Gamification, Serious Games, and Simulations: What’s the Difference?

Designing Digitally


Gamification, Serious Games, and Simulations: What’s the Difference?

Gamification has become a buzzword in the past decade. Long ago, games had a negative connotation in the world of corporate training. But now, gamified learning is the most sought-after method of training. Let’s explore the differences between Gamification, Simulations, and Serious Games.


Gamification refers to applying game mechanics to non-game situations. The focus is to make regular activities more engaging and compelling. Training gamification uses points, leaderboards, and game-like interactions to enhance the engagement of the learners. It is a great tool to motivate your learners towards the behavioral change you wish to see in them. Gamification can be incorporated into traditional eLearning courses.


Simulations emulate real-life tasks or procedures. They can be used to help learners practice landing an airplane, making food items on a restaurant menu, or repairing industrial equipment. Training Simulations can involve gamification or be part of a serious game, or they can stand alone as straightforward emulations. Virtual reality technology is allowing simulations to become more realistic, immersive, and accurate for tactical processes.


Serious games

Serious games are fun and exciting games built around training content. They provide a risk-free secure environment where learners are can learn and practice what they have learned. Since it has no real-world damage consequences, the learners can make as many mistakes they wish to and learn from them. Serious games often involve points and leaderboards, much like gamification.


Which is best?

Gamification, simulations, and serious games each have a place in the training industry. Gamification is an economical way to liven up traditional eLearning. It can also be a good first step for corporations who are reluctant to move away from traditional eLearning.

Simulations are best suited for training specific processes or procedures. We suggest adding gamification to simulations to make them fun and exciting. Also, consider the delivery platform for the training. If virtual reality technology is available to learners, a VR simulation provides endless opportunities. But, if learners need to access training on their smartphones, a simulation may not be an appropriate solution.

Serious games tend to be the most enticing style of training for learners. In terms of what serious games can include, the sky's the limit! Instructional Designers can shape an innovative game around any content, and developers can create them for any delivery platform. Serious games can take place in realistic settings, such as placing sales associates in a virtual showroom to work with customers. Or, they can be imaginative, such as using carnival games to teach the associates the sales tactics and product knowledge.



For serious games or gamification to be successful, you need to place the learner at the center of the experience. The content should encourage them to actively engage in some way or the other. The plot and the characters need to be realistic so the learner can identify with them. That way, it will be possible to convince them that the gamified learning content is relevant to their job role and will add immense value.                                                              

At Designing Digitally, Inc. our experts have developed gamified learning for varied sectors and audiences. We are experienced in building customized solutions based on your industry and target audience. Get in touch with the experts at Designing Digitally, Inc. who can create custom game-based training solutions specific to your requirements.