The challenge for educators and teachers has always been how to get learners more engaged to transfer more meaningful knowledge. Before entering formal education children seem to have a natural affinity for learning because at that point they are busy and actively organizing their world in a way that is predisposed. Helping young children overcome learning milestones is easier because of their natural motivation and developmental trajectory. With older children, young adults and members of the workforce the challenge is to make learning as engaging, motivating and rewarding as it was at the early stages. Most people have experienced gamification in the classroom environment and think learning is more fun when playing games. Students may have been divided into two teams and content knowledge provided the bases for a competitive question/answer games and the team that answered the most questions were rewarded with free time, stars by their names or some other mark of recognition. With advances in technology, computers and elearning now used this system of rewards and advancement to make learning more engaging for all. From learning complicated topics in school, promoting problem based learning in the work place to professional training in management, the gamification of learning pays off with more engaged learning and greater retention of knowledge by learners. An added advantage of gamification is that the knowledge tranfers to situations and circumstances outside the classroom or computer modules because learners learn to used the knowledge to solve problems and in a broader context.
Learning management system software usually offers the knowledge that the learners need to perform at their optimal or a superior level. The challenge is to engage the learner for a more deeper processing and understanding and to motivate the learner to want to achieve greater heights. As with computer games, learners must learn how to perform withing the gaming environment to master the game and various rewards usually allow then to reach their objective faster and easier. Learners are motivated to get higher scores or more advanced levels and are rewarded by greater advantages. Some gaming systems allow choices or options such as better equipment, more advanced abilities or larger rewards. In the world of training and professional development this may mean that the learner gets promotions, greater monetary incentives and greater benefits. Learning management systems can also incorporate team spirit through communication, cooperation and collaboration where each learner can add knowledge and insight into problem solving. Whether in the classroom, work place or management team environment, gamification can lead to fun and rewarding learning that translate into greater knowledge and creative thinking. For the individual learner it may open up greater opportunities. In the work place it may lead to greater recognition and higher paying positions. In management it may lead to a better working department that sets new standards for the entire company. Gamification usually equals more engaged, motivated and rewarding learning.
Gamification in learning management systems leads to better learning by students, higher performance on standardized test and more funding for schools. In the work place, it could lead to more effective and efficient ways of working resulting in higher productivity, better work relations and higher job satisfaction scores. In management it could mean a better workflow, a more cohesive way of operating and better departmental and company organization. Gamification in learning management systems can lead to real improvement rather than going through the motions. How does your current learning management system serve your learners’ and company’s needs?