Gamification At The Curriculum Level

Are your gamification efforts focused solely at the course level? You may be missing opportunities to guide and engage learners.

Remember your first days of college – the phone book-sized stack of orientation materials, the maze of dorm rooms and classrooms, and those cryptic graduation requirements you had no hope of understanding?

Credits, classes, minors, majors, electives – to me it was a mass of confusion until a guidance counselor set me straight.

Do new hires in your company feel the same way about on-boarding? What about continuing professional education? Few organizations have the role of “guidance counselor”. That responsibility gets left to busy managers.

I propose a new solution to end confusion, improve the learner experience, and increase engagement: gamification.

Right now, you might think of gamification only at the course level – incorporating game-based elements like timers, points, or badges. We know that these elements, done well, can increase engagement by capitalizing on our natural inclination to play and our desire to win.

Now think of moving from the micro (course) level to the macro (curriculum) level. We can use some of the same techniques, such as badges, missions, challenges, and ranks, to transform the learner experience before he or she even enters a course. For example, we recently developed a learning portal for a client’s distributed salesforce. Learners first set up their profiles by choosing their “avatar,” creating a personalized experience from the start. From there they choose from an array of missions (groups of related courses), take on challenges (courses), and move up the ranks by collecting badges for completing courses.

As a creative director, I am impressed with how creating gamification at the curriculum level challenges my team to think more critically about the user experience. We are designing a system, rather than a set of screens. We’ve added new steps to our process, such as performing more up-front analysis to validate the information architecture, as well as incorporating more user experience testing to be sure our design choices work effectively for the audience.

In the near future, I predict we will see “gamified” curricula accessible on tablets and phones, where learners can tap into nano-learnings, articles, and podcasts, progressing through their program anywhere, anytime.

Leveraging gamification at the curriculum level takes advantage of the full power of the learning portal. Like a college guidance counselor, it helps guide and motivate leaners through the maze of on-boarding, certification, or professional development programs.

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Originally published by; John Carlos Lozano – John-Carlos Lozano is Creative Director at SweetRush.


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