We are all familiar with the proverb - all work and no play makes a jack a dull boy. Well, what if we told you that now you could actually bring together work and play? Introducing…Gamification.
Gamification is the application of game mechanics and principles in a non-game context to promote desired behavior and drive learning outcomes. At work, this could include gamifying training and compliance programs, introducing leaderboards, incentives, recognising swift and efficient service delivery and rewarding employees for their performance. In the education sector, it could compromise gamified learning modules, quizzes, puzzles and more. Read more about the benefits of gamification here.
While the two might seem similar and interchangeable concepts, there is a stark difference between game-based training and gamification.
Game-based learning and gamification are both trying to achieve the same objectives - motivate the learner, promote skill development and keep employees and students engaged using game-based thinking and techniques. Both combine learning and games, but the difference lies in the manner in which the game elements are integrated into the learning experience. And it is this distinction that leads to the larger difference in learning outcomes.
Game-based learning is a type of active learning experience within a game framework, with very specific learning objectives and measurable outcomes. It fully integrates games into the instructional or educational content. Therefore, the entire program or course has been turned into a game. It uses the core elements, structures, and rules of games to lead the learning experience.
Within this technique, users learn new concepts and can practice skills in a risk-free setting. It has proven to have a significant impact on retention and recall rates amongst users. With learning made fun, users are more engaged with the subject matter. And an increased engagement rate also positively impacts retention.
This method is also well suited for teaching complex concepts. Since the training is made both fun and challenging, employees and students stay engaged for longer. Moreover, Instant feedback loops help them polish their skills.
Gamification on the other hand, is the process of adding game elements or mechanics to an experience to increase engagement or retention. These game elements are usually separated from the actual learning content. As discussed earlier, gamified modules may include elements such as rewards, points, badges, leaderboards etc.
The entire framework is built around the concept of playing a game, but not playing a game itself. Essentially, you’re making a game out of something that isn’t.
The main use of gamification is to foster engagement. Gamification elements draw on the human need to collect more rewards or scores or points, compete and succeed. They keep employees and students motivated and engaged with interactive content. It also helps in team building and fostering a healthy competitive spirit. Employees are motivated to earn more rewards or incentives, move up on the leaderboard and stay ahead of their peers.
Furthermore, since you don’t have to create new content, gamification is fast and inexpensive to onboard into your existing training platform. Game-based learning, on the other hand, requires instructors, faculty, and trainers to create new copy, modules, and content. This can be time-consuming, and expensive.
In sum, in a game-based learning setup, the game is the learning experience, whereas in gamification, the game components are added to the traditional method of instruction.