Have you had any challenges with learners opposed to gamification? How did you overcome?

Hi everyone,

I'd like to clarify my question here. I recently finished designing a heavy content course for adult learners and I designed some fun games to present some part of the content. The aim of the games was to 'test to learn', so basically you would go through the game along with the character and the character asks you a question in every step, if your answer is correct, the feedback shows a brief description of the correct response, and it is the same if you choose the wrong answer. The feedback I have received is that people feel they are being tested on the content they haven't learned yet. It is the first time these learners are being introduced to gamification and they are used to being presented with the content and then being tested on the content. 

Has anyone had reluctance towards using gamification, and how have you overcome that? Or do you have other suggestions?

I appreciate your response.

6 Replies
Tim Hotze

It doesn't sound like the issue you've really got is with gamification per se, its with your learners not knowing what's going on.  I'm not sure what you give by way of introduction in the activity, but I think, especially with adult learners, its very important to explain what content will be covered and how it'll be covered if its not obvious.  (This is also important for in-person training: "Today we'll be talking about.... and demonstrating what we learn with group activities.")

Also, I'd solicit feedback from all learners, not just the ones that feel the need to pipe up using a post-survey: It may be that the feedback you're getting is only from a small % of your learners, or it could be that the majority don't understand that it's a "game" (or think the game's not "fun.")

Sepideh Gorjizadeh

Thanks for your input Tim. We had some really good feedback from those who loved it, we only had two people who didn't like the games. I have added some notes stating that the purpose of this activity is to learn by doing. Let's see what the next round of feedback will be. I personally don't think everything needs to be explicit in training as we need to give some space to the learners to read the objectives of the training in their own way, so I have lots of experience with implicit training techniques where you don't tell the learners upfront what is the purpose of today's training and instead of objective+lesson+activity+feedback, you will do activity+feedback+lesson+objective+activity. This technique had huge success when we were training adults in ESL as it had high rates of engagement and motivation. I understand that in elearning it is different because you don't have the trainer to guide you but then I had the characters to walk the learners along the lesson.  

Joanne Chen

Personally, I really like gamification, however, I hate blind guess to a question. It means nothing to me if I guess right and I might skip the feedback and learn nothing since I was right this time (but not every time). It will demotivate me if I guess wrong, I will expect to learn first before been test. Gamification does not equal to motivation or engagement, the point isn't to get users go through the whole course, but is to turn users into learners and motivate them having a willingness to learn from the process.  Using a learning by doing/playing strategy you need to be carefully creating a motivation for learning.  In some of the gamification case, you may consider adding a hint/tip for helping learners answer the question not blindly.