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Quick Tips: Gamification: Play-On or Time-Out?

The gamification hype has arrived in full force. Luckily for those of us in the training and performance improvement industry, the underlying game techniques that are the driving force in gamification are the same ones we’ve been using in instructional design just re-branded and folded together in a new way.

Gamification must add real value to the learner’s experience, or it will fail to make a lasting impact on performance. The trick is to know when to incorporate gaming techniques effectively into your design so they enhance learning and performance instead of just entertaining the learner.


Build credibility and create learning solutions that have the correct balance of instructional integrity and engagement by keeping these gamification tips in mind:

  • Know your audience and company culture. How will incorporating gamification “play” with the organization?
  • Aim for simplicity. Apply individual game techniques at first. Later you can review the results and add additional game techniques to enhance engagement.
  • Understand the performance objectives, the supporting learning objectives, and their context. Do they call for one-time performance or continuous improvement? Is there a discrete, well-defined performance expectation, or is there value in exploring new ways to accomplish work?
  • Provide feedback, heavy at first to guide learners through the new experience. As they become more comfortable with the approach and their performance improves, modify feedback to focus on meaningful performance.
  • Be ready to make progressive improvements to your design based on comments you receive from learners.
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