Different Types of Gamification and Choosing the Correct Strategy

Gamification vs. Serious Games 

As a Training Leader you have the option to treat the content in multiple ways for your employee learning initiative especially when you are considering gamification. You can gamify your content or turn your content into a game. Sounds similar, right?

Gaming and Gamification are two terms that are commonly used in the learning industry, often interchangeably. But, they are very different!

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In this post, we will try to understand the difference between the two terms - Gamification and Games as a learning strategy at a deeper level so that as a L&D professional you are able to choose the right game strategy for your content.

There are more names that are in common use that represent the two different concepts. 

Gamify your Content : Structural Gamification (coined by Karl Kapp), Gamification

Turn Content into a Game : Content Gamification (Karl Kapp), Serious Games, Simulations

Both terms indicate a game-like experience with all game-like mechanics, game-like structure, points, scores, competition etc. The difference is in the treatment of content. 

Content Gamification 

In a Serious Game, the content delivery is contextual to the application of content, for example, the board game of business which we all played as kids, the players learn the basics of real estate business by buying cities and making houses while playing the game, thus making their decisions and learning from consequences.

Examples of Content Gamification 

Learntech-Demo_Game of Product Assembly

2-Minute Game saves company 800+ Man-hours:  Powerful application of Game Science for Business Results.

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Learntech-Demo_Emotion Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence for Leaders- Develop the sense to read the face for its emotions and thoughts.

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Structural Gamification 

Whereas in Gamification, the game progress is not related to the application of content. Think of the game- musical chair with a twist. Every time the music stops a piece of content is delivered and this content can be anything. So you see that the playing of this musical chair and absorbing the delivered content are not related, thus it qualifies as a gamified experience.

In the context of organization training - this form of gamification gives a game-like structure to the content. The content itself does not become the game, but the way it’s presented is game-like. The native content structure does not change. It mostly consists of template-based approach. It can plug and play with the native content.

Examples of Structural Gamification: Plug & Play Templates

Gamified New Hire Training- Captures the learner's imagination and enthusiasm for driving results 

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Awesome Gamified Templates For Quizzes That Will Drive Learner Assessment on STEROIDS

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Does this inspire you to design your own Gamification Experience? Learn how HERE.

Feasibility Check: How to decide your Gamification strategy?

Different component of execution to consider to decide your strategy:                                      

  • Development Cost 
  • Development Time 
  • Internal Resource Engagement 
  • Scalability and Reusability 

Here is a comparison on how both strategies fare on key considerations:



Serious Games

Content Rework

Only instruction design required for making content more learning friendly

Major content rework and organization has to be done


Gamification Template can be used for any kind of training

Once developed it can only be used to for that specific learning objective

Cost of development

Easy on the pocket

SME time intensive costs much more

Time for development

Relatively easy to develop and quicker to deploy, minimum UAT required

Takes longer to develop, prototype UAT testing takes longer time

Best Used For

Driving engagement for Mandatory /Compliance/New Hire

New Skill Acquisition

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. How to Design a Successful Gamification Experience? What are the TOP 4 often overlooked gamification techniques that can make or break your gamification experience? Get the answer here to design an engaging gamification experience.

8. 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.

Best book for gamification in learning


 Training Leader’s Guide to Gamification

Highest rated Gamification book on Amazon kindle

Apply Gamification in Learning, the concept, mechanics, elements and game design Create your own Gamified learning experience that delivers superior learner engagement