Gamification in eLearning: Implementation Guide
With 7 years in developing eLearning software, ScienceSoft advises on, implements, and supports gamified eLearning solutions to make eLearning more impactful and engaging.
The development of an eLearning solution with gamification capabilities includes steps like conceptualization, business analysis, design, planning and development, testing, launch, and continues support. The project requires the roles of a project manager, a business analyst, a UI/UX designer, and a gamification expert (developer).
ScienceSoft helps companies build impactful and engaging learning mangement solutions with rich gamification capabilities.
The stages of gamified eLearning solution implementation may differ depending on the project scope and specifics of the solution. Based on ScienceSoft's experience in eLearning development, we outline the most common implementation steps we make during a gamified eLearning project:
Step 1. eLearning solution conceptualization
We define target KPIs: business KPIs (e.g., learner progress, started vs. completed challenges) and system effectiveness KPIs (e.g., learner adoption, engagement, satisfaction) of a to-be eLearning solution with gamification capabilities. Then, we consider what general eLearning features (learning content creation and management, eLearning administration), and specific gamification elements (e.g., mini-games, storytelling, points, leaderboards, badges, rewards) can bring most value in your case.
Step 2. Business analysis and learner segmentation
The main activities at this stage include:
Analysis of eLearning needs. We analyze eLearning needs a to-be solution should meet, including learning content creation and management, learning administration, and more.
Analysis of gamification goals and context. At this stage, we:
- Analyze key goals to be achieved with a gamified eLearning solution.
- Examine the existing learning processes, decide whether they should be redesigned before implementing a new solution.
- Define what learning processes (e.g., course delivery, knowledge assessment) can be effectively gamified and how.
- Decide upon the use of advanced technologies for gamification, for example, AI (e.g., chatbots) or XR (e.g., AR/VR/MR simulations).
- Make sure there is quality learning content that can be migrated to the new solution.
Target audience segmentation. To define an optimal feature set for a gamified eLearning solution, we segment target learners. We create personas (fictional characters that model actual learners) and categorize learners, for example, by using Bartle’s player types:
- Achievers (prefer gaining points, levels, and other awards that show their succeeding in a game).
- Explorers (prefer observing and examining a simulated environment in a game).
- Socializers (enjoy interacting with other players and AI during a game).
- Killers (gain the most enjoyment from competition with other players and AI).
For example, the recommended approach to Killers is encouraging peer-to-peer competition via leaderboards, while Achievers would most benefit from getting points, badges or other awards, e.g., for completing complex tasks.
ScienceSoft's best practice: Considering that the majority of people are Socializers, we always include social elements like chats and virtual assistants into gamified eLearning solutions.
Step 3. Gamified eLearning solution design
User journey creation to visualize learners’ experience. To make gamification bring more value, we suggest adhering to the following principles when designing gamification features:
- Freedom to fail (having multiple attempts to succeed).
- Prompt feedback (getting rewards after each completed task or level).
- Progression (practicing the material learned on recent levels on further levels).
- Flexibility (achieving goals by various paths).
UI prototyping to get initial mockups of eLearning features, including gamification elements.
Prototype evaluation based on user testing and feedback in order to finalize design of eLearning functionality, including gamification features.
ScienceSoft's best practice: We don't overuse gamification elements when designing the eLearning solution as, for example, granting badges for very little thing (e.g., read a chapter, answer a question) may devalue them, which can negatively affect learners’ motivation.
Step 4. Planning and development
We define an optimal feature set and elicit technical requirements for the eLearning solution with gamification capabilities. We decide which type of eLearning solution will better suit a customer's learning needs (e.g., LMS, LXP, eLearning portal), what gamification features it should include, what integrations and customizations will be required. Then, we decide upon the implementation approach:
- Development of custom gamification elements for your eLearning solution. We recommend this option for customers who have an eLearning solution that lacks gamification capabilities, or its capabilities are not enough to meet their unique gamification needs (e.g., a complex system of calculation of achievement points, AR mini-games, etc.).
- Building an eLearning solution with gamification elements from scratch. We recommend this option for customers who need both specific learning management capabilities (e.g., complex workflows, advanced reporting capabilities, personalized learning paths, integrations with numerous systems and tools, etc.) and unique gamification features (e.g., multi-level system of badges, audio and VR simulations).
- Integration of an eLearning solution with commercial gamification platforms. These platforms may not offer API integration out of the box, so development may be needed.
After deciding upon the approach, we choose a suitable platform or tech stack and design an implementation plan for the eLearning solution, including time and budget estimation, target KPIs, and more.
ScienceSoft's tip: Many ready-to-use eLearning platforms like Moodle and WordPress have specialized plugins that you can buy and install without development efforts. Examples of such plugins include Badge Awarder and Level Up! for Moodle; LearnDash and Sensei for WordPress.
