Gamified e-learning is very effective when implemented and applied properly. However, gamification of learning can also be disastrous for learners and developers, when certain fundamentals are not factored in.

Before you start gamified e-learning design cum development ensure that you don’t make the following mistakes.

1. Not understanding the audience

E-learning gamification can be a failed strategy if you don’t understand the target audience properly. Before jumping into the designing of e-learning gamification, make sure that you have done a complete analysis of the target audience.  

Some of the important considerations you can factor in are:
•What is the existing level of knowledge of the learners about the learning topic?
•The demographic classification of the learners
•Their technical know-how
•Intrinsic and  extrinsic motivators that can bring the desired change or make them perform the desired actions 

Understanding the audience strengthens the designing process of gamified e-learning.  Like, understanding what can motivate the learners to bring the desired behaviour change can help the organisation to include the appropriate game elements in the gamified e-learning. For example, recently we developed a gamified e-learning module on the workers’ health and safety. The gamified e-learning module comprised of several levels and included the game element of earning safety level badges as rewards. The thought of earning the safety level badges could induce motivation among the learners to continue the learning process and complete the module. The badges helped in creating a sense of strong achievement among the learners.

2.Only fun and no learning

Do you know that ignoring the learning objectives in your gamified e-learning can derail the entire learning process?

While designing the gamified e-learning, there are high chances that the instructional designers can lose their focus from the learning objectives and spend more time on including only the game elements to bring fun and enjoyment.

Remember that the game elements and mechanics are used only to help the learners achieve the desired outcome and the learning objectives should be at the heart of the gamified e-learning module. For this reason, you need to start with clear learning objectives and then determine how you can use the game elements and mechanics to fit it around the learning objectives.

2.1 No clarity on the goals

While designing a gamified e-learning module, ensure that the learning goals and objectives are clearly stated. Without clarity on the learning goals and objectives, the learner might feel lost in the learning process.  Hence I recommend that your gamified e-learning module lists down the learning objectives and make the learner well aware of the same. For example, while designing gamified e-learning, include a dedicated icon when clicked lists down the learning objectives. To create a good gamified e-learning course, you need to make sure that the game is aligned with the learning objectives of the course

3.Too many or too few rewards

Gamified e-learning is successful when there is the correct and best use of the game elements like points, badges leaderboards etc. Rewards are necessary as they are recognition for completing the tasks or achieving the milestones by the learners, but integrating too many rewards will only make the learners not value the rewards and too few rewards will result in demotivation for the learners.

4. Complex navigation

While gamifying the e-learning course ensure that the navigation is butter smooth. Complex and cluttered navigation can make the learning experience highly disengaging. For example, they must be free to progress to the next levels and complete the tasks without cluttered pages and misplaced buttons hindering the learning experience. Before the start of the gamified e-learning, I recommend that you make the learner aware of using the navigation and what the different icons and buttons are for. Also, I recommend maintaining consistency in the navigation set up throughout the gamified e-learning.

5.Not visually appealing

While developing the gamified e-learning, ensure that you make the learning visually appealing to the learners. I recommend the organisation  to choose an appropriate color palette and include visual elements like rich, meaningful graphics, object animations etc to make it visually appealing to the learners. But a word of caution here is to ensure, a proper balance between a good & simple design along with the focus on learning elements to ensure the objectives of gamified e-learning are adhered to.

6. Not choosing the right authoring tool

Before developing gamified e-learning, ensure that you have the right authoring tool supporting all the needed functions. Like, if the organisation wants to develop a complex gamified e-learning scenario, the organisation should check to identify if the current authoring tool or the technology supports it. Choosing the right authoring helps the organisation to save time as well as the cost of development. 

If you are planning to design and implement e-learning gamification for corporate training,  make sure that you avoid these mistakes. Feel free to share your suggestions and recommendations using the comment box below.