Posted on : November 17th, 2014
The changing face of corporate learning has brought in a massive shift from how LMSs were perceived by the early adopters. The needs of the modern workplace, and the learners in the workplace, have both evolved a lot with the tremendous development of technology. Today, the majorities of employees are or aspire to become knowledge workers. As a result, every technology shift brings with it the need to train – and retrain. LMSs provide the learners access to relevant training content as per their needs and thus are now an intrinsic part of the learning culture in an organization. But because of the increasing need to provide perennial training, the need to make this training interesting, engaging as well as impactful is also becoming imperative.
The relevance of learning games is important in making training interesting, engaging and impactful. Entertainment games like Flight Simulator and SimCity have been successfully used for employee training in several industries. Custom-built learning games are also being built for corporate training because it is becoming more and more evident that game-based learning has a huge potential in providing impactful learning – even in the corporate scenario.
Owing to the huge popularity of learning games, the mechanics of gaming are now being used in other learning instances – including Gamification of the LMS. While applying gaming in learning content, we create timed quizzes, mazes and other such learning tools, which award the learner points, badges or other collectibles. The same mechanics are employed to embed gamification in our strategy for delivering content. Gamification provides an added incentive for learning, making the process of learning enjoyable through the excitement of built-in gaming elements.
The gamification of the LMS can be done in many ways – to entice the learner and push the learning through incentives that learners aspire to attain. For this, we can use the two strongest components that help gaming to deliver effective learning – healthy competition between peers and a sense of achievement.
- Certificates: Achievements are a very strong push for learning and many e-courses provide certificates on completion. The same principle can be utilized within the LMS – a certificate can be provided to all learners who complete a course or a set of courses within the LMS. But it is important to make sure that the gaming elements duly excite the learners; just a certificate might not kindle that much excitement. So employ a little creative thinking – issue the certificate to the first 50 learners who complete the courses and see how the excitement reaches its peak. Nothing kindles excitement like competition and even a plain-vanilla certification system can be utilized to increase learner motivation.
- Collectible points that can be redeemed: Motivation and incentives are closely tied. Higher the perceived worth of the incentive, higher is the motivation. In this scenario, a redemption system of collectible points can be highly effective. The points are collected on course completion and can be redeemed for a number of things – choose the best options keeping the learner group in mind and their aspirations. A coffee-cup with the office logo might not be an incentive that works but try putting forth incentives like a coveted parking spot or gift vouchers of a popular shopping site. Performance points can also be linked to the organizational appraisal system to further motivate learners.
- Discounts on new content: For a learner group which is serious about continued learning and training, discount coupons can be a great incentive. For learners who complete courses or score well within course assessments, special discount coupons can be generated as per their efforts and achievements. The next time they log in, they can view their available discount coupons and browse through the course catalogue to utilize the coupons as per their needs. Learners who have accumulated coupons can also be given special ‘first-look’ privileges to new courses that are added on the portal. This will encourages them and motivate them to learn more.
- Expert status: For some learners, praise or an elevated status amongst peers is what works – much more than any certificate or added bonus points. For such learners, an ‘expert’ badge is a coveted thing that affirms their self-belief and motivates them to perform well.
- Special privileges in the portal: In addition to collectible discounts and badges, some learners have other motivators. Keeping that in mind, for learners who perform well, special privileges within the LMS can be given that they can utilize to learn more and learn better. Special sections for ‘advanced’ learners can be created which can house whitepapers, research and other documents needed for detailed study. The learner thus has not only the status of an ‘advanced’ learner but has privileges that come along with that title!
- Fame on the Social Circuit: Leading professional networking site ‘LinkedIn’ has a popular gamification element that has worked very well among users. Within a community, the users who post the most relevant questions (and get the most responses) get the ‘Top Contributor’ status – which is visible to all users within the group and visitors as well. This status also shows on the users’ profile page. Similarly, the efforts of the learner within the portal can also be ranked and posted on social platforms within the portal or on the official intranet or even the monthly newsletter! The learners can be encouraged to collaborate with peers on social platforms within the portal – and to contribute to the learning by answering queries effectively or positively contributing to thought-provoking debates. A system of peer ranking can also be built in where fellow learners can give a learner the rank of an ‘expert’ which then displays on the user profile or even on the signature of his or her outgoing messages for a month. The lure of Fame is huge – especially on social platforms where like-minded peers would see the learners’ accomplishments and aspire to achieve the same.
WiZDOM v5.0 Learning Management System Certificate
By weaving the tenets of Gamification within an organizational LMS, the impact of learning is increased manifold. In addition to custom learning games, this aspect of gaming is also being explored and utilized by many forward-thinking organizations. Our WiZDOM LMS v5.0 is a new-age Learning Management System which has the built-in capabilities of gamification to make sure that the learner feels motivated to complete the e-courses and is able to have fun while doing it! But while employing game-based learning within the LMS, a few points need to be kept in mind:
- Know your audience well: Motivators for different learner groups are varied. Identify the real motivators to provide the true experience of game elements within the LMS.
- Provide real benefits: Whatever the identified motivators, make sure that they are truly relevant to the real lives of the learners – beyond the boundaries of the LMS. Even an online badge can be truly effective – if exhibited well among the learners’ peers and the people that he or she looks up to (top managers, CEO, etc.), providing real-life prestige to the learner.
- Keep a close eye: Administrators should monitor the efforts and achievements of the learners within the LMS to see what gaming elements are working best, identify learners who are performing well, or learners who are improving their performance with the introduction of gaming elements. This will make sure that the gamification efforts are directed in the right manner and can evolve effectively with the changing needs of the learners.
- Keep evolving to make it fun: Finally, it is ever so important to keep changing the gaming mechanics within the LMS to make sure that the motivation does not die down. A game is interesting as long as the learner can make suitable efforts – once he or she masters it, it becomes boring. Gamification of the LMS too should keep evolving to keep the ‘fun’ element intact.
To know more about our experiences of the Gamified LMS, write to [email protected]
Latest Post By Arunima Majumdar