Engagement. One of the biggest buzzwords around. Everybody wants it, craves it, strives to “boost” it. How could eLearning escape this trend? Thankfully, in the case of online training, there is one invaluable tool that can actually help you achieve this. But let’s get to the basics and we’ll talk all about it as we go along.
One of the biggest challenges in eLearning is keeping your learners motivated and engaged throughout the process.
“Throughout”, by the way, is the key word here: everybody can have people engaged for the first few lessons of a course. Having them engaged for the whole course though, is a whole other matter. Attention wanes, work and other more pressuring matters get in the way, lessons get more challenging and difficult to follow, learners get impatient, generally speaking, life works against engagement and your courses.
Some learners even see learning as a chore from day one — especially when it comes to mandatory courses and compliance training that they just have to complete because of state or company policy, or to meet certain KPIs.
Keeping the course content appealing and presenting it in an interactive and interesting manner (e.g. using multimedia, interactive elements and well written content) is a great start to keeping the learner engaged.
But to really take learning engagement to the next level, you might need to bring in the big guns we mentioned earlier. That’s right, we’re talking about…
Gamification in TalentLMS
TalentLMS offers a complete gamification engine that supports the best and most well-known reward systems, including points, badges, levels and rewards (in the form of discounts) that you can customize to your own needs.
Points can be awarded when learners perform various actions in the system — from simply logging in to successfully completing units, courses, tests, assignments, ILTs, acquiring certificates or contributing to discussion topics. You can choose which actions will give out points and customize the number of points awarded for each action.
Badges are awarded in a similar way to points, given out when a user has reached a milestone for a specific action (i.e. 4, 8, 16 logins or 8, 16 passed tests, etc.). TalentLMS’ gamification engine ensures that the difficulty in acquiring badges increases incrementally as the learner advances in his training. You can upload your own badge icons and customize their names.
The badging system has been designed to be compatible with Mozilla’s OpenBadges initiative, letting learners collect and display all of their badges in a single place.
Levels are linked to courses. TalentLMS lets learners unlock a level of courses when they gather a specific amount of points, badges or course completions. Courses that belong to levels higher than the user’s show up as “Restricted” in the learner’s dashboard and are not accessible until the required goals have been met.
For example, you could configure TalentLMS so that each level of courses gets unlocked once the learner has acquired 3000 points.
According to the setup shown in the following image, the learner would have to successfully pass 4 tests, acquire 2 certificates and have contributed to at least 5 discussions in order to collect the required points. Levels work similarly to course Availability Rules, where courses will become available based on whether the prerequisite courses have been completed.
Similar to “High Score” listings in arcade games, Leaderboards display a ranking of the top 6 learners in your portal in terms of points, levels, badges, courses completed and certifications. Admins can toggle leaderboard visibility to make them visible or not to all learners.
Rewards are a performance award that comes in the form of a discount — as such it makes sense for eLearning portals that sell courses. It’s a more tangible form of reward given to users for their continued engagement and loyalty to the program. Admins can choose to offer a Reward-based discount when learners reach a predetermined amount of points, badges or levels.
Resetting Points, Badges & levels
At any point in time, you can choose to reset the points, badges or levels for users belonging to a specific group or branch. Adding a deadline by which users must acquire certain amount of points, badges or levels creates a sense of urgency to meeting the goals and can dramatically increase motivation levels.
You can combine this with external incentives, as well, such as a day-off of work, a prize, or some monetary incentive.
Developing a gamification strategy
The first step in implementing a gamification scheme would be identifying your goals. Here are some examples of potential goals:
1) Motivate users to complete more courses
2) Increase the frequency of logging into the portal
3) Acquiring higher grades on tests and assignments
4) Promote participation in discussions
5) Motivate users to attend ILT sessions
6) Motivate users to complete more surveys
The second step would be designing an implementation strategy. You would need to decide if you will use a specific rewarding system or a combination of them.
If we take the scenario that a company’s goals are (a), (c) and (d), the following could be a potential set up using a combination of points and badges.
In this case, the learner would get 150 points for each completed course, 160 points for contributing to discussions and 10 points for every upvote on other people’s comments. In addition to points, the learner would also get a badge when they complete 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 courses, as well as when they score 90%+ in 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 completed tests or assignments.
To further promote competition you can also enable the leaderboard for points and badges, allowing each user to see how they score against other learners, and even link this scheme to course levels.
Sometimes, the best way to get some serious engagement is to add a little gaming element. It works with everybody, from little kids, to senior enterprise employees.
TalentLMS’ powerful and customizable Gamification engine lets you add as much or as little gaming and competition elements to your training program, and fine-tune it to meet your particular goals and use cases.