Gamification in Elearning: Two Types of Gamification

Designing Digitally


Types of Gamification in eLearning

Gamification in corporate training has been a valuable part for some time. The benefits of adding characteristics like healthy competition, immediate feedback, and awards are adding a deeper level of engagement for employees. Gamification in corporate training has changed the face of traditional training, and businesses and consumers alike are reaping the rewards.

While the term “gamification” is well known, not everyone is familiar with the idea that there are actually two types of gamification. The two types function differently, but both still provide the same advantages to learning.

Structural gamification

Structural gamification involves applying game elements to move a learner through content with no changes or alterations to the content itself. The focus of this type of gamification is to get the learner motivated to work through the content, keeping them engaged by offering rewards.

One example of this type of gamification in elearning is allowing learners to earn points for watching an instructional video or completing an assignment in which the video or assignment had no other elements of a game other than the offering of points.

There are some common components to this type of gamification:

  • Points. Learners earn points for doing specific tasks, like watching a video or completing an assignment.
  • Badges. These would be awarded to players as they reach certain goals.
  • Achievements. Similar to badges, achievements are earned as learners work through the various tasks and goals assigned to them.
  • Levels. As players move through the content, it continues to build on the previous concepts.
  • Leaderboards. The “ranking” of learners and their achievements is displayed on a leaderboard.
  • Social element. As learners see what their co-workers are achieving or possibly struggling with, they are encouraged to help each other along. social learning is a key factor in success and it can be reinforced through training programs.

It’s important to remember that the use of structural gamification adds external factors to make an activity game-like, but doesn’t change the content. Even if story elements, like characters, are a part of the gamification, the content remains the same.

Content gamification

In the case of content gamification, the content itself is altered to make it more game-like. It still doesn’t turn the content into a game but rather adds games or activities to the content. The focus is to increase user engagement by attaching interactive elements.

An example of content gamification is starting a course with a fun challenge to grab the learners’ attention as opposed to starting right off with a list of learning objectives. Another example is to add story elements as part of the content.

Both are effective

Whether a training program utilizes structural gamification or content gamification, the results are positive in terms of engaging employees in activities that will aid them in performing their jobs to a high standard. Corporations train their employees so that they will be an asset to their business. The use of gamification in elearning, content or structural, achieves that goal.