The Power of eLearning Gamification

Our content is reader supported, which means when you buy from links you click on, we may earn a commission.

What’s Gamification?

Gamification is the use of game mechanics and design to supplement non-game situations by increasing engagement, participation, problem-solving and competition. In this sense, gamifying does not create anything new, it only amplifies the effect of an existing experience by applying the motivational techniques that make games engaging and competitive.

Gamification is a hot trend in eLearning in addition to microlearning and adaptive learning. Each of these strategies help learners engage with online course content.

Gamification vs. Game Based Learning

The difference between gamification and game-based learning is that the latter calls for the learner to make up games that they learn through, or utilize commercially made learning games made for that purpose. Gamification seeks to use the countless hours that gamers involuntarily spend gaming to harness learning in an online course.

Benefits of Gamification in eLearning

Here are the top benefits of adopting gamification:

1. The learner gets a sense of ownership over their learning owing to the interactive nature of gamification.

2. Failure ceases to be an insurmountable obstacle because the learner can try again after a failure.

3. Learning becomes more fun and engaging.

4. Learners can visualize their progress through progress indicators, and this serves as a motivator as well.

5. Learners can uncover an inherent motivation for learning new ideas and concepts through less rigid gamification strategies. There are two forms of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation: This occurs when a student participates because they enjoy an activity. This is purely voluntary and nor dependent on the expectation of a reward.
  • Extrinsic motivation: This involves an external goal that a learner is trying to reach. For example, getting a badge or the most points.

6. Learners are allowed to explore different characters/ avatars, which is at some point a level of self-expression.

7. Elearning gamification provides immediate feedback for learners to plow back and iron out learning challenges.

8. Finally, learners can use the same problem ques of gaming to solve problems outside the online training. Analysis, completion, and working on their craft consistently is a useful life tool, not just an aid for learning.

Disadvantages of Gamification in Education

1. It can be an additional expense when figuring out the costs of creating an online course.

2. For it to be effective, the gamification has to support the existing curriculum. If a course creator fails to do so, this impedes the learning process.

3. Gamification can lead to over stimulation and gaming addiction.

4. Learners might waste a lot of time trying to gain excellent results and feedback from one level before moving on to the next.

5. Learners with lower literacy levels or those still learning English may struggle with the instruction.

6. Finally, other important learning aspects might end up being shelved to allow the budget to cater for gamification.

Ways To Create Gamification Strategies

As with other learning tools, care has to be taken to adopt gamification strategies in a way that aids education at the various levels of study. Here are a few strategies for creating gamification in your elearning:

1. Experience points

Gamification uses level upgrading through the use of XP points (experience points). Each learner starts at zero XP points and each assignment is worth a number of XP points. A learner accumulates more points as they move through the online course.

2. Badge awards for students

Learners can get badges for accomplishments. Depending on the level of study, you can customize these with bonus points, levels, and so on to increase significance and display the perfect level of skill.

3. Leaderboard

Another useful tool is a leaderboard, which basically recognizes the learners doing well, be it in performance, assignment submission learner behavior, amount of logged in time and so on.

Each learner can see their position on the leaderboard, which in turn leads to them wanting to improve their position by studying more, finishing assignments on time, improving daily interaction with the course and so on. All these are actions that will enhance learning.

Elements of Gamification

For gamification to be as effective as it should be in learning, it needs to bring together several different components. These include the following:

1. Integration of video games in the curriculum

Firstly, games allow learners to fail, adjust, persevere and keep trying. A bad grade can demotivate a learner to a point where they accept they are “just bad at something”.

Games, on the other hand, take the pressure off and encourage learners to try and get better at each try.

In addition, games give learners a sense of urgency and the anticipation of instantaneous feedback. This makes learners push harder to do better.

2. Bring on the competition

Secondly, a little competition is great for learning. Conversely, human beings thrive on positive affirmation. Gamifying stirs a little competition and when accompanied by a reward at the end of it (be it a badge, having the learner’s name on the leader board or even being named) can be gratifying and incentive enough to encourage learning.

On the downside, learners that are less competent can feel left out of the competitive learning and withdraw from the process entirely. For this reason, competition should be used sparingly and as an option. Not everyone has to participate out in ‘public’. They can just complete the course privately if they’d rather.

3. Enhance teamwork

Lastly, teamwork can be good. Depending on your online course platform, you may be able to create a team environment by awarding group tasks, with group-based reward systems. That way it becomes a group effort as opposed to independently competing against each other.

Not only does this encourage collaboration, but it also ensures the more competent learners help the weaker ones along.

4. Participation in the decision making

In addition, gamification can give learners a voice and a sense of control over their learning process through voting. They can add their voice to the lessons that helped the most. Having a say in the learning process improves the confidence of learner levels and increases their willingness to participate and learn.

