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Adult Gamification in eLearning

Gamification was all the rage back in 2015, but has seemingly dropped off the radars of a lot of eLearning companies in recent times. What was once in vogue has turned into a mere shrug of the shoulders when mentioned. But can eLearning still have a place in learning content creation now? And more importantly, can you make it more suitable for adults?

Critical Hit

One of the biggest criticisms that gamification faces is that it is accused of being a little childish, an infantile way of teaching that doesn’t really add any value to courses. This view though couldn’t be further from the truth, as stats from various studies have consistently shown that gamification adds value in terms of increased productivity from staff, as well as improved employee engagement.

The criticism of gamification seeming childish does carry a ring of truth however, but this is more due to the type of gamification used as opposed to the concept as a whole. Execution is also a factor in the childish nature of some types of gamification.


So how can you change this? Well quite simply, change your gamification style to accommodate an adult audience. For gamification, we can turn to video games for inspiration. Video games are still as popular as ever in 2020, even with adults (26% of Americans aged 34-54 still play once a week (Source: Statista)) and the fact they’re aimed at adults is a factor in this. There’s clearly still an appetite for gaming, and thus gamification, in the older age bracket, so there’s an argument to be had for its inclusion in your eLearning.

There are several ways to tackle this…

It’s dangerous to go alone, so read this!

We’ve all seen knowledge checks with badges as a reward, but what do they actually do in your eLearning? It’s one thing to give your learners an arbitrary badge or high score, but it’s another to actually make use of these tools in the course itself.

A way to use these more effectively is to have these badges or scores used as currency in the course to aid them in some way. Earned 500 points? Here’s an easier question in the knowledge check. You’ve earned two badges? You can pay to skip a section. These aren’t givens, but you get the gist. Giving the learner the trust and freedom to spend what they’ve earned on “upgrades” or something that will help them in course is a gaming trope that can be well utilised in eLearning.

Would you kindly…

Treating your learners like adults and giving them something to spend their earned capital on is just one way of using gamification in adult learning. Another way is to use an over-arching narrative or story that relates to your company or the topic they’re covering so they can become invested in the course.

For example, is your company in retail? Have your learner undertake a course that shows the journey of a customer as they enter your store to better understand how they can make the customer’s experience as great as it can be. Or are you needing to train your staff on fire safety? Take them on a narrative journey of your fire procedure showing both the consequences and successes of following your fire safety plan using a character throughout.

Press Start

These are just a couple of examples, mind. There’s plenty of scenarios that you can use in your courses to make eLearning engaging with gamification. There’s plenty of scope to integrate gamification into your learning, whatever your business sector.

So, if you need some bespoke eLearning creating that utilises gamification, or whatever your company’s eLearning needs, give us a call, and let’s make something unique together.