Drive learner engagement with gamification

Why do you train your employees? 

You want them to get better at their jobs, to know more about your values, your processes, and your products.

Gamification can help. 

Adding game elements to your eLearning can tap into learners’ motivation and hold onto their attention. That combination means they will learn more, remember it longer, and excel at their work.

Gamified microlearning grabs learners’ attention

Effective eLearning needs to grab and hold learners’ attention. Microlearning does this by delivering brief, highly relevant content. Gamified microlearning can give that engagement a boost! 

Benefits of adding game elements to your microlearning include:

Gamification can cause learners to engage over and over again; this spaced repetition builds knowledge retention and mastery

Game elements can foster collaborative learning — or fan competition that motivates learners to improve their performance

Gamification based on relevant challenges and desired behaviors can boost performance when what’s learned is applied on the job

Ready to talk to our experts?

If you want to transform how training happens at your organization our gamified microlearning platform is the answer.

Reach out to our experts today to schedule an OttoLearn demo! If you're still not sure that gamification will work for your training needs, let us convince you! Keep reading about Otto below and you'll discover:

  • How microlearning coupled with gamification will boost engagement with your training courses
  • Why your employees need extra motivation to entice them to pay attention to their training
  • How gamification can reduce training costs and improve employee performance

Transform your microlearning with gamification

Microlearning delivers a lot of what learners love — short, relevant content that is available on demand and on their mobile devices.

Build more excitement by adding game elements designed to supercharge learners’ motivation.

Fun, engaging content means learners will eagerly practice often — spaced repetition makes training more effective
While they’re having fun, employees will train longer and improve their knowledge retention
Gamification appeals to learners’ motivation to do better, beat their own past performance, move up in levels, earn rewards — all while achieving mastery

Gamified microlearning also offers performance support by providing fun, accessible content on demand — at the moment and in the location where learners need it

Learners love gamification

Gamification makes training more fun and rewarding; levels and points allow them to see their progress.

Learners engage with training challenges and get instant feedback; these gamification features improve performance.

Gamification leverages intrinsic motivation to improve and engage in continuous self-directed training.

Choosing specific behaviors to gamify, and rewarding improvement motivates learners to focus on the content and behaviors managers need most.

Tap into both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators with gamification, and harness learners’ desire to get better at their work and build their long-term knowledge retention.

Admins & managers love gamification

Stop chasing learners! Break free from the annual training cycle with continuous microlearning.

Game elements provide a quick visual view of learner engagement. Admins and managers can see at a glance who is progressing and who needs a nudge.

Gamification offers a way to recognize employees’ effort and improvement with prizes and public acclaim.

Encouraging learners to step up their game can be done with casual coaching, potentially eliminating tougher corrective conversations.

Gamification makes it easy for everyone — learners, managers, and training admins — to see who’s acing the content and who’s trailing behind. This motivates learners to engage and improve — and provides valuable information to managers and admins.


of L&D professionals think gamification will significantly impact eLearning in the next 5 years

Source: LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning Report


of CEOs and CFOs take daily game breaks

Source: Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal, pg 11, citing survey by Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal


of Americans aged 30-49 play video games often or sometimes (and 25% of those aged 65 and older)

Source: Pew Research

6.8 billion

The value of global gamification market in 2018

Source: Global Gamification Market report from TechSci Research

It is a new and exciting way to learn! Increasing your mastery level in each category makes it fun, keeps you engaged and learning until you become the master.

Amanda h.

Get started with gamification with our microlearning platform!

Using leaderboards and targeted contests in your gamified microlearning to motivate learners, enhance team building, and recognize top performers is a great way to motivate learners and improve performance. 

Gamification with leaderboards

Leaderboards show individuals’ or teams’ progress and make it easy to recognize top performers. By enabling learners to compare their achievements with their teammates’ progress, leaderboards tap into learners’ competitive spirit and can motivate them to engage and strive to beat their “competitors.” 