5. Time Pressure

Allotting a task with a timeline attached to it ensures learners focus on one activity at a time in order to complete it in good time. Here, the Parkinson’s Law applies; work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Gamification applies a time pressure which gets learners more excited to complete a task within the given time, or even earlier for bonus points.

Best Practices For Gamification

1. Consider learner needs

For gamification to work effectively, you’ll need to consider your learner’s interests, needs and levels. If you place them on a lower level, they’ll get bored and lose interest, if the level is too advanced, they may feel discouraged and give up altogether. Your best bet is to start at a comfortable level and gradually escalate.

2. Use exciting language

Something else you can do to get learners raring to go is using different language. You can call their groups ‘leagues’ instead of a team. You can call a mathematical puzzle an ‘’investigation” and so on. This is more useful and effective in lower levels than in higher levels of learning, but it’s still worth trying.

3. Innovative rewards

For higher levels of learning, bonus points and gold stars do not mean as much as say opting out of a quiz or getting extra credit. Ensure you align your reward system to things and concepts that your learners find irresistible enough to work harder for.

FAQs on Gamification

What is an example of gamification?

A common example of gamification is the use of leaderboards, which encourages users to compete with one another to earn the highest score. Other examples include the use of badges and achievements, which recognize users for completing certain tasks, and the use of virtual currency, which can be used to purchase items or unlock new content.

What are gamification techniques?

Gamification techniques are methods used to make tasks or activities more engaging and fun. By gamifying something, we can increase people’s motivation to complete the task at hand.

Gamification techniques can be used in a variety of settings, from the classroom to the workplace. Some common gamification techniques include offering rewards for completed tasks, providing leaderboards to track progress, and adding a competitive element to the activity.

What is gamification in learning and education?

Gamification in learning and education can make learning more fun and engaging. It has been used in a variety of settings, including classrooms, corporate training, and museum exhibits.

Common gamification elements include points, badges, leaderboards, and high scores. By incorporating these elements into learning experiences, gamification can make even the driest material more engaging and enjoyable.

Gamification can also motivate learners to persist in activities that they might otherwise find tedious or difficult. While gamification is often used to make learning more fun, it can also be used to achieve more serious educational goals such as increasing student engagement or improving retention rates.

What are gamification tools?

Gamification tools can be anything from simple points and badges to more complex leaderboards and virtual currencies. The idea is that by adding a bit of fun and competition, you can make tasks that might otherwise be dull more engaging.

While gamification is often used in the business world – as a way to increase employee productivity, for example – it can also be employed in other areas, such as education and personal fitness.

What are the elements of gamification?

The elements of gamification can include points, badges, leaderboards, virtual currencies, and rewards. When used effectively, gamification can encourage users to persist in difficult tasks, learn new information, or explore new content.

When designing a gamified system, it is important to consider the user’s goals and motivations. For example, if the goal is to encourage users to exercise more, then elements such as points and leaderboards may not be as effective as elements that provide immediate feedback or create a sense of social competition.

What is LMS gamification?

LMS gamification can be used in both formal and informal learning environments, and it has been shown to be an effective way to increase learner motivation, engagement, and retention. If you’re looking for a way to add some excitement to your learning management system, LMS gamification may be the answer.

Is gamification effective in teaching?

In education, gamification has been used to increase student’s engagement and motivation levels. While gamification can be effective, there is no clear evidence that it leads to better learning outcomes.

Gamification may work best when it is used as a supplement to other more traditional teaching methods. For example, if students are already motivated to learn the material, gamification can help them to stay on track and focus on the task at hand. However, if students are not interested in the subject matter, gamification alone is unlikely to be enough to engage them.

What does gamification mean in marketing?

In marketing, gamification can take many forms, from social media contests to loyalty programs. The goal of gamification is to encourage engagement with a product or service by making it more fun and interactive. By adding a sense of competition or achievement, gamification can make even the most mundane tasks feel like a game.

Which is an example of gamification in social media?

One example of gamification is when social media platforms award users virtual points, badges, or other rewards for completing certain tasks or achieving certain goals. This can include posting regularly, inviting friends to join the platform, or engaging in other activities that contribute to the platform’s growth.

Gamification is a popular way to keep users coming back to a social media site, as it provides a sense of accomplishment and creates a sense of competition. For example, many people are motivated to keep using a social media platform if they are able to accumulate more virtual “points” than their friends.

In Conclusion

Gamification should not lose sight of its purpose, which is to help facilitate learning. You still need to have moments of reflection to gauge what’s been learned, how it can be applied, and what learners can expect from similar lessons as well.

Remember, gamification only enhances the curriculum. It doesn’t replace it in its entirety. Learners should still be able to master their courses on the various levels they are on or higher.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

Grow faster with free step-by-step training for online course founders.

Access Course Method Pro progress tracking and Strategic Planners
+ gain inspiration from successful course creators in weekly emails.

Unsubscribe at any time.