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Gamification: A Few Tips For Success From Carrot

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Gamification, snackable learning - our industry is full of buzzwords and technical terms. Whilst these phrases often seem straightforward, getting under the skin of what they mean in real terms for learners on the ground is a different story. Gamification stirs up images of leaderboards, Xbox controllers and lots of fun, but how do we deploy gamification effectively to get the balance right between fun and learning? In this article we’ll share Carrot’s top tips for harnessing the power of gamification for transformative learner outcomes.

Align The Game Challenges With Learners’ Workplace Roles & Responsibilities

Don't be too abstract with the gamified content. With all sorts of ways to add game-like features, it’s easy to lose sight of what it is that you're trying to achieve: better equipping employees with the tools to do their job better. The goals of the game need to match up with the goals of the learner's role to encourage behavioural change back in the real world outside the training. How do we do this? Well, we need to start by asking ‘what does success look like’ in the learner’s day to day job. What are their key signposts for successful outcomes? The more these two concepts align, the more relevant and effective the training. It really is that simple.

Assign Points For Favourable Performance Behaviours Only

The primary purpose of gamification is to reinforce positive behaviours in a fun way. Learners need to know what the expected standards of performance or behaviour are. This can quickly get muddled when we introduce elements like scoring points, progressing through levels and collecting badges. To keep the training focussed, it’s critical to ensure points are only scored or levels progressed through when the positive outcomes or knowledge recall is being reinforced.

Timing Is Key

Adding time pressure to e-learning content is an easy way to add an element of gamification. Adding an hourglass or virtual stopwatch will certainly increase engagement and a level of peril to your learner, however, proceed with caution! Another pitfall L&D managers fall into is prioritising this time peril element over actual learning. Students need time to take the information in and digest it. Carrot's advice would be to add this timed element to testing only. This way the learner can get to grips with the info and test their recall in a timed way.

Encourage Competition

As L&D managers, we ideally want learner driven engagement. A great way to do this is by fostering competition between employees. As humans, we’re often driven by one-upmanship, competing against our peers and showing off our skills. We can do this by adding badges and virtual trophies to training or leaderboards with the best performers being ranked. This can be further incentivised with employee benefits such as store discounts, vouchers etc.

Sounds good, hey? Well, there are a few watch outs. Managers need to be mindful that competition remains friendly and fun. So support any competition with the right messaging to avoid any potential tension between employees. Some employees, for example new starters, might feel overwhelmed when competing against more seasoned learners. This could impact morale. To combat this, maybe assess scores on a team level to share the responsibility and encourage social learning.

Fail & Repeat Or Fail & Continue? What happens when learners get the task wrong? It might seem like a trivial question but getting this part right goes right goes to the heart of success of gamified e-learning. If the learner gets something wrong, making them go back and do the task again and again may seem monotonous. Surely this approach will lead to disheartened learners and a drop off in engagement? This seems obvious doesn’t it? And this is perhaps why many courses opt for an easier to pass ‘fail and continue’ method of progression. However, research actually suggests otherwise. Being forced to go back and try again stimulates the frontal cortex, the problem solving part of the brain. When we’re problem solving, our brains retain information more quickly and more accurately.

Do you already have your sights set on a new gamification LMS for your employee training? Why not reach out to the Carrot learning team for a demo of our gamification programs at

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