Games are serious business; so is learning. With gamification of e-learning, when you take “elements” of the game and blend them with learning – for better retention, recall and application, it surely becomes a “very serious business!”

An important game element that is often used for e-learning gamification (sometimes successfully-sometimes not) is the “theme”.
On the face of it a theme (with a dash of narrative) seems like something which builds interest for the learner and makes the gamified e-learning module more interesting. The question is how do you know which theme is right for your particular e-learning module?
While it is indeed an art to get the theme right, a little bit of science does help!

To begin with, if you want your learners to feel like gamers with your gamified learning module, it is high time you think of them as gamers too!

Have you heard of “ Bartle’s taxonomy of players”?
If not, it’s time you pay a quick visit to Wikipedia and take a look at this URL

As you may have noticed, Bartle’e taxonomy classifies gamers as:
1. Killers: Players who thrive on competition with other players.
2. Achievers: Players who prefer to gain points, levels, equipment and other measures of success in a game
3. Socializers: Players who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself
4. Explorers: Players who like discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places.

If you take a closer look at this taxonomy, you can notice that it is quite easy to relate the indicative behavior to the leading competencies of certain roles and tasks in an organization. For examples, you can relate the points mentioned under “Killers” to Sales Professionals, “Achievers” to strategic leaders, “Socializers” to PR and Explorers to “R&D”. While some of the other functions and roles may not be so distinct, the Bartle’s taxonomy can easily help you put your finger on the starting point of planning a targeted theme for your gamified e-learning module based on “audience analysis” or should I say “gamer analysis”.

Thereon, a little brainstorming of ideas (which most corporates are quite good at!) can help you zero in on a bang-on theme for your gamified e-learning module.

Sounds interesting? Why not try it out now!

If you need help you can always reach me at