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Gamification in Education: Guide to Enhancing Employee Engag

gamification in education

There’s nothing like completing the challenges in a level of your favorite video game. The draw of defeating obstacles, gathering points, playing with (and against) friends, and of course, seeing where you stack up on the game’s leaderboard — all engaging, exciting reasons to pick up a controller and play.

But did you know those are the same reasons why gamification in education enhances employee learning and development? 

By applying features and elements typically used in gaming, you can not only improve the quality of the scope and sequence of your course but also improve completion outcomes, too. You are able to grab the attention of users using interesting, but familiar features available in LMS systems like Tovuti

Ready to level up your understanding of gamification in learning? Let’s get started!

What is Gamification in Learning?

Gamification in learning is the process of integrating motivational affordances into services to create engaging experiences for learners. Or, in simple terms, adding game-like features into non-game experiences, like online learning, to make learning more effective and enjoyable for the participants. It taps into users’ intrinsic motivations to keep them interested and invested in their success. 

But what does that end up looking like in real eLearning environments, such as corporate development or compliance training? 

We’ll get into specifics later, but some examples of features that support gamification in learning include:

  • Badges earned for completing tasks that can be displayed to other learners 
  • Certificates for reaching achievements such as course completions
  • Leaderboards so learners can keep tabs on their peers’ progress, and vie for the top spot
  • Checklists & progress bars that can help keep track of learner’s progress, visually
  • Points systems that reward achievements with points and help learners find their way to the top of the leaderboard

With those features in mind, it’s easy to see why many companies who use e-learning platforms are using gamification in education to get employees to not only participate in training and development but to stay engaged throughout the process.

How Does Gamification Enhance Learning?

gamification and e learning

How gamification enhances learning is actually pretty straightforward. Researchers in the 1980s began to untangle the links between video gameplay and motivation and started to see the positive effects of applying the principles of gaming to other avenues. 

They began to consider that players voluntarily spend countless hours learning problem-solving skills through gaming. Through extended play, they learn what it's like to be persistent, creative, and resilient. There are also a few extrinsic motivators at play in video games, and much of the rewards you gain are in fact, intrinsic.

Gamification can be seen as the interactive alternative to traditional employee training and development, allowing employees to become truly invested in their learning. It leaves dry, boring, one-day-a-year training sessions in the dust for the truly modern, employee-centric training of today.

LMSs like Tovuti exist today with features designed to enhance employee learning through gamification in education by

  • Providing more engaging content
  • Offering multiple ways and formats to learn information 
  • Boosting employee participation in learning
  • Integrating a social setting into a learning environment

Gamification approaches the problem from the perspective of the learner, and how they best become the driving force behind their own transformational learning that truly makes an impact. 

Benefits of Gamification in Learning

There are numerous benefits to gamification in learning, but the gist is that it’s a more engaging alternative to training and development for learners everywhere, and especially for your employees. 

There are 5 key benefits of gamification in learning we’re going to cover in today’s post:

  1. Improves employee knowledge retention
  2. Encourages a socially interactive team
  3. Improving engagement
  4. Enhancing employee satisfaction
  5. Boosting employee performance 

Benefit #1: Improve Knowledge Retention

We’ve all been there. We attend our workplace training day(s) and walk away feeling overwhelmed with information and our brains feeling like they’re about to explode, and being able to apply what we’ve learned that day feels impossible. 

And there’s data to back up those frustrations, too. It has been shown that one hour after training, people don't remember half of what they learned. After one day, people forget 70% of what they learned. By the time we reach six days post-training session, people forget up to 90% of what they learned. This is known as the ‘forgetting curve’, as shown in the figure below.

Source

So why bother training your employees at all, if they won’t even remember it by the next week?

The answer isn’t to skip training altogether, but instead to train them differently. Gamification in learning allows your employees to participate in interactive, engaging training in bite-size amounts more regularly.  

Through frequent, but small doses, your employees can improve training information retention. In fact, research has shown that focus and retention can be improved by up to 80% with microlearning. 

Additionally, online training through a platform like Tovuti allows for the use of engaging features like

  • Breakout rooms
  • Forums
  • Communities (like your own internal social network)
  • Interactivity in virtual classrooms through whiteboards and reactions 
  • Badges, checklists, and leaderboards
  • Microlearning course creation complete with the integration of videos, PDFs, and slide decks

What makes these tools the solution to the 'forgetting curve' is that they offer learners a variety of ways to take in information — visual, auditory, and written — so that they can process the information in a way that best suits their learning style. In fact, it has been shown that knowledge retention increases by 30% if an oral and text-based presentation is accompanied by images, infographics, and other types of visuals. That means your gamified content is going to not only be easier to take in but easier to recall, too.

Benefit #2: Encourages Teamwork & Interaction

Playing co-op mode with a friend on your favorite video game is more like a team-building exercise than you’d think. You need to communicate problems, share ideas for a collective solution, and work collaboratively to reach a shared goal. The same can be said for gamification in education at work. 

The use of online collaboration tools can cause 20-30% increases in productivity, according to researchers. So by choosing an LMS like Tovuti, you get the ability to tap into online and offline collaboration through built-in features and integrations. 

Gamification learning features like

  • Communities act as your company’s social network, fostering communication between employees
  • Leaderboards allow your employees to challenge each other and complete training for points 
  • Badges are perfect for showcasing hard work to others on the team
  • Checklists allow you to integrate online and offline challenges, classes, and sessions with other teammates as part of the course scope and sequence. 

When you allow your employees to work together online and offline and participate in some friendly competition, you’re building a positive, healthy workplace culture that will reward you with happier and more productive employees. 

Benefit #3: Improves Engagement

One of the major problems of traditional employee training is engagement. Aside from retention, this could be the biggest stumbling block to implementing consistent training and development. After all, it can be hard to see the benefit of training when it feels like you get nothing in return.

But that’s not the case when you include gamification in learning for employees.

The proof is in the numbers. In one survey, 72% of employees said that gamification encouraged them to work harder, and 48% said that it engaged them more. That tells us that providing a different way to learn and develop employee skills is not only valued by employees but affects their actual engagement with the organization. Moreover, it has been shown that engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers. 

By improving engagement, you can increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction at the same time. 

Benefit #4: Enhances Employee Satisfaction

It’s no secret that investing in your employees is important. Investing in equipment, skills, talent, and training makes your business more successful, but what happens when you don’t invest in employee satisfaction? 

Ensuring your employees are not only more satisfied but less likely to leave their roles helps create a stable, productive team with less turnover. And making satisfied employees starts with the right onboarding process. 

A structured onboarding program significantly increases the likelihood of newly hired employees remaining at the same company three years later. Furthermore, one-third of employees who quit their new jobs within six months did so as a result of not knowing what to expect from their new positions. What this data tells us is that we need to get our onboarding process right and communicate effectively with new hires in order to keep them on our teams.

Training and onboarding can be clunky and a challenge in today’s remote work landscape. You have to nail the right types and amounts of information, all while ensuring it’s easy to access and easy to understand. Thankfully, LMSs like Tovuti are a simple way to get training and onboarding right the first time.

Alongside its gamification in education features like leaderboards and checklists, you can grab your employees’ attention with custom courses, thanks to the built-in course authoring tools, or opt-in to get pre-built, pre-awesome integrated course content delivered to your employees instead. Either way, you get the cool tools needed to keep your employees satisfied as they onboard and improve retention along the way.

Benefit #5: Boosts Employee Performance 

Productivity is so important. You quite literally can’t afford to waste time, energy, and money on your business. You also can’t afford to push your employees too hard and make them unhappy enough to leave you behind.

So how do you improve your employee’s productivity successfully? 

The research points to gamification in learning for employees as a success factor. Considering that gamification can boost productivity by as much as 50%, and over 70% of employees believe gamification can increase their energy levels, a gamified learning management system such as Tovuti can help. Engaging your employees with features such as badges and achievements can help make your team a more productive one, and you can even bring your own content and make it gamification in education approved.

Common Gamification in Learning for Employees Features

gamification features in e learning

There is core gamification in education features that make your learners’ experiences better:

  1. Badges
  2. Certificates
  3. Leaderboards and point systems
  4. Checklist

Let’s get into how you can use these tools to level up employee learning and development.

Badges

If you were ever in Scouts, you know how fun it is to collect badges for your accomplishments. 

When it comes to gamification in learning for employees, you can apply the same logic. 

Imagine you have ten courses available for your employees about varying subjects, from security to company culture, but all of them need to be completed by the end of the quarter. You could create a special badge for completing each one and offer a badge for employees who complete all of them, and even one for early completion.

By the end of the quarter, your employees should have not only completed their required courses but also have gotten some friendly competition with their peers along the way. 

The reason badges work so well goes back to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When your employees feel like they are engaging in a behavior because they feel a sense of personal accomplishment (winning a badge and being able to display it to others) versus the fear of external repercussions or pressure (getting in trouble for not completing courses), it appears they are more likely to get things done. 

With an LMS like Tovuti, you can use gamification in learning to create and award custom badges to your employees for things such as

  • Single lesson completion
  • Log-ins
  • Course completion
  • Class attendance  
  • Time-based badges (completed a course or lesson before a certain date)
  • Multiple course completion (completed a certain number of courses)

Your employees will be able to display their badges and allow others to see what their competition is up to. 

Certificates

Did you know that 23% of companies have no formal compliance training plan, and in nearly 40% of organizations that do have plans, programs are rated as basic or reactive?

Compliance errors can be expensive and bad for your business. In fact, it is now estimated that non-compliance costs organizations on average $14.82 million, up 45% from 2011. 

Often, gamification in learning for employee compliance programs can help improve courses such as

  • Anti-Corruption
  • Anti-Money Laundering
  • Environmental
  • Food Safety
  • Health & Safety
  • Privacy
  • Product Safety
  • Health & Wellness
  • Responsible Sourcing
  • Licenses & Permits

Using gamification in learning for employees allows you to get compliance training done with ease, and generate certificates for the credentials. That way, you can more easily keep tabs on who has kept their compliance up to date and who needs to check-in. 

Leaderboards & Points

Scoring points is something that everyone loves to do. It makes you feel accomplished and like the work you did pays off, not to mention the feeling of accomplishment when you find out you’re finally number one on the leaderboard.

Choosing an LMS like Tovuti allows you to set up a leaderboard and point system for employees who complete various kinds of tasks. You can award points to employees automatically and let the competition begin!

Examples of ways you can use points and leaderboards for gamification in learning:

  1. In-person events
  2. Quizzes
  3. Course completions
  4. Lesson completions
  5. Attendance (in person or virtually)

Checklists

Whether you’re training new hires or developing new skills within your organization, you need to make sure your employees get through the material in the right order in a timely fashion. 

But short of making a custom to-do list for each employee in your organization, it can be hard to track their progress and let them know what is left to do. Not to mention “gating” lesson content, or making sure your learners are completing sessions in the right order.

Thankfully, learning management systems like Tovuti make it easy for you and your learners to track progress with the help of checklists. Like a video game progress bar, your learners will be able to see exactly what’s left on their plate. Due dates for checklists can either be fixed or dynamic, so you do not have to reset them for every new learner that comes into your system.

Some examples of using checklists for gamification in education for employees are outlined in the table below.

Sample Checklist Step

Examples

Lesson Completion

  • View all modules in a lesson
  • Click through all slides in a presentation
  • View video content

In-Person Event

  • Attend mentoring session
  • Attend in-person class
  • Participate in a team-building event

Virtual Session

  • Attend virtual classroom instruction
  • Participate in a breakout room

Course Completion

  • Complete all modules in a course 

Assessment Completion

  • Complete a quiz 
  • Scoring a specific grade
  • Submitting an assignment

Top 4 LMS With Gamification Learning

It’s time to get into the best options out there for gamification learning management systems. 

We gathered up the top four LMS with gamification learning options we’d recommend

  1. Tovuti
  2. Moodle
  3. Axonify
  4. TalentLMS

Ready, player one? Let’s review these options so you can get to work. 

Tovuti

allaxs academy website screenshot

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I'm sure you think we put ourselves first because we're biased. The fact is, Tovuti LMS offers gamification in learning features that you and your learners will love and our reviews. 

With Tovuti, you can customize badges, certificates, leaderboards, levels, and checklists based on the needs of the scope and sequence of your training plan. Your employees will love the engaging features, and you can easily manage progress with simple-to-use reporting and administration tools

In addition to gamification, you can also upload your own content and import existing training materials like slide decks directly into the platform, or you can use built-in tools for creating engaging, interactive training courses. There are even thousands of pieces of pre-built content that you can add in bulk as courses or lessons in seconds, thanks to our integrated course content library.

You can also relax knowing implementation will be simple and pain-free. To set you and your team up for success, we offer an accelerated four-week training program with an implementation specialist from Tovuti. We’ll also support you ongoing, so if you run into trouble, we’ll be there to help.

Check out the table below for a handy breakdown of the key gamification in education features Tovuti offers your team.

Tovuti Feature

How it Works

Badges

Incentivize learners with badges and let them show off their achievements to their peers.

Certificates

Allow learners to earn certifications and showcase them on their profiles

Checklists

Checklists help your learners to know what they need to do, including completing courses, assignments, modules, and finishing tasks that happen offline such as events or classes

Leaderboards

Learners earn points based on completing desired tasks, and the top scorers will be displayed in company-wide leaderboards

Communities

Like a social network, this feature allows your learners to communicate with each other, discuss, and form breakout groups

Moodle

moodle orange learning screenshot

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With Moodle, you have access to an open-source online learning management system that is free, scalable, customizable, and secure, and that offers a wide selection of uses.

You can make your course gamified using both built-in features and their library of plugins to customize your learner's experience. Users like that it is highly customizable to their needs, and you can create courses with the features your learners need. 

Be warned, though. Reviewers note that this software often requires technical experts or consultants in order to customize and extend the features and design of your courses. This includes some of the gamified features we like to see (badges, certificates, and progress bars). So unless you have an IT department or consultants in your reach, it may not be the best LMS. 

TalentLMS

talent lms screenshot

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TalentLMS is a learning management system touted as intuitive and user-friendly and perfect for training your workforce. It allows you to integrate your LMS with tools like Zoom and Salesforce, and you can create fully customizable and easy-to-manage employee learning. 

When it comes to gamified features, TalentLMS has rewards, badges, and leaderboards. You can generate reports about everything that happens inside your platform and customize the experience your users have, down to the logo, colors, and layout.

It’s a solid and affordable option for onboarding new employees, but that doesn't mean it's a robust one. Many reviewers shared that there were some areas with limited functionality that were stumbling blocks to their process. Reporting, certificate management, and course structure flexibility were all noted as features users encountered problems with.

Make Gamification in Education Work For You

So it’s clear that your employees not only benefit from gamification in education at work, but you and your business's bottom line will too. From efficiency to increased productivity and engagement, the benefits of gamification in learning for employees are numerous.

And the LMS that offers you the most straightforward, easy-to-use gamified features on a modern platform is Tovuti. Our learners and administrators alike love the usability of our platform, and that’s reflected in the almost two dozen awards and hundreds of positive testimonials.

So if you’re ready to make the switch or just want to chat about what Tovuti can do for you, get in touch with us. You can also book a demo so you can see how the gamification in learning features could benefit your team.

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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