Leaderboards are a great tool for team building, including virtual team building: 

Setting up competition between teams enhances the connections among members of each team, since teammates are cooperating and encouraging one another. When everyone participates and improves, the team does better!

Setting up competition among members of a team highlights individual members’ achievements and fosters friendly competition that spurs improvement all around. 

Gamification with contests

Contests are designed to target specific learning and performance goals. You can use contests to reward learners:

  • Each time they reach a new level — rewarding overall progress; this is ideal when introducing new products and features or information-dense content
  • Each time they close a knowledge gap — rewarding progress toward individual goals incentivizes training while also personalizing both the content and the rewards; this is also an ideal way to motivate learners to review material they only use occasionally, such as seasonal or annual products or services 
  • Each time they complete a training session — incentivizing regular training engagement; this is ideal for fostering continuous learning strategies and rewarding learners for developing a daily training habit. 
  • Allow learners to earn many points — When planning your rewards store and points system, make it easy for all employees to get points. Instead of controlling your learners through points earned, control their spending by limiting the number of rewards available.

Continue the gamified training experience with points and rewards!

Continuous learning starts with continuous motivation for your employees to engage with their training. Our in-app points system and rewards store helps bridge the gap, offering a constant incentive to work towards training goals and close knowledge gaps.

Gamification with points

Close knowledge gaps

Your learners earn a point each time they successfully complete a Training Moment, up to their mastery goal. As they work through their training concepts and are rewarded with points, they are also closing knowledge gaps and pushing towards mastery of the material.

Continued proficiency

After your employees have mastered the training content, you can continue to motivate by rewarding mastery streaks. Learners who continue to engage and demonstrate a high level of long-term knowledge retention earn even more points redeemable for rewards.

Award training excellence

You can reward your employees with points for many other training-related aspects of their job. Attach point values to winning a contest, job performance through demonstration of proficiency, mentoring new hires, completing their onboarding, or other external training.

Gamification with rewards

Treat points earned as a company currency that is focused on excelling your learning culture forward. Monetize your learner’s effort with a rewards store that offers your employees a prize as they work towards their training goals.

  • Determine your rewards store baseline — Calculate the maximum points value of your training content. Then, assign a monetary value to a single point, so you can determine the number of points needed for each reward available to your learners.
  • Entice with initial excitement — Create buzz around your rewards store by asking your employees what rewards they would like to see. Rewards can be anything from gift cards and cash, luxury items, travel packages, charitable donations, or earned days off.
  • Allow learners to earn many points — When planning your rewards store and points system, make it easy for all employees to get points. Instead of limiting the points your employees can earn, control spending by limiting the number of rewards available.

Why learners love gamified learning

Contests, leaderboards, points, and rewards all add an element of fun competition, additional motivation, or bonus-added incentive to continue learning. 

Learners love the recognition and thrill that comes with moving up a leaderboard, winning a contest, or redeeming points for a well-earned reward. 

Admins & managers love gamified learning

Rather than chasing learners to do their training, managers can cheer their employees’ progress as they engaged with the gamified learning elements. 

Gamified learning makes for enjoyable and engaging training, but also provides opportunities to recognize an individual or team accomplishment.

Ignite intrinsic motivation with gamification

Engagement is the ultimate goal, the brass ring in the carousel ride. Engaged learners spend more time with the training content — and keep coming back for more.

Gamification is touted as a way to increase learner engagement, which is why it’s so popular with eLearning creators.

But does it work?

That depends on how it’s done.

Effective gamification:

Emphasizes function over form; rather than spend time on flashy graphics and gimmicks, build levels and rewards that connect directly to mastery of content.
Respects learners’ prior knowledge; rather than serving the same content to all learners, use adaptive algorithms to deliver the exact content each learner needs most.
Holds learners accountable;
rather than fostering competition among colleagues who need to collaborate, spur learners to beat their own past performance.
Allows self-directed training;
rather than requiring that learners follow a prescribed content path, use specific devices, or learn at specific times, allow learners to access content on demand, on their preferred device.

