Structural Gamification and Content Gamification

Designing Digitally


Serious Games

No learner wants boring and monotonous learning processes. If the training is not engaging, you are likely to lose some learners along the way. Interactive content not only glues the learner to the course but also makes them gain maximum benefit from it. Gamified learning is a giant stride toward achieving an interactive learning process.

Gamification is the integration of game elements or game-like characteristics into online learning solutions. When drawing a gamification strategy for your learners, there are several decisions you have to make. You have to decide whether you want to add game elements to the structure of the content or to the content itself. Based on these choices, there are two types of gamification; structural gamification and content gamification. This article discusses both types.

Structural gamification

In this type of gamification, game elements are added to the structure of the content, but the content itself remains unaltered. The ultimate aim of structural gamification is to push the learner through the learning process; for example, to make them complete one more task. Through the use of rewards, it motivates the learner to finish the course content.

Some of the forms of structural gamification you can use to motivate your learners are:

Progression-based games: These games set a goal to be achieved. Every step that the learner makes in the learning process pulls them towards the set goal. For example, your training can be such that learners are pushed up a progress bar when they answer questions correctly. If the learner provides incorrect answers, their progress percentage remains the same.

Badge-based games: Here, learners are given badges depending on their level of competence. These badges are digitally displayed on their profiles. Learners are motivated to work harder to attain more prestigious badges. A learner can have several badges to indicate different achievements. You will set the badges depending on the objectives you give priority. For example, you can have badges for learners who

  • Complete the coursework within a set period
  • Achieve a specific progression level
  • Make minimal errors in their tasks

Casual games: The learner is given a chance to play a game before attempting a task. The purpose of the game is to trap the learner's attention and encourage them to go through the content. For example, you can have the learners play an engaging progress-based game before answering some questions. The game is then interrupted, and the learner is only allowed to continue playing after answering the questions. It is good to note that the use of casual games will only be considered structural gamification if the game is not related to the content of the course.

Competition games: Human beings love outdoing each other. If you exploit this fact, you can develop a very engaging learning process. For example, you can have a game where learners who complete tasks in the shortest time are given rewards. Amidst such competition, the learners may not even realize when the learning process takes longer than they had expected.

Content gamification

In content gamification, the content is altered to be more game-like by using elements such as challenges, feedback loops, and storytelling without actually turning the training into a game. This technique enhances the learner’s engagement with the material without designing an elaborate game and keeps the content at the forefront of the training. For example, if you are training your employees on safety procedures during fire outbreaks, you could start the course with a story instead of covering the learning objectives. Next, challenge them to apply their learning and create their own story that highlights what they should do if a building catches fire.

What are the advantages of gamified learning

Gamification makes the learning process interactive and engaging. Things like casual games and competition add fun to online training. They break monotonous sessions. But beyond making the training engaging and interactive, what other benefits will you accrue by integrating games into your online training.

More goals are achieved through recognition and rewards
Human beings feel good when they are appreciated. That simple reward, whether it is a badge or some digital points, will encourage the learners to do more. In the end, the objectives of the training will be achieved faster and satisfactorily.

Shorter feedback cycles
With gamified learning, you will not have to wait until the appraisal period to appreciate your employees for taking the company’s online courses. With features such as badges, they will feel recognized. You can even use gamification to encourage your learners to give feedback. For example, you can make answering a feedback questionnaire one of the requirements for getting a more prestigious badge.

Clear learning pathway
Games that include elements such as progress bars give the learners a better understanding of the training. They can track where they are in the learning process. They, therefore, can estimate the effort and time needed to finish the coursework. When learners have no way of tracking their progress, they are more likely to give up.

Encouraging collaboration
Gamification can be used to encourage social learning. You can have a reward for learners who help their colleagues solve questions. For example, if a learner posts an issue in the online forum, you can have badges for those who give timely responses.

Another way of encouraging collaboration through games is giving learners a feeling of shared success. You can have an open forum where learners write congratulatory messages to colleagues who attain special badges.

Identifying talent
There might be hidden talents among your employees. Gamified learning can help unearth these talents. For example, speed-based badges can help you identify employees who can handles tasks with short deadlines.

Where to get online learning solutions

Here at Designing Digitally, Inc., we create custom training experiences that incorporate gamification to ensure effective, enjoyable learning.

To get started on a top-notch online learning solution for your organization, get in touch with our team today.