5 Ways Gamification Can Improve Learning

By: Duncan Ryan - Guest Contributor on March 7, 2022

Gamification is currently one of the largest trends in education. The concept of using game-like mechanisms to encourage learning has proven to be extremely effective. As a result, it is now widely used in educational settings ranging from primary school classrooms to business training modules. Here’s what you need to know about gamification and how it can improve learning outcomes.

1. What is gamification?

Gamification is the application of game mechanics in non-game contexts. In terms of education, gamification refers to the use of these mechanics to improve learning outcomes. A good gamification example in education is the language learning platform Duolingo, which uses competitive leagues, experience points, and other game-like mechanics to help its users learn new languages.

2. Five benefits of gamification in education

2.1 Higher levels of engagement

One of the largest benefits of gamification in the classroom is its ability to engage students more effectively than traditional coursework. Gamified e-learning modules promote engagement by creating challenges and tracking users’ progress as they learn. As students master learning materials, they receive recognition for their achievements and gradually progress to more challenging lessons.

Gamification also frequently uses storytelling to guide students through the learning experience. Together, these techniques help students to engage with the course materials and promote focus on the lessons at hand.

2.2 Improved retention

Gamified learning also helps students retain more of what they learn. Studies of employees gaining skills with e-learning modules show that gamification increases knowledge retention by approximately 40 percent. As a result, gamification is an extremely effective strategy for ensuring that students remember what they learn well after the end of their courses.

2.3 Connects learning to the real world

In addition to making learning more fun, gamification in education is also an excellent way to connect lessons to real-world problems and applications. The rewards and challenges of gamified learning create a risk-free environment in which students can learn how to apply the knowledge or skills they’re gaining. When called upon to use these skills in real life, students will better understand how they can apply them successfully.

2.4 Provides instant feedback and reinforcement

When students learn through game-like interactive play, they receive feedback on their answers instantly. This allows wrong answers to be corrected quickly, while right answers are rewarded with positive reinforcement. With gamified learning, students never have to wait to find out how well they’re doing or how they can improve.

2.5 Gets students hooked on learning

A final but extremely important benefit of gamification in education is the fact that it can make learning an almost addictive experience. Game mechanics such as rewards and competition trigger dopamine release in the brain, making the learning process far more enjoyable. Because of this, students have the opportunity to become hooked on learning and mastering new skills.

3. How does gamification align with other educational tools?

Gamified education is one of many useful learning strategies. To help students learn in the most effective manner, instructors should combine several of these strategies. Traditional classroom instruction, for example, is still the best method for teaching less technical and skill-based subjects. Often, a combination of traditional instruction and gamified e-learning can help students absorb and retain information better than either approach would individually.

Gamification also dovetails with other innovative teaching approaches. Skills-based learning, for instance, is a natural complement to gamification. Rather than information or test scores, this teaching approach focuses on specific, useful skills. When combined with game mechanics, skills-based learning can help students rapidly improve in skills they will need to remain competitive in the job market.

4. Why should small businesses care about gamified learning?

Gamified learning may sound like a wonderful teaching tool for young students, but it also has very real benefits for small businesses attempting to teach their workers new skills. Gamified training creates a positive sense of competition around learning skills.

When used by small businesses, a gamified learning approach can help employees pick up new capabilities rapidly without feeling bored or burdened with traditional educational materials. Gamification is even one of the best methods for retraining older workers with modern, up-to-date skills.

The principles of gamification can also be applied beyond training. Making a game out of performance can improve employee productivity. Rewarding top performers and encouraging positive behaviors on the job will help your employees meet goals. As in education, gamification in the wider workplace can also help keep employees engaged.

5. How to implement gamification in employee training

The first step in implementing gamified learning in your organization is defining the educational goals of your course or training module. Knowing what skills or information you want your employees to learn will help you build gamified lessons effectively.

From there, you’ll need to decide on the structure of your gamified lessons. Ideally, a gamified course should contain a narrative or storytelling structure, a sense of progression, and a rapid feedback mechanism. It’s also important for participants to have both autonomy to experiment and freedom to fail within the lesson. These elements will keep workers engaged and help them quickly master course materials.

With that said, there are a number of software tools meant specifically to create gamified learning experiences. Many of these resources target ongoing education in business, allowing small businesses to upskill their workers with gamified learning. These tools are known as learning management systems, or LMSs for short. Check out a list of top LMS software on Software Advice.

More resources to explore on Software Advice

The next step in implementing gamified learning in your SMB is to use software resources to begin creating courses that incorporate the principles of gamification. Below, you’ll find a list of helpful resources to get you started: