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The Secret to Great Gamified and Game-Based Learning Design

behavioral science game-based learning gamification motivation Dec 26, 2022

Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer 

What makes your learners tick? 

Gamified and game-based learning (GBL) design are effective tools to make training engaging and fun, because they use the dynamics of games, such as narrative, collaboration, chance, and progress, to tap into learners’ intrinsic desires to master and complete tasks. 

When done well, gamification makes training more engaging because they require 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 a reaction 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. Do you know 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. 

5 Steps to get you started:  

  1. Start small. Start with a program that you’ve already vetted.
  2. Determine the “types” of learners who typically are asked to take the program.  
  3. Test one or two game mechanics.  
  4. Assess what works and what doesn’t.  
  5. Change it. Try again.  

Before you know it… you’ll feel confident enough to tackle a full-blown gamified project design. 

And that's secret to great gamification design - effectively matching game mechanics to the motivations of your players - it's NOT a "one size fits all" solution. 

Now you can have a copy of your very own persona matching game. Download it now and play with your friends and colleagues. 

Download your FREE copy of The Match-a-Mo Game HERE.

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