Gamification Vs. Game-Based Learning Game-based learning and gamification have revolutionized eLearning practices with the ability to motivate employees in training programs. Published on 14 November, 2016 Let’s face it, while training is necessary, it is not always fun. it’s hard to get employees motivated for training initiatives that will most likely cut into their workday. That is why game-based learning and gamification have revolutionized eLearning practices. The benefits exist beyond purely entertaining your staffers. According to a study by the U-C Denver Business School, users who play learning games have an 11 percent higher level of factual knowledge, 14 percent higher skill-based understanding and a 9 percent higher retention rate than people who use other training materials. While both game-based learning and gamification are useful tools, the two strategies differ slightly. It is important to understand the variations in order to better target your company’s training objectives. Here are the key differences: Gamification: When utilizing gamification in your eLearning strategy you are taking game design elements and using them in activities that are not necessarily game-based, explained eLearning Industry. For example, companies can give trainees incentives throughout the training process such as achievement badges or level progressions. Badgeville, a platform specialized in gamifying eLearning, released a whitepaper on how this will affect the the future of employee engagement. These strategies make employees active participants in the learning process but the activities themselves are not actual games. In short: gamification uses gaming elements to incentivize participation.. Game-Based: Game-based strategies, on the other hand, are actual games. Training leaders use online games to help teach specific skill sets or reach desired learning objectives, noted eLearning Industry. This approach is a little more straightforward. Trainees are given engaging gaming activities in order to make the learning process fun. The content of these game-based activities is designed to fit within the layout of a game-based structure. Need some ideas? Game-based learning platform, The Knowledge Guru, compiled a list of 100 game based training resources. Game-based training or gamification can help engage your employees in a fun and meaningful way. The distinctions are clear. But how does one create an efficient eLearning strategy using gamification or game-based strategies? Since the mechanics of the two are slightly different, the tips vary as well. Both methods can be used successfully in training sessions or eLearning courses within your company, so let’s take a look at a few best practices for creating materials to suit each. Gamification Best Practices Simple is Superior: As with most things in an office setting, time is of the essence when creating gamification materials. Users don’t have time to learn complicated rules or drawn-out guidelines, explained eLearning Industry. Keep it simple: lay out how to earn badges or win points. This tip rings true at every level of your planning process. Don’t overcomplicate things. Trust us, the end result will be easier on both you and your trainees. Offer Straightforward Praise: Sure, it’s always fun to leave a training session with a gift card to your local coffee shop or an extra PTO day, but intrinsic rewards can be just as motivating. More importantly taking away the gimmicks will attract employees who really just want to learn, noted eLearning Industry. A recent study by Globoforce found that 86 percent of employees are motivated by leader recognition. Try offering up genuine compliments on a job well done or a company notice of acknowledgment for those employees who went the extra mile – a little recognition can go a long way. Focus on Goal Achievement: The end goal of any eLearning strategy is always development. Whether this means acquiring a new skill set or learning some new information, the points and badges are just markers of fun. eLearning Industry suggests to make sure you don’t get too caught up in the game elements and stay focused on the knowledge. Everything you do must tie in to your ultimate learning objectives. Game-Based Learning Best Practices Find a balance between easy and challenging: According to eLearning Industry, many game-based training materials are rendered either too easy or too hard. Don’t run the risk of disengaging your trainees by falling on either end of that spectrum. Try to strike a middle ground. A great way to make sure your training games are on mark is to research your audience. Are these training sessions for new employees or management teams? Much of your material will depend on the answer. Make it immersive: Immersion is key when creating a good eLearning game. You want your participants to be invested in the outcomes, explained eLearning Industry. As such, the structure of the game should involve high levels of activity. This doesn’t mean running around the room per se, rather that all active players are encouraged to get involved at every stage of the process. The more interactive the better. Don’t get lost in the games: Just like with gamification, creators of game-based training materials need to keep their eyes on the prize. Learning objectives are the star of the show. Everything you do should be created with these goals in mind, urged eLearning Industry. Without knowledge as the end goal, your games are of no use. Have fun with the process but don’t forget your ultimate purpose. 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