How Gamification Can Improve Online Learning

When we think of e-learning, we might picture plain slideshows filled with text and the occasional image. However, learning online doesn't have to be dull.

Gamification can be a promising solution to improve the e-learning experience. It involves integrating interactive elements into the learning process. The best part is that it doesn't have to be complicated or “gimmicky”. Gamification can simply include rewards like online badges or certificates to motivate learners, bite-sized quizzes to evaluate their knowledge, or interactive scenarios to enhance their engagement.

The Aviva Development Zone contains examples of effective gamification in the form of interactive scenario-based courses – these present the learner with real-life situations, encouraging decision-making and problem-solving in challenging scenarios. This is followed by learning material that helps the learner to reflect on the scenario and understand how to improve their performance. Once completed, the learner is rewarded with an online badge.

Gamification can make learning more engaging and fun, but it should not stray from its core objective – to educate the learner. If the learner gains something from the experience, then it has served its purpose. If the learner remembers the game or scenario itself but retains none of the crucial information, then it is counterproductive.

As with everything, moderation is key. In order for learners to read and retain information, gamification should be supplementary, rather than the main learning material. It needs to have a meaningful purpose, not just consist of flashy visuals that end up distracting learners and trivialising serious topics. Features such as scores and leaderboards could cause learners to compete with each other rather than focus on actual learning and personal development. However, if done correctly, it could promote healthy competition; it depends on the audience and overall learning objectives.

When used correctly, gamification has plenty of benefits. It can appeal to learners who thrive on visual and kinaesthetic styles of learning, giving them an incentive to further their own development. Images and animation can help a learner to visualise a scenario or topic, leading to better recall. Additionally, having visual indicators such as progress bars helps the learner easily track their progress and can motivate them to complete their learning.

Storytelling is a useful way of presenting new or complex information in an immersive format. Learners are more likely to engage with a visual story or scenario they can interact with rather than reading a block of facts and figures. The scenario can be broken up into chapters, signifying different learning paths.

The game-like elements could help present learning as less of a daunting task and may encourage learners to work on their development during their free time. It can also help new members of staff ease into the workplace, as part of the onboarding process, as it is may not feel as intimidating as pages and pages of information.

Regardless of how gamification is implemented in e-learning, remember the main objective – to help the learner gain knowledge and further their professional development.

If you are interested in learning more, the Development Zone has a range of interactive courses related to topics we have touched on in this article, including:

If you are new to the Aviva Development Zone, we offer a 14-day free trial where you can try every feature and every course! Click here to find out more:


About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Her role as a content designer involves developing new and engaging e-learning modules as well as assisting in the creation of articles for Insight. 

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