The e-learning games have taken the learning industry by storm as they promise to keep the learner engagement and interactivity high while achieving the learning objectives. But developing an e-learning game and making sure it achieves the learning objective is not an easy task.
There are several mistakes or pitfalls that should be avoided while designing an e-learning game. Hence, let us very quickly move to understand the mistakes to avoid while designing an e-learning game.
1.Failing to understand the target audience
The e-learning game designer chooses a game design that he likes without understanding the target audience. This is one of the big mistake that any e-learning game designer can commit.
In many of my previous blogs, I have always stressed on the importance of understanding your target audience before implementing e-learning. Not all games can work with every type of learners. Hence it becomes important to understand the target learners and the learning goals first. For a detailed reading on this, you can visit my blog here to understand the different type of players/learners and how to design the games accordingly.
Tip: Conduct a thorough analysis of the target learners-their age group, location, level of knowledge etc. I recommend to conduct an in-depth interview (if possible) to understand the expectations of the learners and the type of players and design the games accordingly.
2. Missing the learning objective
Playing games is fun and enjoyment! . But that doesn’t mean that an e-learning game designer can compromise on the learning objectives to bring more fun elements to the screen. The fun elements in the e-learning games are only to supplement the learning process to make it more engaging and interesting for the learners. The objective of the e-learning game should be linked to the overall business objective.
Tip: Ensure that the learning objectives are clearly stated and the game designer is not losing the focus on them.
3. Choosing a complex design
By implementing e-learning games, the organisation aims to make the learning experience more immersive and enjoyable. Hence, it is recommended to make the game design a simple one. Let’s not forget that the objective of the e-learning game is to make the learners achieve the learning goals. A complex design structure can create unwanted confusion and roadblocks to the learners path in achieving the objective.
Remember that while designing an e-learning game, the designer walks on a tight path of maintaining a fine balance between creating an experience but not controlling them tight.
Tip: Start a minimalistic approach in game design where you’re including only the basic and most needed game elements and mechanics. Once the designer feels the confidence that a watertight implementable structure is formed and the e-learning game can achieve the learning objectives, then it is the time to experiment by adding or reducing characters, multimedia graphics, game mechanics and game elements etc.
4.Making the e-learning game experience non-challenging
While designing e-learning game, ensure that the learners are able to relate to the learning experience.
Have you noticed that the games that you play across your mobile devices progresses through the increasing levels of difficulty and challenges. When the first few levels are made easy, it helps in making the player/learner comfortable and hooked to the game play. Similar principle of design should be applied in e-learning games. The first few levels should be made easy and at the higher levels, the learners must be made to face challenges that are more difficult to achieve because of which they will be ready to invest more time and effort. This ensures the designers to enable a sticky learning experience without making it a boring one.
Apart from the increasing difficulty of the various set challenges and tasks, there is always the right use of game elements and game mechanics combined with multimedia content that contributes to an engaging learning experience.
Tip: Plan the game elements and mechanics that should be included in the e-learning game and ensure that they don’t overlook the learning objectives.
5.Failure to on board the players
So, you have finished developing the e-learning game, now how do you plan to on board the players/learners to the game? Before the game play is opened to every learners, it is important to make them understand the game. Ensure that there are guidelines and instructions or tutorials that explains about the game play and clear information on the objectives to be achieved.
Tip: The organisation can record the game play and allow the learner to view them as a tutorial. At the required stages of the game, state the objectives and directions for the learner also make the learners go through the instructions and guidelines before entering the game play.
6. Not considering e-learning game as a specific genre
While designing e-learning games, the designer should understand that e-learning games and the regular games are different. The objective of a commercial game is only fun and a sticky gaming experience. But an e-learning game has a primary learning objective to be achieved by the learner which is supplemented by a fun and immersive game play . Hence the designer should be well aware of this pitfall as there are chances that the designer can unintentionally slip into this mode.
7.Not testing the e-learning game
Here at XLPro e-learning, we never skip the testing phase in the design and development process. With deadlines to meet, there are known instances of skipping the stage of testing their product(e-learning game) . It is highly recommended to test the e-learning game to ensure that there is a proper balance of the learning content and game play and the e-learning game achieves the learning objectives.
Tip: While I am sure that the organizations have a quality testing team to do this, I recommend to choose a small group of learners from the target learners to test the e-learning game. Ensure that there is a feedback mechanism to collect the user feedback and implement them.