5 Principles of Game Based eLearning

Designing Digitally


game based learning training elearning

Game Based e-Learning refers to the type of game play that has learning outcomes. It is designed to balance game play with subject matter content that can be applied to the real world. It is a unique way to educate, and is done with the intention of increased retention and engagement. The best part? It’s typically done online, or through the use of technology, for greater availability across corporate workplaces.

The market of Game Based e-Learning has grown exponentially over the last three years; with a market value of $1.7 billion in 2017, it is expected to grow to $5.5 billion in 2018. Additionally, in participant surveys about Game Based Learning, in a general sense, 79% of users said that they would be more productive and motivated if their learning environment reflected that of a game.

If your business is ready to delve into Game Based eLearning, consider the principles you need to know before launching programs within your company.

Here are the 5 principles of Game Based eLearning.

1. Goal oriented programs are a must in Game Based eLearning.

When developing a program for your business, whether it is a training development program or a series of modules needed for on-boarding, it is important to ensure that the game is goal oriented in nature.

By this, we mean that each module, and the program in its entirety, needs to have goals in place. Goal-directed practices ensure that the user(s) are more focused on the task at hand. Users are more likely to hold greater interest in the entirety of the program. Training goals are established during the needs analysis phase of design to ensure the training outcomes meet the business needs of the organization.

2. Feedback is integral to the success of your program.

Just like a traditional educational setting, it’s important to provide feedback along the way. With eLearning, in particular, targeted feedback is even more important.

Everyone learns differently, absorbs material differently and responds to situations differently, so their learning process must be unique in nature. One of the most integral factors of Game Based eLearning success is to provide feedback, ideally 1:1.

3. Remember that users’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.

Much like principle #2, where every user is different and requires unique feedback, it is important to remember that users’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.

If User X has a vast amount of experience with the subject matter, but User Y does not, this clearly gives User X an advantage, meaning that their knowledge impacts learning. They could have greater interest in the material, or they could be at risk of glancing over various knowledge opportunities.  Developing desired outcomes for the game, from the basic to the more advanced, will ensure that all learners will be engaged in the training.

Be aware of users’ prior knowledge of your program before launch.

4. Motivation will dictate success.

Remember that a user’s motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn, whether it’s in a traditional setting or Game Based E-Learning.

As you are building your program, it’s important to ask yourself - what is the motivator behind completing this task? What is the motivator behind completing the program?

Including rewards and competition with peers are ways to incorporate motivators into the training.

Put yourself in the position of your user as you are considering the impact of motivation on your users.

5. Create emotional engagement in your activities.

Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s an old saying, and it’s true in nearly every facet of life.

For example, if you’re ice skating with friends or at sporting event, it’s amazing how quickly a few hours can disappear. Alternatively, sitting in a traditional classroom without emotional engagement is simply dull.

As you are creating your Game Based eLearning program, consider the importance of emotional engagement in your activities. Branding your game to align with your company can create an emotional connection with your learners, which is accomplished through a custom-designed eLearning program. You’ll see participation levels increase and overall happiness skyrocket.

As you are planning your Game Based eLearning program with your team, it is important to consider principles of such learning - especially these five principles that we have outlined. These principles, in our extensive experience, are the most important to consider as you are developing your program with your training department. From goal orientation to feedback, motivation to emotional engagement, keep this blog handy when you’re ready to take the next step in your eLearning development.

And the next step? Consider partnering with Designing Digitally. We can help your business, agency, or college train and retain your employees so they develop and grow, which results in increased production and profitability. Click here to learn more.