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Gamification: How to Increase Your Learning Engagement

Post by
AJ McCaw
Gamification: How to Increase Your Learning Engagement

Gamification helps you learn by making it more fun! In this article, we'll outline some gamification techniques and how to use them in your own learning environment.

We'll discuss techniques like leveling-up, points, badges, and levels. We'll also talk about how to make content more interactive using instructional design principles such as providing feedback (rewards), keeping learners engaged with a variety of activities (variety), and teaching learners through play (play).

By the time you finish reading this blog post, you will know exactly what gamification is all about and be able to share these techniques with your organization.

Let's start!


Gamification is the use of game-based techniques to engage users and encourage learning. It's a relatively new technique, but one that has proven to be extremely effective. Employing gamification in your learning environment can bring about changes in behavior, engagement, and retention among your learners. By taking advantage of some of the technology used in games, you can improve learner engagement and retention in your learning environment by encouraging them to play along with their content. In other words, gamification helps you learn by making it more fun!

What are Gamification Techniques?
Gamification techniques are a set of methods that can be used to encourage learners to participate in their learning experience through the use of game mechanics. They can be broken down into three categories:

Levels and Points: Levels are ranks that learners achieve based on their performance or skill. Points are an indication of how far they have progressed toward achieving a goal. These two methods reinforce the need for learners to continue learning in order to progress to the next level, learn more about a topic, or earn more points (i.e., game rewards). For example, Potential.ly's built in progress tracker makes it simple for learners to see what they need to do to reach their goal.

Badges and Awards: Badges are achievements, and awards are prizes that learners can earn. They can be used to show proficiency in a specific area, participation in learning activities, and/or mastery of some skills. An easy way to create badges is with Potential.ly, simple add your badge, select which learning material contributes to the badge, and let the system issue the badges for you!

Leaderboards: Leaderboards are a great way to motivate learners to complete their course or activity. They also encourage learners to compete against other learners and strive for the top spot on their leaderboard.

Leveraging Game Mechanics

Game mechanics are a set of techniques that can be applied to learning environments in order to increase engagement and retention. Gamification relies on many of these game mechanics, such as:

Feedback: Badges, points, and awards are all examples of feedback that can be used in gamification. This type of feedback reinforces achievements (e.g., badges), helps learners progress through the curriculum (point system), and lets them know how well they are doing overall (leaderboards). In order for these techniques to be effective, it's important that they provide immediate feedback. If learners aren't rewarded or recognized immediately for their accomplishments, they'll quickly lose interest in the learning process.

Variety: Making content more variable also helps learners be more engaged. This is critical for gamified learning environments because it allows learners to have a much bigger impact on their learning experience. For example, when we give players a number of chances to complete a task in the game Angry Birds, they are more likely to try again and get better at it than if they only had one chance to complete the same task.

Predictability: Predictability is another important element of gamification. For example, in the Angry Birds game, it is important that players can anticipate the next level and what they will need to do to achieve it (e.g., avoid the pigs).

Reinforcing Learner Effort
The best way to encourage learners to engage in your learning environment is by making them feel rewarded for their efforts. When you make your content more interactive using instructional design principles such as providing feedback (rewards), keeping learners engaged with a variety of activities (variety), and teaching learners through play (play), gamification techniques are much more likely to be effective.

Book a free consultation to learn about how Potential.ly can help you create a gamified learning environment.

Tags: gamification, gamification techniques, reward system, level system, badge system, points system, levels, points badges

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