What Makes Your Learners Tick? (The Secret to Gamification Design)

by Monica Cornetti
CEO, Sententia Gamification

Gamification is an effective tool to make training engaging and fun, because it uses the dynamics of games, such as collaboration, chance, and progress, to tap into learners’ intrinsic desires to master and complete tasks.

When done well, gamification makes training more engaging because it requires participants to complete a challenge, helps them see their progression, and gives them instant feedback and reinforcement.

However, it is important to recognize and address common obstacles that can crop up when using gamification in training. The obstacles include failing to identify why gamification is being used and not knowing whom you are designing for.

Because gamification relies on triggering an action in learners, the key to success is developing solid learner personas. We’ve found that most organizations don’t do assessments of who the players are and what motivates them. What makes your people tick?

Many “gamified” Learning Management Systems rely solely on the earning of points and badges or earning status on leaderboards. Those elements are just the tip of the iceberg and appeal only to a small segment of learners. Plus, if the earning of points and badges is not tied to something else, learners will soon get bored with the process.

If you want to add gamification to your training, start small. Start with a program that you’ve already vetted. One in which you can easily determine the “types” of learners who typically are asked to take the program. Then test one or two game mechanics. Assess what works and what doesn’t. Change it. Try again. Before you know it… you’ll feel confident enough to tackle a full-blown gamification project design.

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