We play games for fun and at the same time improve our skills, whether we’re playing cards, football, or a PlayStation® game. Gamification of training is intended to make it fun and often has advantages over traditional training, including an increase in engagement, the development of cognitive skills, and greater retention of material. Still, it may not be for everyone. Ways to present training by including elements of a game are not always obvious or possible. But if it can be done, the training can be more interesting. To understand how developers gamify training, we must first consider a few elements of games.
There are many gaming elements. For our purpose, we’ll look at just four:
- An Objective: There is something to achieve, such as defeating an opponent, finishing a task, completing a quest, winning money, or simply to improve one’s score with each successive attempt.
- A score or reward: A key element of any game is the score in some form. It may be achieving a score of 100 or winning a badge or trophy. Sometimes, the reward is to move to a higher level of play.
- Progress Impairments: The game can’t be so easy that there is no challenge or sense of accomplishment. In a one-person computer game, there are puzzles to solve or simulated opponents to overcome. In competitive sports, it’s an opponent who is trying to beat you.
- A Strategy: Professional football teams strategize how to beat their opponents by exploiting their weakness. Strategy is a key to winning chess. Even in Monopoly, players strategize how to spend their money by buying properties, houses, and hotels.
To illustrate how techniques can be used, consider the example of training job interview skills. The game is to practice job interviews with a virtual role-player.
- The Objective: For the learner to do well enough in the virtual interview to receive a reward of a job offer.
- The Score: The learner is given a numerical score in each interview, and with practice, will get better scores and move to a higher, more challenging level with more difficult interview questions.
- Progress Impairments: The role-player will ask difficult questions that the learner can answer in an inappropriate way, making them appear to be a poor job candidate.
- A Strategy: The educational material provides the strategy. Applying the strategy correctly wins the game and gets the job. Feedback during the interview, provides on-going strategy re-enforcement. A previous blog post explains how learning the strategy can be made more interesting with engaging examples.
See how learning can be made more interesting with engaging examples.