Training Leader's Guide- How to Design a Successful Gamification Experience for Your Learners?

Top 4 Gamification Techniques

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Designing your successful gamification experience is a tricky affair. Exact replication of best of the strategies and tools may not be able to replicate success, induce employee engagement or increase motivation. Choosing the right gamification ideas needs your careful attention. Let's take a look at some of the gamification techniques that can come to your rescue.

Here are the Top 4 often overlooked gamification techniques that can make or break your gamification experience.

1. Choosing the Right Gamification Template Echoing a Good Gamification Story

Gamification is template-based that works on a storyline. The storyline can be a mountain expedition, finding your way back from a lost island, millionaire quiz game (Remember… Kaun Banega Crorepati?), or solving a mystery- it can be anything!

Gamification storylines must resonate with the audience. Excite the senses of the learner base. It's important to dipstick on the look and feel of the gamification story with others in the organization.

Working with themes that your learner base finds either too 'simple'​, 'childish', 'too complex' or 'not relevant' can send all your efforts down the drain. 

A good idea is to test the first reaction of learners when they see the theme of your gamification story.

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Also, keep in mind that there is little merit in doing multiple storylines for different initiatives, unless you feel the need to do so. Many gamification templates like mountain expedition can be extended to incorporate more content and training. For example, you can climb to Everest in one campaign and climb to K2 in another. This helps in keeping the expedition theme alive, but the treatment may differ. (Plus it is way more fun climbing mountains this way then actually doing it!)

Some adventure themes like mountain expedition, army operation may appeal to larger audience. Depending on your audience's 'love for complexity' you can go either go with adding more complexity to tried and tested themes or build a new theme  The idea is not to play safe, but to find the sweet spot that will excite your audience.

2. Right Mix of Gamification Elements

There are a lot of gamification elements like levels, points, badges, bonus, and milestones – which does not mean that all have to be used. A simple snake and ladder game is as engaging with a specific audience; don’t get swayed with the want to use everything. Overkill of too much happening can be a big spoiler - find the right mix of complexity that will not overwhelm your audience. Too many moving parts burdens simpletons and they give up their engagement beforehand. It's better to err on the side of simple than complex unless you want to make it so. 

Gamification application cautions against overkill with game elements. A simple snake & ladder goes a long way.

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See Resource: How Gamification Elements Drive Employee Motivation?

3. Good Gamification Template Is Not an End-all Solution

Though the whole reason of gamification is to make it fun and to drive employee engagement and motivation, it’s important to not lose the seriousness of learning behind. The content itself is important too.
I need to bring this up because I see an imbalance appropriation of importance towards just the look and feel of gamification template. Here is what I have to say about it.

Think of Gamification template like a package. Only winners are 'good product' with a 'good packaging'!

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As training leaders and L&D professionals, you choose to spend enough time to ensure good instruction design has been applied to a content. Good gamification template with good content will deliver the results you need.

4. Meaningfulness of Gamification Elements

Learners will see through meaningfulness of scores and badges depending on how easy or difficult it was for them to get it. Keep the spirit of challenge true, use the right mix of simple and complex assessments. Make certain that the badges are meaningful and difficult to get. For example- “Badge of Participation” can be for everyone, but “Badge of Merit” should be for top 25%.

Custom Gamification Templates 

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Further Reading On Gamification

1. Basics of Gamification- Get introduced to all things that make up gamification- right from gamification definition to the 7 key gamification elements that make the gamification experience enchanting and engaging.

2. Different Types of Gamification and Choosing the Correct Strategy- Both the terms-gamification and serious games are used interchangeably, but they are different. Learn what the difference between them is, what are their characteristics, and when should they be used.

3. Benefits of Gamification over E-learning- Get introduced to the TOP 10 reasons why training leaders are vouching for Gamification over e-learning.

4. Top 7 Key Gamification Elements and Employee Motivation- Do the 7 key gamification elements motivate learners in any way? Read what the research on motivation says.

5. Gamification Elements-Motivation-Psychological Perspective- What do the books of psychology say about motivation? How does this relate to our 7 gamification elements? Read to know the answer.

6. When to Use Gamification? Is gamification the magical elixir? Is it the solution to all the problems? Maybe not! Read the 4 situations that warrant the use of gamification.

7. Implementing Successful Gamification Program- Get introduced to the “5-Step Method” of ensuring a successful gamification training campaign in your organization. Learn how to deliver right from planning, communicating, strategic partnership, to claiming success.