Who does not like a good game? It activates the mind and when it is a physical activity it helps the body to remain fit as well. In this blog post, we will be exploring how games can be used in eLearning programs to enrich the content and help learners understand concepts better.
Why Add Games?
Before we look at how games can be integrated within the eLearning content, let us understand why we need to add them. Games can be used as an ice-breaker to introduce concepts. Games can also be used as a stress-buster amidst a lot of information that’s thrust upon the learners. Games can be used by organizations to help their employees align their learning goals with the organizations’ goals.
Here are some stats:
When compared to traditional instructional training, simulation game-based training:
- Results in 20% higher self-efficiency
- Ensures 9% greater retention
- Offers 11% greater declarative knowledge
- Offer 14% greater procedural knowledge
Now let us examine some tips to create engaging game-based learning.
Think Like a Game Designer
One of the key challenges that an Instructional Designer faces when designing eLearning content is the integration of games within eLearning. “Where, Why, Which, and How” — if the ID co-relates these questions with the proposed game element it becomes easier in structuring the eLearning content. Learning experts recommend the ID to think like a game designer and integrate games that will work in synergy with the rest of the learning content.
Add the Fun Element
No one wants a boring quiz or a generic ‘match the following’ activity. When you choose to integrate a game within your eLearning content, make it fun, let the learner enjoy while learning. Among the many learning apps that I have come across. I found an app by an Indian company called Knudge that’s designed to help improve English language skills. The app gamifies learning and uses interesting mini-games that motivate users to complete tasks and learn new words. See this screen below that has a panda climbing atop a tree. For every wrong guess the learner makes, the panda slips down. When the user gives correct answers, the panda climbs up.
Social Sharing & Collaboration
Have you ever wondered how social networking websites have grown so fast so soon? It is our innate nature to feel wanted and admired by others that has made Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, such a huge success. When you design gamified learning, check if the client will allow social sharing. This could be for an internal proprietary intranet, or a LMS that’s social-friendly. Allowing learners within a group to challenge others to complete games and share points on a leaderboard is a great way to foster learning. By incorporating digital badges as rewards, you can further improve interactivity and learner engagement.
Watch renowned tech-evangelist and thought-leader Rashim Mogha share her inputs on social learning and learning as a service in this interesting video.
Progress from Easy to Tough
Make the questions associated with the game element tougher as the learner progresses. Don’t put out the tougher questions upfront. If you can engineer the questions linked to the games to be adaptive it will be a better learning experience. In adaptive assessments the questions are triggered based on the skills of the learner. If the learner answers the questions correctly make the questions tougher. If the learner answers the questions incorrectly the next set of questions should proportionately be easier for the learner to complete the game.
Game-Based Learning that Empowers the Learner
Empower your learners and let them learn through scenario-based games. By completing such assessments that focus on their problem-solving skills, learners understand the concepts better and help them become experts on the topic. Put the learner in control and indicate learner progress at each step. It is also important to ensure that users/learners clearly know how to complete the game. It should be intuitive and not a chore to complete the game.
Align Learner and Organizational Goals
What is the purpose of a creating an eLearning program?
- It should help learners achieve specific objectives that are laid out at the beginning of the program.
- If it is designed for employees within the organization, it should help them acquire new skills and work with greater efficiency.
- It should be less expensive and more efficient than a regular instructor-led training program.
The games that are integrated within the learning program should be aligned with the objectives set out in the program and be linked to the organization’s goals of corporate learning and financial growth. The games should not be a cosmetic addition and add genuine value to the program.
User Experience in Game-Based Learning
Ideally, this should have been the first tip, but I would prefer to push it down right to the bottom to add recall value. Be it an app, a website, or a game, or forget technology, it can be something as mundane as a meal in a restaurant, ‘user experience’ is the buzz-word. Some questions that you should answer when designing the game-based learning:
- What does this game do?
- Does it add any value to the learners/users of the program?
- Is the game in sync with the rest of the learning content?
- Is the branding consistent?
- Are the instructions clear?
- Does the game and the eLearning program work seamlessly across different devices?
The illustration below reproduced from the Gamasutra blog offers insight on the stages of game design and the importance of user experience.
Offer learners an immersive gaming experience within the eLearning program so that it helps them remember the core content of the program and lets them achieve the pre-determined learning outcomes.
At Origin, we have created game-based learning programs for several organizations across industries. Would you be interested in helping us create a game-based learning module for your employees or a mobile-first game-based learning app for your clients? We can help you meet all your game-based learning requirements. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you create an immersive game-based learning experience.