The more we see gamification examples in marketing, the more the effectiveness of this strategy is proven…especially in the realm of digital learning.
After all, the unique challenges presented by digital courses center around the fact that online students are forced to try to learn without the aid of interaction…until gamification comes into play.
Using gamification can work wonders for the learning experience by tapping into simple human tendencies such as competition, achievement, and rewards.
With a wide variety of gamification tools available online, it’s also becoming increasingly affordable and practical for you to integrate gamification in your own digital learning environment.
We took some time to explore the fundamental components of online learning – and are sharing 5 of the awesome gamification examples in marketing available to you.
1. Progress Tracking
Simply speaking, most people are motivated by achievement. This achievement might come in the form of attaining a big goal or many little goals along the way.
Gamification can be used to provide the student with a visible benchmark to track progress – whether within a single course or in the program as a whole.
In our Heartquarters program, we rely on our gamification plugin for WordPress, AccessAlly Pro, to accurately track the progress of our students. Simply by revealing how far each participant has gotten in the course, progress tracking urges the students to finish what they started…from the moment they log into their online account.
The overview method is great for two reasons:
- It is easy for each user to gauge how much progress they're making in their courses.
- Indirectly, it's also easier to see at a glance which course you left off with, so you can easily choose the next one on the list
Of course, in order for the progress tracking to read accurately, the users must take on the responsibility of checking off the individual tasks within a course. As each checkbox is marked off, the percentage of “completed” material changes accordingly.
Though somewhat subtle, progress tracking is definitely one of the more invaluable gamification examples in marketing.
Even without gamification, progress tracking can be made more readily apparent by the way you set up and label your course. For example, writing “Lesson 1 of 15” on a page will offer a student much better perspective than just “Lesson 1.”
2. Unlock Content Based On Actions
Progress tracking, simply speaking, alerts the user that progress is being made…but unlocking content based on the actions of the user takes it one step further.
When you think about most digital games, they tend to include some form of the concept “leveling up.” In many (not all) of these games, leveling up often comes with access to new in-game material.
After all, there has to be some type of mental reward for making it through X amount of learning material!
Typically, this type of gamification comes in the form of a drip-fed course. Lesson 2, for example, can't be viewed until Lesson 1 has been completed.
The curiosity of “what comes next?” is piqued, and everything becomes focused on “beating this level” (I mean lesson), so that the next one can be unlocked.
3. Add Social Sharing To Increase Engagement
Many learners are internally motivated, and can easily be prompted to continue through a course with the first two gamification examples in marketing listed above.
However, a lot of people are more likely to continue to interact with your course if they can share their online learning experience and use it to connect with their social peers.
In other words: adding a social sharing component is a “must”!
Just building in social sharing buttons on a course page – or a click-to-tweet link with a pre-written message – can work wonders for student motivation. (Hint: it's also a free marketing ploy for you!)
Another way we've seen social sharing integrated is through the integration of unique badges that are awarded to students based on achievements they've made.
One online learning center that has done this incredibly well is Khan Academy – a free online hub of learning for students of all ages.
Within this model, each student can proudly earn and display the badges they're most proud of. They can also find out what it takes to earn more.
The more tools you can bring to the table to connect your students on a social level, the more vibrant engagement you can begin to garner around your digital learning experience.
Simple, but wonderful .. and very effective.
4. Earn Points & Bonuses With Achievements
Badges and social status is one thing…but imagine the joys of your students when you offer them a way to earn points and bonuses with their in-course achievements.
A gamified points system works similarly to our own currency, but you're the one in charge of the value and trade regulations for your points system.
A couple months ago, we integrated the “Hearts” points system within our own membership site…with awesome results.
Each user is able to accumulate Hearts by interacting with other members within the site, completing courses – and by purchasing them outright.
A points system helps to emphasize the value of the material being consumed by the students…after all, how often do we hear the words (or say them ourselves): “I just forgot to finish that course.”
With a points & bonus system in place, you can add perceived value to the learning experience as well as offer incentive to consume more material so that the points continue to accumulate.
We combined the points system with gamification example #2 (unlock content based on actions) to make unlocking content a little more exciting:
When we added the Hearts points system alone to our membership site, we saw an incredible increase in the engagement of our students and the time they spent learning the same material as before.
It's hard to take course material for granted when you have to spend your hard-earned Hearts to access it!
5. Give Instant Feedback With Gamified Quizzes
The last of the gamification examples in marketing comes in the form of gamified quizzes.
Now, when we think of “quizzes,” we often think of our school days…and cringe.
But quizzes aren't meant to be used as a form of punishment. No, they're an invaluable way for you as the course creator to gauge how well your teaching methodology is paying off.
With quizzes, you are also giving the student a chance to reflect and determine whether they really invested their time into the lesson enough to take in the knowledge that you offered to them.
Quizzes can be used as a determining factor for unlocking new content. Anything exceeding a certain percentage of correct answers, for example, would merit access to new content for the student.
Quizzes can also be used as the “last step” needed before you award a badge, certificate of training, or X number of points to your students.
At the very least, it's a great way to address a mentality that's easy to fall into: believing we should benefit from a course simply because we invested a lot of money into it!
It doesn't matter how much the course costs – if you don't commit to investing our time to learn the material, you're shortchanging yourself.
In its own way, a gamified quiz makes a lighthearted, exciting statement to the online student, urging them to continue to invest and take in the material.
Gamification, In Short, Is The Answer To Your Questions
There's hope for every online course creator: gamification can truly motivate your students to learn and finish the course material you're offering.
Each of the gamification examples in marketing listed above can truly work wonders for the success your online learning experience.
What types of gamification have you used? Share your experience in the comments below!