While the e-learning games continue to be a popular corporate training strategy in many organisations, not all e-learning games are successful.So what makes e-learning games successful?
The game design,
Or Is it? The storytelling….
Or the learner analysis of the game preference
Or the game mechanics
Well all of them in varying proportions….
In the success of every e-learning game, all the above mentioned factors play a vital role. In this blog let us understand about one such very important factor- the use of game mechanics in e-learning games.
What are game mechanics?
Game mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing the gameplay. While there are many game mechanics that are used by the game designers and developers, let us quickly explore some of the very popular game mechanics that are used while designing and developing e-learning games.
1.Objectives and Goals
Objectives and goals occupy the first position in my list of popular game mechanics.
When designing an e-learning game, the developers should state the objectives/ goals clearly to the learners. An e-learning game has two objectives i.e a short-term as well as a long term objective.A short-term goal can be how to pass the given task or challenge, progressing to the next levels etc.
Whereas the long-term learning goal/objective is ‘what is expected from the learner/player to achieve or learn by playing the e-learning game’. While designing the short term and long term objectives, the organisation should ensure that they are aligned to each other.
Here are certain tips that can help you in framing the objectives and goals-
1.Establish the goals clearly and ensure that the learners are aware of all the goals and objectives of the e-learning game.
2.The goals should be challenging but achievable. Ensure that the game is able ensure a sticky gaming experience and there is no disengagement or the learners don’t leave the game as they feel the objectives are not achievable.
3.Design your goals/objectives in a manner rewarding for the learners. Ensure that once the learners achieved the goals and objectives, the game should reward their actions with points badges etc. These rewards are motivation for the learners to continue the learning process.
As another popular e-learning game mechanics , are feedback. When the user proceeds through the e-learning game, it is the immediate and active feedback that guides the users. Feedback can be in the form of real-time notifications within the game when users perform a desired behavior or an action like unlock a reward, or need to complete an additional behavior in order to earn their next reward, etc. The immediate feedback in the e-learning game allows the users to take corrective actions when required and plan their strategy further.
For example, our e-learning game template ‘Wheel of fortune’ is a very successful game template extensively used for e-learning game assessment. The game is designed with immediate feedback mechanism (the learners get clear instruction on how to play the game by clicking the instruction button). Click the spin button and the wheel spins to rest on a random game point. Answering the questions correctly rewards the learner with game points and a wrong answer can result in losing them.
3.Achievements and Rewards
Achievements and rewards are my favorites among the popular game mechanics, which should be included in the e-learning game. Achievements and rewards can be linked together to create a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment among the learners. For example, the game design can include rewards like points, virtual badges etc that every learner can earn once they complete the set tasks milestones or objectives. By including the leaderboard,or by allowing the learners to share their achievements and rewards on the social media etc, the learner feels a sense of satisfaction.
E-learning games should include the common game mechanics of a timer/ countdown. A timer forces the learners to finish the set of tasks or achieve the objective within a stipulated period of time.
E-learning games like assessments or quiz templates mostly includes the timer/countdown to ensure that the learner is kept hooked to the learning topic and it creates the urgency among the learners to finish the task within the time.
The element of a healthy competition is essentially required in learning.While designing e-learning game, ensure that there are right elements of competition that can be induced.
For example, include a leaderboard in the e-learning game and the learners can see the leaderboard positions that keeps changing according to the points and rewards earned. By including the leaderboard which is a popular game mechanic, the learner strives to achieve the objectives faster and earn more points and badges to climb the leaderboard position. This creates a feeling among the peer learners to achieve something that the other player already has and thus the popular game mechanic of competition kicks in naturally.
Tip:– To further increase the element of competition, the organisation can allow the learners to share their achievements like virtual badges, trophies etc on the social media pages and websites
Challenges are powerful game mechanics to motivate people to perform an action. While including challenges, ensure that they are interesting and there are different levels to it.
For example, the learner can start by achieving a simple challenge and progress to achieve more difficult ones. But ensure that the challenges are achievable and the learner doesn’t abandon the game thinking that the challenge is not achievable. In an e-learning game, the challenges motivate the learner to come back and play it again which further helps in the reinforcement of learning.
Progress bars appeal to a player’s sense of completion.
Progress bars indicate how much a learner has progressed through the e-learning module. It’s always important for the learner to understand how far the learner is from achieving the goal or completing the module. Progress bars also allow the learners to pace their progress accordingly.These are some very popular game mechanics that are used in e-learning games to ensure that the learner enjoys the gameplay and the achieves the learning objectives and goals.
For more samples of gamification with game mechanics in e-learning, please visit our portfolio page.