A History of Gamification in Curatr
Gamification plays a significant role in our Curatr platform and, research has indicated that the application of gamification principles within an eLearning platform can improve user engagement, organisation productivity, employee recruitment and vote apathy, among many more.
Glossary Term: Gamification is the integration of participation incentives that are largely based upon gaming principles to encourage engagement with a software platform. In eLearning, this includes the use of point scoring, trophies and badges, various ‘levels’ and leaderboards to increase engagement with and retention of education content.
Overview of Curatr
An idea originally conceived as part of CEO Ben Betts’ doctorate, Curatr was created with the core principles of engagement and user experience in mind. As a result, Curatr incorporated gamification elements to eLearning processes from day one and subsequently, these ideas have been adopted by the wider industry because of their ability to change online behaviour.
Today, HT2 Labs continues to update and refine Curatr’s innovative approach to gamified learning and, it is because of this that we remain to have an edge on our competition.
The Way We Were
Traditional eLearning platforms, like the monolithic Learning Management System [LMS], often followed the compliance based teach-to-test model whereby, all learning lead towards an end of unit test met with the reward of a certificate.
Figure 1 indicates the simplistic way traditional LMS courses are carried out.
Figure 2 highlights the more in-depth experience a user can now have through the use of gamification alongside Curatr.
If you’ve ever sat through one of these traditional courses, you will know only too well, the frustrations of a model that requires the simple clicking of the ‘next’ button, until you have reached the end of course test.
You might also understand the disappointment of a course that provides you with very little feedback regarding your learning journey and, the opportunity for social engagement throughout even less so.
At best, the results were tolerable. At worst, it was a ‘laptop-out-the-window’ time!
What is the Alternative?
Where traditional eLearning has tried and failed, HT2 Labs have persisted with new models based around gamification. Gamified learning attempts to take cues from some of the most engaging and, rewarding user experiences in software [namely, gaming] and, incorporate them to the learning experience.
While there are many different factors that have been identified as potential sources of engagement, HT2 Labs have brought the following into Curatr:
A Rewarding Experience
Many games reward users for taking actions with immediate and delayed rewards. An immediate reward, for example, could be the attribution of points.
In Curatr, points can be attributed to both the action of passively accessing some learning content [i.e. reading an article or, watching a video] and also, actively participating by engaging in discussion or uploading a resource of their own.
Often enough, the accrual of points in games is a motivation in itself. Although, in most instances, there are additional rewards that appear once certain point targets have been met.
Curatr takes another cue from games that enable the player to ‘level up’ when a certain number of points have been earned. In a game, ‘levelling up’ often unlocks new abilities or areas of content.
The same is true of Curatr; by achieving a target points goal, users will typically unlock a new set of Learning Content, ready to be explored by the learner.
For many users, the gaming arcade’s biggest draw was the pixelated home screen that showed the current leaderboard. Searching through the list of initialled names, they were interested in one thing and, one thing only: who was at the top this week?
Competition is often a healthy additional motivator, and Curatr has a few leaderboard options for an array of learning behaviours. For instance, who has completed the most objects? Who has attached the most comments, uploaded the most resources? The leaderboard will encourage team members to be more active in the wider course conversations and discussions.
Traditional [LMS] use a final, end of course certificate as the only recognition of progress.
In games, the final destination is not the only place where progress is rewarded. Gamers often earn Achievements and Badges for performing sets of actions within the gameplay, en route to the end goal.
Similarly, Curatr allows learning designers to create badges that are rewarded for actions that occur within and across courses. Making 10 comments, uploading 5 new comments or, viewing 10 objects tagged with ‘on boarding’ are the kinds of granular behaviours that can be targeted and rewarded within Curatr.
For many gamers, a big motivation was the ability to explore a new world in their own way. Games quickly evolved from the linear directed route described by 2D platformers into maze-like top down scrolling adventures and, eventually fully open 3D worlds.
Curatr is similar in the sense that ‘objects’ can be accessed in any order. In fact, levels can be set to an ‘open’ mode, enabling users to jump in and out of different topics are their own will.
Curatr’s offer of different object types [for example, PDFs, videos and articles] allow for a more personalised experience. Likewise, variable targets allow for some objects to become optional.
Like most modern games, the order and pacing is user-determined and, users can explore the minimum amount to achieve their required points or, they can experience everything – with Curatr, there are no limitations!
If you’d like to learn more about Curatr, perhaps experience what it has to offer first-hand, you can do so by arranging a demo.
About the author
Pete is now an experienced developer but was once a classroom teacher before transitioning into online training. He likes to tinker with things to continually improve the user experience and deliver features that make a difference to trainers and learners alike. Outside the office, Pete is a normal geek.
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