4 Gamification Tips to Level Up Your Program Authoring! 👾

Jit Hin

The Purpose of Gamification in Learning

Gamification broadly refers to the incorporation of gaming elements and principles into non-game contexts. We utilize gamification in learning to stimulate learner motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic) to increase engagement and retention levels.

In this article, we will be sharing four key gamification elements that you can easily apply to your next Gnowbe program. Discover how to elevate learning experiences using the 4Cs – Context, Curiosity, Challenge, and Consequence!

| The Element of Context

Like how most games begin with a narrative that gives players some context about WHY they should play the game, so too should you start your Gnowbe program off by sharing with learners why they should be learning from your program. The sharing of context is crucial in instilling meaning and relevance for the learner – it helps build their intrinsic motivation and empowers them to take greater ownership of their learning.

Here’s a tip on context setting

  • Give learners a sense of purpose early on by sharing the bigger picture behind their learning with them. Help them feel like they are part of something greater than themselves and emphasize the results of their efforts. Think about how you can inspire them towards a goal and let them know that they are doing something that matters. Remember, players are always more inclined to slay the dragon if they understand that they are saving the world!
Example of setting context for your learners.

| The Element of Curiosity

Curiosity is a distinctive feature of the human experience and is a potent learning motivator. It is the natural driving force behind our need to investigate the unknown and fill the gaps in our knowledge. Think about how an in-game mystery box always begs to be opened, or how being thrown into a fantasy open world spurs you to explore it. Invoking curiosity within our learners helps draw their attention and primes them to be more receptive to new information, ultimately making for more effective learning!

Here are some tips

  • Expose knowledge gaps early. Design scenario-based Q&As or polls to question current assumptions and highlight misconceptions. These are powerful ways to stimulate learners’ curiosity and interest in topics they usually consider themselves to be knowledgeable in! Essentially, getting learners to recognize their knowledge gaps is akin to revealing a mental mystery box – one their information-seeking brain will innately desire to unravel!
Examples of how we can use MCQ or Q&A actions to expose knowledge gaps.

  • Another technique to induce curiosity is to randomly sprinkle trivia quizzes or fun facts throughout your program to engage learners with interesting (yet relevant) information. These little easter eggs inject an element of surprise into the learning experience, and the unpredictability factor lends itself well to our novelty-seeking behavior. Do this well, and you will have a much easier time capturing your learners’ attention and maintaining their interest!
Examples of easter eggs in a program.

| The Element of Challenge

Challenges provide an opportunity for people to put their knowledge/skills to the test. We relish challenges as there is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with overcoming obstacles and solving problems. Recall your experiences with Sudoku puzzles, escape rooms, or those Candy Crush levels that just won’t seem to end! Thus, consider challenging learners as part of the learning process to keep things exciting and keep them engaged in the content being taught.

Here are some tips

  • Craft thought-provoking questions and activities. The idea of a challenge here isn’t just simply posing conundrums or setting impossible tasks for learners to attempt. Instead, think more along the lines of how you can engage learners to think critically about your content. Providing the appropriate level of challenge helps to stimulate motivation – the intention here is to give learners a short mental workout to energize, not to exhaust!
Examples of some challenging questions and activities.
  • Choose to create timed assessments to make it more challenging for learners. A time constraint adds another dimension to the activity by creating a sense of urgency that helps keep learners focused on the task at hand. Remember to make the time restriction realistic – you wouldn’t want to set a 5-minute timer on a 30-question assessment!
Example of a timed assessment.

| The Element of Consequence

The idea of consequence here is to design for the learner’s extrinsic motivation. Think of how games use rewards or punishments to nudge players towards a desired behavior (e.g., awarding rare items after a successful mission or taking away ‘lives’ when a player fails a level). These mechanisms give players a reason to seek progression as a result of separable outcomes. Similarly, in the design of your Gnowbe programs, think about how you can connect consequences to your learner’s overall learning experience to induce motivation and boost engagement!

Here are some ideas

  • Utilize the leaderboard to enable social comparison and recognition. Everyone wants to be the leader or recognized among their peers as performing well. Leverage Gnowbe’s ‘Weekly Journey’ leaderboard to give visibility to top performers across the learning community! Leaderboards spur learners to compete for first-place status and be more publicly recognized, which in turn can inspire healthy competition and drive up engagement levels!
Example of Gnowbe's 'Weekly Journey' leaderboard.

  • Set up a reward mechanism. Rewards are a powerful incentivization tool that helps to motivate learners towards an end goal. However, for rewards to work effectively, you will need to understand your learners well to entice them with the right rewards. Remember, inform learners early in your program that they are eligible for rewards and provide clear instructions on how they might attain them!
Examples of how you can set up a reward system in your Gnowbe program.

In conclusion, a comprehensive gamification design will help push the right buttons (no pun intended) to keep learners engaged. Balance the different elements out so that everyone can find a little something in your program that resonates with them!

If you have any questions, we’ll love to hear from you. Contact the Gnowbe team here!

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