Elements of effective gamification

Key elements of effective gamification include:

Relevant interactivity
Asking learners to recall and apply learning content in a variety of ways, for example, realistic scenarios where they can practice skills they will use on the job or rehearse conversations that mimic situations they are likely to encounter, like a frustrated customer
Meaningful feedback & goals
Knowing what they are getting right and where they need to brush up on details helps learners gauge their progress; being able to set meaningful goals motivates them to work toward mastery
Freedom to experiment
Allowing learners to take chances, risk answering tough questions, and, yes, sometimes fail — without penalties — encourages experimentation and fuels learning; marching learners through linear content that culminates in a graded quiz confines learners, who chafe at irrelevant content
Focus on targeted content or behaviors
Gamification that looks only at how many minutes a learner engaged or which levels they reached is missing the target. Your gamification platform should allow you to choose specific behaviors to reward and how to reward them, so you can focus learners’ efforts on your business and performance goals.

Gamification and microlearning just go together

Gamification fits easily and naturally into a microlearning approach to training.

Microlearning emphasizes short, focused, highly relevant content.
Creating gamified content means breaking content into small learning nuggets and wrapping them in relevant activities.
Microlearning is often mobile-first, available on demand, and designed for continuous, spaced learning.
Gamification features that entice learners to level up and engage with increasingly challenging content also build a continuous, spaced learning habit; delivering this content on a mobile-first, on-demand platform feeds learners’ “addiction” to building mastery.
Effective microlearning allows learners to personalize their experience, choosing when, where, and how to engage; skipping around to cover the most relevant content; and setting meaningful mastery goals.
Effective gamification offers a personalized experience as well, allowing learners to engage when and where they choose — using their mobile device, and offering options to jump around in content, skip parts of videos, and pursue topic areas in the order they want.

Gamification fits many training scenarios

Gamification works for:

  • Onboarding new employees
  • Teaching sales personnel about new products or services
  • Enabling call center staff to practice customer interactions
  • Teaching customers to use a product, service, or app
  • Providing opportunities for workers to practice a skill, improving speed or accuracy (or both!)

Examples of gamification are everywhere:

Loyalty programs that reward purchases or social media mentions gamify brand promotion and fidelity

Fitness trackers gamify health and wellness

Apps like Kudos gamify employee recognition and team building

Fun runs and mini-marathons gamify fundraising and engage participants in both self-improvement and competition to find the most sponsors or garner the largest donations

Apps like Duolingo gamify learning a foreign language with levels, rewards, and animated graphics

Motivate learners with the right gamified microlearning platform

eLearning designers and developers love gamification because they believe it engages learners. That’s just another way to say that gamification motivates learners to train more, train harder, and learn more.

But it’s not the mazes and puzzles and animations that motivate the learners.

It’s the relevance of the content, the simplicity of finding what they need, the sheer pleasure of knowing that they are getting better at their jobs.

Learners are intrinsically motivated to improve — to know more, perform better, excel.

The right gamified microlearning platform helps them do that. It:

Offers learners a clear path to reach their learning goals and increase knowledge retention
Incentivizes and rewards behaviors that are relevant to learning and business goals
Provides instant feedback that shows learners’ progress toward mastery
Delivers challenging content, on-demand and performance supports when needed
Directly connects learning progress with job role and performance

More questions?
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Learn how gamified microlearning with OttoLearn motivates learners to outperform themselves! Talk to an OttoLearn expert today.

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Discover what makes gamification work

Ready to dig in deeper?

Our OttoLearn® Gamified Microlearning™ platform uses the principles of gamification to apply game mechanics in ways that boost learning and retention, drive engagement, and intrinsically and extrinsically motivate learners to set and achieve meaningful goals that align with your specific business needs. You can learn more about gamification in these white papers:

Gamifying Microlearning … Without the Games

How and why to gamify adult learning — without playing games with learners or insulting their intelligence.

Read more
The Cognitive Science Behind OttoLearn

OttoLearn's gamified microlearning is firmly based in cognitive science principles. Learn what these are — and why they work.

Read more