Last updated: 28.03.14

Does 'gamification' have a place in e-learning?

With digital technologies transforming the ways that knowledge is shared and imparted, is gamification the direction that the e-learning industry is moving in? The concept is one that sees the mechanics of gameplay used for non-gaming applications - in this place education. Proponents of this approach believe that incorporating these aspects into learning systems can boost engagement and create rewards for learning, much in the same way as it might with young children.

While it is hard to say with any sort of definitiveness whether or not this is the path the industry is taking, it seems likely that - as with anything - numerous different methods and approaches will coexist with one another in the future. While gamification may not be suitable for every learning and training situation, it will provide educators - both in schools and in companies - with another approach to ensuring that vital information is learned.

According to the Training Zone, there are many ways that thinking about games and their mechanics can shed new light on learning. This can be as simple as framing a subject in some kind of scenario with different outcomes depending upon choices that are made within a role-playing context.

Location need not be a barrier to this either. In fact, games have already found many compelling ways to bridge the often vast physical gap between players in both synchronous and asynchronous ways - and again, this is something that can come to bear on e-learning showing some of the more creative ways that digital technologies can be utilised to encourage participation, engagement and ultimate understanding.

Other aspects of game systems that the site suggests educators take note of include ideas of navigation around and exploration of a scene; points systems and leaderboards as a way of measuring understanding and encouraging healthy competition; repetition without boredom; and satisfying reward systems that help to ensure participants wish to actively engage with a learning course and see it through successfully to completion.

With the speed at which e-learning has developed in such a small period of time, one thing seems certain: that there are plenty of new and unexpected ways in which teaching methods will continue to develop following the digital revolution.