The more we see LMS gamification examples in marketing, the more the effectiveness of this strategy is proven…especially in the realm of digital learning.
After all, the unique challenges presented by digital courses center around the fact that online students are forced to try to learn without the aid of interaction…until gamification comes into play.
Using these examples of gamification can work wonders for the learning experience by tapping into natural human tendencies such as competition, achievement, and rewards.
With a wide variety of gamification tools available online, it’s also becoming increasingly affordable and practical for you to integrate gamification in your own digital learning environment.
What is gamification?
Gamification is when you add game theory or essentially, elements of playing games, whether they’re video games or in-person games into an online platform.
We took some time to explore the fundamental components of online learning – and are sharing 10 of the most popular examples of gamification in marketing available to you.
Examples of Gamification
1. Create a Points or Credit System
One of the most popular forms of gamification in e-learning is by awarding points.
If you’ve participated in a game or video game where you earn points as you go along, you know first-hand how rewarding it can be.
You can create a unique points system for your online course or membership in the form of stars or coins.
We used to award hearts for hour Heartquarters Insider membership.
The way you brand your point system is important and it should tie into the general concept of what it is that you’re selling.
A lot of online learning systems right now will allow you to give points to people as they finish courses, individual lessons, or quizzes. But the key here is creating a rewards system that ties into your points system.
If you’re using AccessAlly, our online learning platform for WordPress, the native gamification features allow you to unlock additional content and bonuses by points. So essentially what you’re creating is not just a way to give people points, but a way for people to redeem their points too.
Dana Malstaff, founder of the Nurture to Convert Society and author of the bestselling book “Boss Mom”, uses AccessAlly’s gamification features to give reward points for actions that members take, like landing their first podcast interview, reading a particular book, and asking for a testimonial.
Your users could potentially use them to get a coaching session, purchase another course, unlock bonuses, or redeem for physical products. It’s up to you to decide how you want to structure your points and rewards system.
A gamified points system works similarly to our own currency, but you’re the one in charge of the value and trade regulations for your points system.
When we set up our “Hearts” points system, each user was able to accumulate more Hearts by interacting with other members within the membership, completing courses – or by purchasing them outright.
The points system helps to emphasize the value of the material being consumed by the students…after all, how often do we hear the words (or say them ourselves): “I just forgot to finish that course.”
With a points & bonus system in place, you can add perceived value to the learning experience as well as offer incentives to consume more material so that the points continue to accumulate.
We combined the points system with gamification example #4 (unlock content based on actions) to make unlocking content a little more exciting:
When we added the Hearts points system alone to our membership site, we saw an incredible increase in the engagement of our students and the time they spent learning the same material as before.
You can even set up a points system to issue a certain number of points each month as part of your membership if you offer a lot of content to help reduce overwhelm.
Users can unlock the courses they are most interested in to focus on them first without feeling like they need to dip their toes into more than one at a time.
It’s hard to take course material for granted when you have to spend your hard-earned Hearts to access it!
Leaderboards are another great gamification example.
You can set up a leaderboard that showcases badges that users earn so they can compete to earn more than the other people on the list.
You can also set up a leaderboard based on your points system.
If a user has 50 points, for example, and the next person on the leaderboard right above them has 60 points the leaderboard can motivate them to earn more points to move up on the leaderboard.
As you can see there are many different ways to use leaderboards.
When incorporating a leaderboard strategy into your membership or online course, be sure to think about how the leaderboard will benefit the user or the student.
You can even build a sense of community with your members using this gamification strategy. Some of the people may already know each other if they’re in the same organization or the same group but chances are many of your online course participants won’t so you can set up a member directory to help them get to know the other people listed on your leaderboard.
When a person sees someone listed, they could click through to the directory and read the member’s bio and find out more about that person too.
3. Storytelling & Choose Your Own Adventure
Another great way to incorporate gamification into your marketing and learning experiences is through storytelling or a “choose your own adventure” type setup.
