It is widely accepted that people are more productive and engaged in what they do if they get instant gratification. From something sweet when they are children, to the latest gadget in their teenage years, to financial incentives when they reach adulthood, people sometimes need rewards from which to draw their motivation to do things.
This is also the case when it comes to learning. Living in a technology-driven era, today's generations aren't satisfied with the ordinary perks society gives them now. Thus, their level of motivation drops.
The rise of gamification has stepped up the game in domains such as business, education and training, health, work and productivity, in that it managed to leverage the natural desires of the human being, like socializing, learning and competing, which makes people feel they are evolving individually, but also as part of a community.
Benefits of online courses
In this context, learning online has become, if not an alternative, an additional source of information, an environment where people look for accessible and engaging content to serve their personal needs. What is more, online courses provide:
- Self-paced learning — each user has his/her own rhythm and necessities;
- Measurable progress — every participant can see the level they have reached and/or where they are situated among the other users;
- Access to a community — learners become members of the same group with common goals and aspirations;
- The platform for collaboration and competition — by setting more difficult tasks that can only be solved together with another person or group and by motivating students to be competitive with themselves and with others;
- Transparency — the evaluation is done in an objective and transparent manner giving the participants the will to continue even if they make mistakes;
- Second chances — students can try again when they fail, based on the principle of trial and error, making learning long lasting and efficient;
- Instant positive feedback — students receive on-the-spot feedback focused on the positive aspects, rather than drawbacks, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
By adding gamification, online courses make the learning process fun, too. Therefore, learners can choose where and when to study, and for how long.
Read more: The two ingredients of successful online courses
Why you should consider gamifying your online course
Besides the general benefits of online courses mentioned above, including games in your learning platform means addressing a wider public, the next generation and their individual needs, not excluding the disabled. Games have always had a magical power that made learning seem like playing, thus students are not aware they are doing both of them while having fun at the same time.
What gamification also does is offer instant gratification in the form of points, badges, leaderboards, therefore the learner has an additional reason to study. Furthermore, due to the affiliation to a community, students develop their collaborative and competitive skills, aspiring to have a certain status among their peers. This is the most positive and powerful motivation people need in order to become competent and productive members of society.
The gamification of online courses represents the future in what e-learning really means, since it creates extrinsic motivation, it opens the door to a new learning environment, more efficient and effective, it accepts failure/errors as the basis for successful learning, it boosts memorability, it gives its participants the satisfaction of having achieved something on their own and it lets them have autonomy in their quest for knowledge.
All things considered, the world is in need of gamified online courses as an additional way of learning and as self-study tools. In these times when everything happens at a fast pace, learning needs the appropriate support system to be implemented among students, so as to form adapted, evolved and involved citizens of the world.