ScienceSoft's best practice: We go for iterative development of the eLearning solution with gamification features, which helps reduce implementation time and costs as well as development risks.
Step 5. Testing and feedback
We perform comprehensive testing of the gamified eLearning solution, including functional, performance, integration, localization, and compatibility testing. To ensure the smooth and complete functioning, robust data sharing, stability and scalability, full compliance with usability requirements, and compatibility of the eLearning solution with its target environment (devices and OSs, browsers, hardware and network conditions), the testing activities should go in parallel with the solution’s development.
Step 6. Solution launch and evaluation
Before launching the solution, we conduct training for learners, course designers, instructors, and other users of eLearning software. Some time after the solution goes live, we analyze learner behavior reports generated by the solution and track the relevance of the gamified content and elements to update or remove certain content or elements, if needed.
Step 7. Continuous support
ScienceSoft offers continuous monitoring and optimization of the eLearning solution to ensure its stable operation and improve user adoption. Also, gamification elements may become outdated quite soon, so we redesign or even replace them to keep learners engaged and motivated.
eLearning gamification consulting
- Analyzing learning needs and learner types.
- Evaluating applicability of gamification in your case.
- Selecting an optimal feature set for the solution.
- Helping choose custom or platform-based implementation.
- Selecting optimal platforms or a tech stack.
- Creating a project implementation plan.
Outsourced eLearning gamification
- Eliciting technical requirements to an eLearning solution.
- Designing user journeys, mockups and wireframes.
- Implementing a gamified solution or individual gamification elements.
- Integrating the solution with ERP, CRM, HRMS, etc.
- QA and user training.
- Support and evolution.
eLearning Development: Success Stories by ScienceSoft
Learning Portal for a Social Care Services Provider
Language Learning Portal and Text-to-Speech Travel Apps
- A language learning portal for practicing conversational skills.
- Portal integration with Stripe Billing engine for secure money transactions.
- Two award-winning text-to-speech travel apps for iOS and Android (Best Education, Best Travel, and New Education Apps in Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia).
Training Portal Modernization for Managed Services Providers
Revamp of the WordPress-based training solution including its integration with various software, such as:
- The Customer’s mobile apps based on iOS and Android.
- WooCommerce, an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress.
- MailChimp, an email marketing solution.
- Chargify, billing software.
ScienceSoft's eLearning development team usually includes:
- Defining the scope, budget, timeframes, milestones and target KPIs of a project on gamification in online learning.
- Managing resources for the eLearning development project.
- Supervising the project stages and tracking project milestones.
- Investigating gamification needs, goals, learning context and target learners.
- Suggesting the most relevant learning management and gamification features based on learning needs.
- Mapping the features to technical requirements of an eLearning solution with gamification features.
- Designing eLearning solution with simple (e.g., badges) and complex (e.g., branching scenarios, immersive interactions) gamification elements.
- Creating storyboards that communicate how a gamified eLearning solution works.
- Building mockups and prototypes for a gamified eLearning solution or individual gamification features.
- Evaluating usability of gamification functionality implemented by a developer and suggesting improvements.
- Choosing a suitable platform or a tech stack based on technical requirements.
- Developing or customizing and deploying a gamified eLearning solution or developing individual gamification features.
- Integrating a gamified eLearning solution with eLearning software (e.g., LMS, LXP, learning portal) and other enterprise systems (e.g., ERP, CRM, HR).
- Full control over the project.
- Full understanding of specific learning management and gamification needs.
Caution: The need to hire or train experts in design and development of eLearning software with gamification features.
- High degree of control over the project.
- Highly qualified technical specialists available from a vendor. Sample team layout: a project manager, business analysts, and UI designers are in-house; developers and testers are outsourced.
Caution: In-house team members need a strong eLearning background.
- Access to professional expertise in gamified eLearning software.
- Advanced technologies, mature and cost-effective implementation methodologies (e.g., Agile), and eLearning design tools.
- Creative approach to gamification and full understanding of eLearning gamification trends.
Caution: High vendor risks.
Fast solution delivery
Of a viable MVP (within 3-5 months) due to agile iterative development and applying CI/CD practices.
Due to applying proven third-party components and public APIs, using cloud-native architecture and continuous implementation costs optimization by ScienceSoft’s PMs.
Guaranteed software quality
Due to regular code reviews, integrated APM (application performance management), and unit testing.
We’ve made a list of techs we use to create robust eLearning solutions with gamification features.
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, TX. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we guarantee high-quality IT services and the security of our customers’ data. We advise on and implement eLearning solutions with rich gamification features that help increase learners’ engagement and motivation as well as improve knowledge retention.