Gamification and Game-Based eLearning

By May 21, 2018 No Comments
gamification elearning blog

What is Gamification?

How many of us use sites like Waze, TripAdvisor, and LinkedIn? Quite a few! In fact, in the U.S., drivers connected with Waze for a full 9 hours per month and posted over 250 million alerts in 2017! [i] Want a few more stats? Out of the 133 million U.S. LinkedIn users, 40% use it daily and the worldwide average user spends 17 minutes monthly on the site. [ii] TripAdvisor has 270 new content contributions per minute and 455 million average monthly unique visitors! [iii]

So what do companies and results like this all have in common? Gamification.

The term ‘Gamification’ refers to a process of enhancing a service with affordances for gameful experiences in order to support a user’s overall value creation. [iv] In other words, gamification is about making something potentially monotonous into a game. Learning necessary corporate content, especially online, doesn’t have to be limited to read, click through, drag and drop, and answer questions. Who doesn’t have fun playing a game? And you might as well learn while doing it. Reflection and repetition lead to retention. You can get to this by presenting content to a learner, give them time to reflect on what they learned, then introduce a game where the learner needs to recall what they previously reviewed and had time to reflect on, in order to advance within the game; or compete with their peers.

Gamification is effective because it taps into people’s natural desires for competition and triumph. Coaches, trainers, managers and other professionals use gamification to increase participation and improve productivity. Gamification is also often an essential feature in apps and websites designed to motivate people to meet personal challenges. By tracking progress it makes it feel like a challenge.[v]

Waze uses gamification by rewarding users as they contribute to road information. Users can earn points, titles, and achievements as they continue to use the app. For LinkedIn, its product is only as good as the quality of the data that its members upload. So to encourage users to maintain accurate profiles, the site gives you a different status based on the amount of data you’ve included. TripAdvisor incents and engages users with reputation points, badges, and rewards. There are even specific badges awarded for being experts in a geographical area, for being a seasoned restaurant reviewer and for checking off several destinations around the globe. Users also receive emails letting them know how their reviews have helped other travelers, prompting them to write more. [vi]

Gamification in Learning and Development

Gamification is becoming a significant part of the Learning and Development strategy within organizations. When implementing an effective gamification strategy, an organization can transform an ordinary topic into an interactive, competitive and rewarding experience, essentially, turning learners into players and encouraging participation.  Some people can confuse gamification with game-based eLearning.

There are many differences between game-based eLearning and gamification. For example, when we are thinking of the term “game” what other corresponding words come to mind? How about “win” or “lose”? Winning or losing are outcomes of a game. Gamification does not have winners or losers, there are always more levels to advance to, or higher tiers to reach. With game-based eLearning, there is always an objective and the learner either wins or loses, or answers correctly or answers incorrectly, or advances, or has to try again.

Another difference between gamification and game-based eLearning is the approach taken. Game-based eLearning is designed, from the beginning to the end, to create a specific user experience. That design incorporates all of the specific learning objectives in a game-like experience. For example, take the “Beat The Clock” game that challenges a learner to find a solution to a problem before the clock runs out. Whereas gamification incorporates more of people’s competitive nature and uses badges and leaderboards to increase engagement. An example would be a learner who watches an eLearning video, winning a badge and ranking in 1st place for watching that video first.

Both game-based eLearning and gamification have tremendous results when it comes to learning and both are effective. We have an immense network of instructional designers and training delivery experts who are experienced in both gamification and game-based eLearning applications. Our network of over 22,000 trainers are available to assist you and your organization in both designing and implementing an engaging strategy to support your business objectives.

For more information, visit our gamification page.

[i] “On the Road in 2017.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Dec. 2017,

[ii] Linkedin by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts.” • Linkedin by the Numbers (2018): Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts, 26 Jan. 2018,
[iii] TripAdvisor Q3 2017 Results.” Q3 2017 Results, TripAdvicor, Nov. 2017,
[iv] Defining Gamification – A Service… (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Apr 04 2018].
[v] Gamification.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,
[vi] McGee, Erin. “7 Surprising Examples of Gamification Most People Overlook.” Yarno, Yarno, 4 Oct. 2017,


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