There are so many ways you can use storytelling in your online learning experience as opposed to just having videos people consume or quizzes that they will take.
Let’s take a closer look at the “choose your own adventure” setup first.
Instead, you can create a quiz, and instead of it being a pass-fail setup where people know the answer or don’t, you set it up as a personality style quiz to help guide them to the right material for them.
For example, if you have beginners, intermediate and advanced students, you could point them to the material that’s going to meet them where they are based on how they responded to the quiz questions.
You don’t want them to be bored with the beginner material if they are more advanced. This could lead to them not completing the work or requesting a refund or canceling because they aren’t engaged and being challenged.
This “choose your own adventure” setup is a great way to personalize the learning experience.
We’ve even seen some of our AccessAlly clients create a virtual escape room using this type of choose your own adventure gamification style right inside their member’s area.
This style of membership or course keeps people engaged. It gets them curious about what’s behind door number one or door number two and it really keeps them motivated to complete the material.
They get the value that they expected while having fun.
4. Unlock bonus content
The next gamification example is to unlock bonus content. Just like you can discover secret passages to unlock bonuses or receive rewards for a job well done in a video game, you can unlock bonuses inside a membership site or online course.
You can even combine this with the first example we talked about above to redeem points for bonuses.
After somebody completes a certain action you can reward them with a bonus. This could be a bonus download or video that’s not available to everyone, or anything that you can think of to really make your members feel special.
It’s a reward to help them feel like they’ve achieved something. When we’re working on a course or training we all want to feel that sense of accomplishment and like we’re making progress and moving forward. These bonuses help instill that feeling in your members.
5. Accountability and Buddy Systems
A lot of times when you’re playing games, you can team up with someone else to work towards a common goal.
Plus, it’s a lot more fun to play a game on a team or with a buddy.
So when it comes to online learning, think about how you can use gamification in your online learning experience to recreate this feeling.
One way to do this is to create a buddy system. Whether you manually pair people up yourself, or you have a system that automatically groups people into small groups, this is a great way to build in some accountability for your program.
Creating a buddy system results in a lot less work for you because you don’t have to individually coach each person going through your courses, but it gives your members a chance to really connect with other people who are going through the same content.
They can even get support throughout the program, all while feeling that camaraderie and sense of working together.
6. Progress Tracking
Simply speaking, most people are motivated by achievement. This achievement might come in the form of attaining a big goal or many little goals along the way.
LMS gamification can be used to provide the student with a visible benchmark to track progress – whether within a single course or in the program as a whole.
In our former Heartquarters program, mentioned previously, we relied on our gamification plugin, AccessAlly Pro, to accurately track the progress of our students.
We set it up to display the percentage of completion for each participant to indicate how far they have gotten in each of the courses they started.
Progress tracking helps motivate the students to finish what they started…from the moment they log into their online account.
Each course keeps a record of how much material a user has consumed.
The overview method is great for two reasons:
- It is easy for each user to gauge how much progress they’re making in their courses.
- Indirectly, it’s also easier to see at a glance which course you left off with, so you can easily choose the next one on the list
Of course, in order for the progress tracking to read accurately, the users must take on the responsibility of checking off the individual tasks within a course. As each checkbox is marked off, the percentage of “completed” material changes accordingly.
Each user is responsible for checking off the components within each lesson.
Though somewhat subtle, progress tracking is definitely one of the more invaluable gamification examples in marketing.
Even without gamification, progress tracking can be made more readily apparent by the way you set up and label your course. For example, writing “Lesson 1 of 15” on a page will offer a student a much better perspective than just “Lesson 1.”
You’ll want to display the progress bars where users can easily locate them.
You can even set them up to display as soon as a user first logs in so they can see how far they’ve gotten right away.
A lot of companies do this. For example, when you first log in to LinkedIn, you will be asked to fill out your profile, but your name and email are already completed when you signed up. So, you’re already ahead because you’ve already completed those pieces.
