Understanding The Difference Between Gamification and Game-based Learning

Posted on : October 20th, 2015
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Modern organizations are serious about imparting continuous learning within the workspace. Gamification and Game-based Learning (GBL) are both very popular trends in corporate learning now. The benefits of games is evident in training and learning – not only at the K-12 level, but in corporate circles as well. But both terms, Gamification and Game-based Learning, cannot be used interchangeably. They’re not the same thing and it is important to realize the difference.

Gamification & Game-Based eLearning
Game-based Learning is when a unique game or simulation is created to cater to the evident learning needs of a group. They are also called Serious Games — these have a definite learning objective that is achieved through the path that the game lays out. It is usually an immersive experience, which offers learners something to ‘do’ – think logically, plan strategically and move ahead towards the goal. Gamification is the process of applying game-based elements or mechanics to existing learning platforms or content to increase learner interest and motivation. The game mechanics can be applied in the form of achievements, rewards or recognition, opportunity of self-expression or even plain old competition. These mechanics help the learners achieve more through goal orientation, increasing persistence, learning by repetition or through collaboration with peers.

Let’s see how GBL and Gamification can be implemented for Effective Corporate Training.

Implementing Game-based Learning

Utilizing existing games

It is a good idea to utilize games that have already been developed to help teach your content. There are plenty of off-the-shelf games available, both educational and commercial. Further, adapting them a little to suit your needs is another option available for quick and efficient GBL delivery. There are many types of games that can be adapted for teaching and learning purposes. For instance, word games can be utilized to help the employees develop better vocabulary and language skills. Similarly, strategy-based games, like Cluedo, can help hone logical thinking in learners.

Creating customized games

It is also possible to create a game-based learning or simulation, custom-created to suit the needs of the organization or the learners. Though this is not a small undertaking, with more and more gaming enthusiasts in the learning community, creating a serious game is possible within available budgets and timelines. Though if we compare it to using an off-the-shelf game, it does take more time, effort, and money, but the difference lies in the way it is most suited to the learning needs.

The Gamified Content or LMS

Gamified Content

Existing e-courses can be made more effective by introducing game-based elements. These can include tests or quizzes to gain points, mandatory minimum score on tests, incentives for completing a course or scoring highest. This requires small modifications in the existing content, but gives a lot of push for learning among the learner group.

Gamified LMS

Game-based elements can also be built within the learning platform of an organization, providing the required push for learning across all learning content that resides on the platform. A Gamified LMS can be of 3 types – a Basic Level, Advanced Level and Specific. The basic gamified LMS has features like badges or levels that the learners at tain, points that can be accumulated, leader boards and even social integration. The more learning content the learner accesses, the more points he accumulates or is promoted to the higher level. He is featured on the leader-board as a top performer and this news is shared via Facebook or Twitter.

Gamification in eLearning
Together, it is heady effect that pushes the learners. Advanced gamified LMS have personalization options like avatars. Redeemable points can be accumulated – not just by an individual leaner, but by the collaborative efforts of a group. Game-based elements within the UI provide a completely immersive experience that results in impactful learning. Specific components of games can be utilized to create a push for learning within the content on the LMS.

For instance, performance of learners can be mapped with the kind of content they are suggested to read. Or spaced learning opportunities can be provided as and when the learner reaches certain level or gains a certain number of points.

It is true that Gamification and GBL are related, but they’re two separate things. GBL is based purely on the motivational elements of games. Gamification on the other hand, is also motivational, but focuses more on changing the way e-Learning is presented to the learner. There is also no doubt that both Gamification and GBL are excellent tools for increasing the learner engagement.

Arunima Majumdar

Arunima is the Marketing Head at G-Cube. She loves exploring and blogging about innovations in training & learning for the new-age corporate sector.

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