How to Use the Mega-power of Gamification in a Microlearning Lesson


Let’s admit it. We all love games and hate to go through boring lessons. But there is a way to combine boring lessons and games to make learning enjoyable and fun. And that is through gamification.

Let’s understand how it works for microlearning.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is not just meant to add to learners’ fun and enjoyment. It is an instructional approach that makes learning extremely effective. It is a set of meaningful activities and systematic processes that solves specific problems. Gamification uses game elements, and is based on a set of game-based rules and feedback loops that produce enjoyable gameplay. Gamification helps to keep learners engaged, to motivate them to act, learn, and solve challenges. That’s why gamification is very effective in microlearning. Such interaction- based training experiences stimulate learning by boosting recall and retention!

Health fitness apps: An example of gamification

Health monitoring ‘fitness devices and apps’ are a massive hit with consumers today. These devices and apps use gamification to hook users. You get into a game with the health monitoring device attached to your body, and you become a player born to win!

These gamification-based devices help track walking steps, calories burnt, and many other body functions. Uses are driven by the thrill of winning and the fear of losing!

The same logic can be applied to microlearning. Gamification can be used in many microlearning scenarios like practice sessions, solving problems, or in assessment questions.

Game Elements in Gamification

Game elements are meant to lure learners and form the backbone of gamification.

Here’s an example of how game elements are used in an assessment scenario.

  • Awarding points to the learner for each correct answer
  • Conferring a badge in recognition of their achievement in answering a certain number of questions correctly

This kind of dual rewards system (earning points, winning a challenge, or being awarded a badge on successfully finishing a task) encourages the learner to interact with the content. The best part about using game elements is that the content remains intact, but learning effectiveness goes through the roof.

Making a learner play a game from start to finish is not the only goal with this instructional technique. The real intent is to get the learner to participate in all the gaming activities at their own pace. This helps take away the pressure to learn and make learning as natural as play!

Using Game Elements in Microlearning

You can choose game elements that work well for your needs. That means you should decide on using gamification in your microlearning map only when you are clear what these game elements are going to do.

The microlearning map defines the purpose of the lesson – which could be to supplement, reinforce, augment, or remediate the training. After the purpose of the lesson is clear, you can use the most appropriate use case scenario/s for your talent development needs.

Game elements can be used in any of these 6 use case scenarios:

  1. Pensive: where learners are asked to reflect upon an idea, situation, or task, and brainstorm ideas or concepts.
  2. Performance: where learners need just-in-time, point-of-need support (e.g., a simple workflow to help recall important steps of a process).
  3. Persuasive: where the gamification helps augment training and remediate behavior.
  4. Post-instruction: where key concepts are delivered after training as gamified microlearning lessons to improve retention and recall.
  5. Practice: where gamification helps learners practice their skills.
  6. Preparatory: where a series of gamified microlearning modules are designed to tie into the larger training initiative.

Here is a list of game elements with their uses and benefits:

Game Elements Uses & Benifits
  • Gauge level of accuracy or correctness of
  • Measure efficiency (doing the right thing - a
    quantitative measure)
  • Measure performance over time
Progress Bars and Game boards
  • Measure what’s accomplished over time
  • Provide a progress report
Trophies and Badges
  • Acknowledge accomplishments and
Leaderboard Rankings
  • Indicate relative performance of a

    team/users in a game

  • Foster healthy competition and sense of
    belongingness among users
  • Help in transparency, feedback, and
  • Help in transparency, feedback, and
  • Help in transparency, feedback, and
  • Help in transparency, feedback, and
  • Help in transparency, feedback, and
  • Add an element of fun during content
    progression with increasing levels of
    difficulty and/or achievement
  • Provide context and purpose in an
    interesting way
  • Help create emotional connect with players
  • Enhance player experience and fun quotient
    of learning
Socialization Aspects
  • Act as glue for people to stick together, and
    increase sense of belonging, contribution,
    and purpose
  • Help bring together players with similar
    characteristics, experiences, and challenges
  • Create perfect environment for social

Practical Exposure to Games a Prerequisite

Once you know all the theory around these basics of gamification, you need to experience it – get real exposure to game elements and practice it before you think of designing a gamified microlearning lesson.

The best way to get a good handle on game mechanics, especially for those with little or no exposure to them, is to watch how a video game works. One could start with ‘Clash of clans’ (2012- Supercell) to gain a good understanding of game mechanics (points, levels, avatars, narratives, rewards, leaderboards, team plays, virtual currency, virtual goods, virtual markets, etc.).

It is important you get a proper understanding of gamification before experimenting with it in microlearning. You need to experience how game mechanics works, and how a player recognizes and uses it.

After exploring a few (or many) gamification cases and games, and reflecting on the game mechanics, your creativity will automatically kick-in giving you a breakthrough on ‘how to gamify instructions’.

To conclude, gamification within microlearning is all about innovation, helping to deliver engaging learning experiences. By understanding how it all works, you can effectively integrate them in your microlearning map, and create highly interactive gaming experiences that enhance learning and improve performance!

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