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Gamification: Is it Just Fun and Games? Part 1 of 3

When you hear the word “game” it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that fun times are headed your way. It is true that we all love a good game whether we’re actual participants or spectators of a special event. But does incorporating this socially competitive concept into your adult learning environment truly add value to the curriculum, or merely provide your students with a frivolous distraction? There are many that would weigh in on either side of this debate, which sometimes makes it difficult to support the use of gamification in e-learning.

Yet, there is true merit in using gamification in the learning environment due to its prevalence in our digital world.

Most learners, young or old are familiar with various gaming systems from Nintendo to PlayStation. We enjoy the socialization opportunities of these games, as well as the competiveness and challenge of outperforming our opponents. We do not see the endless hours dedicated to repeating these skill assessments as a waste of our time. In fact, it is the very challenge to reach our potential that keeps us motivated. As we repeat these actions in different context, we never forget a particular move, scenario, or outcome. We retain this information to help us become better over time.

This same ability of engagement towards information that is presented as interesting and challenging is what we aspire to do as instructional designers and trainers for our adult learners. This ability to encourage retention of content introduced and learned is also an aspiration of instructional designers and trainers for our adult learners.

So, if we remove the basic concept of games, gaming, gamification as just for fun, and delve further into the power of this tool to encourage learners to gather information, remember information, and apply this new information in their daily lives, then we can easily adopt this method of sticky learning into our curriculum.

So, what are some examples of gamification and their ability to create sticky learning within adult learners?

The next two blogs will provide examples of gamification and the outcome of sticky learning within two of the course examples provided on this LMS demo site.

Shonia Brown is an innovative and accomplished instructional designer with 14 years of experience designing and developing interactive training content that increases workplace proficiency, promotes employee retention, and enhances customer software product knowledge.

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