Seeing this immediate progress really motivates people to complete their profile and reach 100% of completion.
Start to think about how you can track people’s progress inside of your online courses or how you can incorporate this into your business with your customers to help them experience that forward momentum from the get-go.
7. Give Instant Feedback With Gamified Quizzes
The next gamification examples in marketing that we’ll look at comes in the form of gamified quizzes.
Now, when we think of “quizzes,” we often think of our school days…and cringe.
But quizzes aren’t meant to be used as a form of punishment. Rather, they’re an invaluable way for you as the course creator to gauge how well your teaching methodology is paying off.
With quizzes, you are also giving the student a chance to reflect and determine whether they really invested their time into the lesson enough to take in the knowledge that you offered to them.
Quizzes can be used as a determining factor for unlocking new content. Anything exceeding a certain percentage of correct answers, for example, would merit access to new content for the student.
Quizzes can also be used as the “last step” needed before you award a badge, certificate of training, or X number of points to your students.
At the very least, it’s a great way to address a mentality that’s easy to fall into believing we should benefit from a course simply because we invested a lot of money into it!
It doesn’t matter how much the course costs – if someone doesn’t commit to investing their time to learn the material, they’re shortchanging themself.
In its own way, a gamified quiz makes a lighthearted, exciting statement to the online student, urging them to continue to invest and take in the material.
You have so many opportunities to leverage quizzes in your course or membership. In addition to the use cases above, and the choose your own adventure style quiz we talked about previously, you can also use quizzes to tell people a little bit more about themselves, about their personalities and how they’re doing.
There’s a great example of an AccessAlly client who has built a quiz into their program that helps members figure out what type of empath they are, whether they may think they’re an empath or not.
This type of interaction is a really great way to use gamification and also to get people to learn a little bit more about themselves too.
Another very popular gamification method used by game designers and course creators, alike, is the use of badges.
You can reward people after they finish a whole course or after they finished a module with a badge.
You can also use a member directory to display your user’s badges as a form of recognition.
Another use case for badges is to allow the students to download them so they can use them on their own personal websites to help build their credibility, especially if they’ve completed a certification training.
Another gamification strategy similar to badges is the use of certificates.
You can leverage this gamification feature to reward people after they finish a whole course or after they complete a module or lesson.
While this is great if you offer a certification program, it’s not limited to that type of offer.
You can use certificates as a means of recognition to reward your users for a job well done. Your users can even print them out, download them, or save them to share with their friends and family.
10. Countdown Timers
The last of the gamification techniques we want to share with you is how to leverage countdown timers.
Some games help create a sense of urgency and time pressure by limiting the amount of time you have to complete it.
By using countdown timers you help motivate people and keep them engaged and excited.
Being able to exhibit mastery and completing something within a certain timeframe can be rewarding in itself, but you can also use add in some of the strategies above too.
Based on a user’s performance, you could give them bonuses or other incentives based on how quickly they’ve completed the tasks.
Benefits of Gamification
Gamification not only benefits the member or course participant, but course creators and membership site owners also reap the benefits of gamification.
If you suffer from a lack of retention of your members long-term, are losing members or receiving refund requests because your users aren’t making progress, gamification is the answer to your problems.
Gamification is the Solution to Lack of Engagement and Retention
If you’re experiencing a lack of engagement, progress, or retention amongst the members in your programs. there’s always a way to turn things around.
Gamifying your learning experience is one of the easiest ways to motivate your students and encourage them to learn and finish the course material you’re offering.
Each of these examples of gamification in marketing listed above can truly work wonders for the success of your online learning experience.
If you’re ready to implement these strategies into your programs to create a truly engaging experience for your learners, be sure to check out AccessAlly to learn more about how it can help you add gamification to your online courses and your membership sites.
And if you’re already using gamification in your business, share your experience in the comments below!