Gamification and Serious Games - Truths to Know

Designing Digitally


Gamification and Serious Games - Truths to Know

Some Serious Game Truths! Gamification has some serious truths to it.  We will first define the two so we can have a clear understanding of these two types of learning approaches.

Gamification - The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service. Gamification promises to make the hard and boring stuff fun to learn. 

Serious Game - Is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment, and is tailored to learning an underlying objective.  The idea shares aspects with simulation generally, but explicitly emphasizes the added pedagogical value of fun and competition.

Learning Design Beats Game Gimmicks

If, for instance, 3D graphics and the perspective of first person aid learning, use it by all means. If it doesn’t help, leave it be. It will add quite a bit to development costs and they are also tied to entertainment games. 

Simulation Is Not a Model

Simulation does model a situation, but it’s not real enough. It doesn’t allow learners to understand situations without going into great depth. Serious games require considerable exploration, exaggeration and of course, entertainment. Otherwise, it’s just simulation.


Games Are Not the Solution for Everything

Sometimes we try to gamify a solution even though it doesn’t quite fit in the formula. Just because you can develop games, it doesn’t mean you can use it as a solution for every problem. It has to make sense for the content and context in which they are used. 

Games Can Be Great Learning Methods

A perfectly designed game can reach all parts of learning that other methods can’t. There are many complex materials that can’t be taught with conventional teaching methods, but fit the bill with gamification. It also allows engagement in higher numbers. 

Serious Games Are Different From Regular Games

Of course, there are similarities between the two, such as scores, leader boards, rewards, etc. However, serious game offer serious play. The design is much more complex and marketing implications are strategic. 

Glorified Quizzes Aren’t Games

Quizzes are tests in disguise but aren’t really a game. Games come in many forms and can include problem solving simulations, challenges, interactivity and engagement. A quiz could be engaging as well, but it doesn’t carry a large learning experience. 

Serious Games Have Frequent Feedback

Continuous feedback and specific instructions can reduce the time it takes to master a skill. The computer will record everything as the assessment takes place and leaders of learning can recognize specific routes to mastery and offer them to learners. 

Feedback Can Help With Self Reflection

When the learners are able to reflect on themselves, it reinforces their learning. Individuals are able to learn better on subsequent tasks when they take lessons from previously completed tasks. 

For more truths about Serious Games and how they can be used in your organization, contact us today!