What is Gamification in E-Learning?


Gamification is a concept in which elements commonly used in and associated with games are brought into a non-game environment.

In gamification, game mechanisms and motivational methods are adapted to make the environment more competitive and to change the behavior of those involved in a previously intended direction.

Examples of gamification in everyday life are numerous: Supermarkets hand out points to loyal customers, smartwatches give positive feedback for kilometers walked, and a well-known international café chain distributes stars in its app to customers who get a coffee.

How can gamification be used in learning?

Gamification can be used to increase motivation, train and engage employees, optimize workflows, and attract both young and older professionals.

The potential of gamification in learning can be illustrated by four different levers.

  1. Motivation: The prospect of rewards and recognition is a motivating factor for many employees.
  2. Sense of competition: Most people have an inner ambition and a natural drive to compete with themselves or others and win games.
  3. Calls to action: Employees are prompted to complete tasks. Gamified features within an app or platform help guide them and show them where they are and where they can go.
  4. Sense of control: Gamified tasks make employees feel in control, which appeals to their intrinsic motivation.

What are the benefits of gamification of learning?

When implemented properly, gamification can significantly increase employee productivity and engagement and become a powerful tool that promotes a positive environment. The following benefits can be realized:

  1. Increasing motivation: The use of goals, achievements and reward systems promotes motivation, increases satisfaction and boosts performance.
  2. Improving productivity: a direct result of a more relaxed and collaborative environment and increased motivation.
  3. Strengthening communication: Communication between different teams and departments often improves and becomes more fluid.
  4. Encouraging employee engagement: Gamification increases the sense of belonging to the team and identification with the company and its goals.
  5. Introducing innovative dynamics: game-based learning in the development of new skills promotes the growth of both the company and the employee, ultimately leading to potential organizational innovations.
  6. Development of specific skills: gamification of training programs helps the workforce learn effectively.
  7. Transparency of individual performance: rankings, scores, levels, and badges can be used to make performance and improvement visible, especially in areas where performance is difficult to measure, such as learning and skill building.
  8. Conveying a corporate image: Gamification of everyday work helps to position the company as an innovative and future-oriented employer and to project such an image to the outside world.

What are the risks of gamification in learning?

The risks of gamification are rather minor, but should be taken into account to avoid mistakes as much as possible:

  1. Overuse: Gamification can be very effective. But sometimes less is more, because overuse of gamifying elements can lead to employee stress and fatigue
  2. Poor execution: elements need to be used in the right place to ensure business objectives are met
  3. Viewed as a panacea: Gamification can be a useful element for ambitious goals such as changing a corporate culture, but it must be flanked by many other measures.

What features come into play when gamifying learning?

Learning points: Allowing learners to earn points for each learning chapter they complete gives them a better sense of their own learning performance.

Leaderboards: Intra-team leaderboards provide friendly competition among colleagues.

Learning goals: The ability to set your own learning goals creates commitment and is an added incentive to keep at it.

Animations: The reward center in the human brain can be stimulated by an appealing and positively designed visualization when certain milestones or learning goals are reached.

What use cases does gamification offer in education and training?

The use cases for gamification are many and varied. Here are three examples:

More exciting onboarding:

The first day is usually associated with mixed feelings. On the one hand, you're excited and looking forward to the new colleagues and challenges. On the other hand, disillusionment quickly sets in if the first hours and days are spent just watching boring videos and reading manuals. Gamification in onboarding can help solve this problem.

Better results in training:

Companies can create win-win situations when employee engagement is increased through interactive and gamified methods. Learning is more fun this way and employees tend to remember the knowledge imparted better.

More engaging routine training sessions

Most employees are reluctant to participate in safety or compliance training, even though the knowledge imparted is highly relevant. If the learning process is made more entertaining through gamification, employees will be better able to internalize the information.

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edyoucated is funded by leading research institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB)