Members have a variety of programs to choose from when it comes to continuing education programs. Unless you’re the sole provider of that specific training in your space, chances are that you need to consider how you can differentiate yourself from the competition in order to attract and retain members. Providing gamified experiences can set your continuing education program apart, driving engagement and increasing learner satisfaction for your association.
Understanding the Learner
In 1969, Edgar Dale, a well-regarded educator, developed the Cone of Experience, a model that associates learning outcomes and memory with how a person learns—whether they “do,” “hear,” “read,” or “observe.” Edgar explained that, when someone is engaged in direct experiential learning, they remember 90% of what they do as they perform the task. Retention drops to 70% when they say and write, 30% when they see, and only 10% when they read. Dale’s model has recently been enhanced by Nick van Dam, an executive at Gartner, who believes the way you help people remember what they learn is by providing simulations and games as part of the instructional design process. Gamification provides friendly competition among learners, elevates their sense of achievement, and motivates them to progress through the personalized learning path set up for them by completing the tasks assigned during the simulation or game.
Online games have become a staple in today’s society. According to the recent study The State of Online Gaming, people who play video games spend approximately six hours per week doing so, and more than 27% of gamers admit to playing video games while at work at least once a month. Many of your members will naturally turn to gamification during their professional learning time, a trend you can capitalize on.
Building the Content
A lot of organizations fear gamification because they don’t understand it or believe it would be too difficult to implement. At its heart, gamification, or gamified learning, involves the use of game-design techniques to solve problems, engage the learner, and increase retention—and it doesn’t need to be complex. A simple way to gamify your learning experience could be incentivizing performance by using badges and awards as a micro-credentialing mechanism.
As you’re building the learning program for your members, consider breaking it down into manageable, bite-sized pieces of information. As the learner completes each module or section of the program, they can receive an award that showcases their proficiency in that particular area. Multiple awards can turn into a badge that makes it easy for the learner to highlight a skill, and badges can be awarded incrementally as the learner continues to develop abilities. For instance, you might receive a “novice communicator” award if you receive 70% on a final skill assessment versus “wizard communicator” if you achieve 90% or higher.
Embedding badges and awards can be a simple way for your association to gamify its learning experiences.
Delivering the Program
Now that you’ve leveraged badges and awards to develop an engaging program, it’s time to take the gamified experience to the next level with leaderboards.
Leaderboards offer a way to encourage friendly competition within your program and keep your learners involved, motivated, and on track. Using leaderboards to reward individuals who have achieved a desirable badge or award on their personal profile helps those learners set themselves apart as growing experts in their respective areas. It also fosters a sense of community as learners know whom to turn to when they have questions or need support on a specific topic.
Together, badges, awards, and leaderboards offer associations the opportunity to gamify their learning experiences, increasing engagement and satisfaction for their learners.
Check out our Gamification Guide to learn more about the various types of learners, game mechanisms, and tools you can use to deliver engaging experiences.
Stay tuned for the third article in this five-part series, which will take a closer look at how associations can use video to enhance their learning programs.