Mastering Gamification in Mobile Learning

Designing Digitally


Mastering Gamification in Mobile Learning

The eLearning industry has seen a huge boom over the last decade. Companies of any size and individual users are accessing eLearning to continue their education and enable their growth. The eLearning community is vast and complex. It includes computer-based learning, mLearning, virtual reality learning (VR), augmented reality learning (AR), social learning, and everything in between.

mLearning, or mobile learning, is the sector that has seen the most dramatic user increase. This is widely due to the evolution of mobile device technology, big data upsurge, social media usage boosts, and the development of wearable computers. The use of smartphones and tablets is steadily increasing worldwide. Combining mobile learning and gamification was the next logical step. Thus, an explosion of gamified mobile learning apps is well underway.

What Is Mobile Learning?

By definition, mobile learning refers to education enabled by mobile devices. Organizations can deliver it across multiple online and offline platforms. Any person who owns a smartphone, tablet, or other advanced handheld devices can access mLearning. The greatest convenience of mLearning is its anytime/anywhere feature. Learners can access, share, and even create content instantly. This process also gives rise to a highly efficient feedback loop since users can connect whenever necessary to ask for and give feedback.

Mobile learning can be used in the classroom and facilitates classroom management, distance education, and lecture learning through podcasting. This continuous education model can also be used at work and for lifelong, self-learning purposes.

Read also: Why Mobile Devices Should Be Used in Employee Training

What is Gamification?

Gamification of learning means incorporating game design elements into more traditional teaching models and programs. You can take an existing employee training course and populate it with leaderboards, badges, and other types of reward systems. This increases learner engagement and makes good use of natural human tendencies for socializing, competition, self-expression, and desire to continue learning.

Combining gamification and mobile learning helps increase the number of users, drives high engagement, encourages social sharing, increases user retention, and generates high-impact training programs.

The global gamification market was valued at $5.5 billion at the end of 2018. The forecast for the 2019-2024 period is estimated to see an increase of 30.31%. This is directly linked to the epidemic growth in mobile device usage. This data makes perfect sense as to why more and more companies are looking to gamify mobile employee training.  

Read also: How to Leverage Gamification in Millennial Employee Training

Benefits of Gamified Mobile Apps

  1. Empowers learners by giving them control over their learning experience

If you're thinking of implementing a mobile learning culture in your employee workspace, consider the power of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Employees will be able to access their training from their own device, anytime, anywhere. This empowers them towards self-directed learning and makes them feel trusted by you and your organization. Relinquishing a bit of control by combining gamification and mobile learning allows employees to experience learning in their own time and creates a more entertaining learning practice.

Read also: The Importance of Anytime Anywhere Learning in the Modern Workplace

  1. Drives higher learner engagement

Learning through play has long been proven an excellent tool for teaching new skills and concepts. By including game design elements into your mobile training, you bring the fun back into learning and thus drive learners to engage and stay engaged with the application for longer.

Read also: Why Do We Enjoy Games?

  1. Lengthens the learning process through social learning

Social learning can create healthy competition between employees. Elements such as reward points, leaderboards, and badges can nudge employees into competing for top scores and positions. The social sharing aspect of a gamified mobile learning app keeps learners talking about the training content long after the training has ended.

  1. Increases knowledge retention rates

While mobile learning allows on-demand access to employee training courses, gamification represents the fun and hands-on part of the learning experience. The combination galvanizes learner retention and ensures learners can pass on their newly acquired knowledge to co-workers through social sharing.

  1. Allows for long-term training advancement

The fact that your employees can learn on the go means that training programs can be future-proofed. Using microlearning can add modules and bits of crucial information to improve the learning experience indefinitely.

Create a Mobile Gamification Plan

Now that you know the benefits of combining gamification and mobile learning, you can start mastering the process by building a clear plan.

  1. Survey employees

Your first step in mastering gamification for employee training purposes is learning about your employee’s learning needs and goals. You can do this through simple surveys or department-specific meetings. This step will give you a clear direction for how the rest of the training design process should evolve.

  1. Determine learning goals and objectives

Based on the data gathered from employees and your business goals, you can now determine the training program's learning goals and objectives. Depending on the type of training you are looking to provide, these goals and objectives can be specific to each department or relevant for all employees to complete.

  1. Include rewards

Make a list of game design elements and decide which of them will work best with your training program. You might find that employees are more motivated by leaderboards and badges than points and performance graphs. Play around with the elements until you reach the right combination.

Read also: Rewards in Corporate Training and Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

  1. Create sharing and feedback loops

Sharing and feedback loops will help you increase your user base and provide the opportunity for constantly improving your training module.

  1. Continue to simplify and expand

As mentioned, gathering feedback from users lets you quickly adapt and improve your training content so that learners can more easily reach the desired learning goals. Still, keeping it simple is essential. You want users to enjoy the learning experience and see value in continuing to engage with the training.

Game Design Elements for Mobile Gamification

Here are some game design elements you might want to include in your gamified mobile training app:

  • Badges- visually portray the achievements of learners within the learning environment

  • Points- can be awarded after level completion and can be used for various purposes, for example, to gauge in-game learner behavior

  • Leaderboards- can boost friendly and fun competition between learners

  • Meaningful stories- create higher learner engagement since they are not about performance as much as they are about creating an enjoyable learning experience

  • Teammates- encourage competition and collaboration. This element can be used to foster teamwork

See also: Gamification in Corporate Education Infographic


Get ahead of the game (pun intended) by creating your own bespoke gamified mobile training app. An instructional design professional can take your existing training modules and develop an efficient training program for your specific needs. Read more about mobile learning and gamification on our blog and view examples from our team for inspiration. If you are ready to talk about your own training needs, please get in touch or request a quote from our team.

Please note this article was updated by our team on 8/17/2021.