and to themselves. Also, when learners have the opportunity to practice and apply newly acquired skills and knowledge, they feel more autonomous in their own learning journey.

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The opportunity to grow and learn is a top priority for your employees, so why not answer that with a culture of learning that really stands out? Gamification is more than trivia, recall, and review. In its most optimistic sense, it is a mechanism that promotes learning in an engaging and fun way. It helps to meet your learners where they are with information when and where they need it, resulting in a better learning experience. If you’re tasked with employee engagement and exciting content delivery, game-based learning is now a very important methodology in your training.

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 with the BRAVOZONE, and our single but powerful platform can deliver many ways to make your training more engaging. If you’d like some ideas on how to do so, we’re here to help.

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