Gamification is the application of game design principles as an intervention in everyday practices. It involves applying patterns of game design on seeming boring chores and transforming them into exciting and fun engagement for the user.
In a learning space, gamification can be effectively used to create engaging learning experiences for the learner. Learning challenges can be transformed into exciting games which allow the adult learner to follow their own learning path.
Playing a game involves planning and practice, making mistakes and learning from them, a goal oriented journey, a self-paced and self-directed approach… It is practical and involves experimentation, observation, conceptualization and application. All these qualities are what make a good learning solution.
Gamification of a learning challenge allows the player to approach a learning challenge not as a chore but as a challenge that promises instant gratification.
Example1: One of the examples of a chore being transformed into an engaging gratifying experience resulting in an effective learning is the ‘Currency Checker game’.
An International Bank based out of UK had a challenge in training their employees in ‘Verification of Currency’. This challenge was converted into fast paced ‘Eye for detail‘game where the player had to quickly identify the anomalies and errors in the currencies. This time based challenge rewarded the player with points and badges for recognition of their skills. The players ended up practicing it many times over without feeling the burden, fatigue or boredom usually associated with such tasks.
Example 2: Another example of training employees on following procedures for a mundane yet critical task of filling out log book that maintains record of people who have had incidents of vomiting and diarrhoea.
This was converted into Film Noir style Detective game, where the player had to navigate on a ship, talk to people, gather information and fill out the log book. The player received rewards and recognition and a sense of achievement on successful completion of the game. An element of fantasy and imagination transforms the learning into a more meaningful and engaging experience. In the process the player also learnt the importance of filling out the log book and the procedure of filling it.
Feedback from real users.
Some qualitative feedback from people who played our cheque verification and currency verification games:
“When I started, I could hardly find errors in a cheque, but after practice, I could track errors quite easily. So definitely playing over again I would look forward to improving my scores and reducing the errors.”
“It made me sit back and concentrate to ensure good scores.”
“A good stress buster.”
“ I did not realize that I was being trained.”
“After playing for the first time you come to know your weaknesses and you can wipe out those weaknesses and score full marks (in the next round).”
Here is a graph (real data) that shows how users’ score increases over sessions of playing the game.
By virtue of playing the game five times, most learners spent more than an hour in the learning content.
The score is a reflection of the learner’s ability to do the job in the game. Therefore, the progressive increase in scores over the first four sessions is indicative of improvement in skills.
While there isn’t any specific information about the dip in score in the fifth attempt, it may be attributed to fatigue (the sessions were all back-to-back).