If you’re running an online course and you’re finding it difficult to keep your students engaged in your community you’ll be glad to know that gamification may be the tool you’re looking for to help inspire students to engage.

 

WHAT IS GAMIFICATION?

 

Gamification is the process of using game-like strategies and rules and applying them to the educational environment. Gamification takes some of the responsibility off of teachers to help incentivize community participation. Gamification also helps educators keep students motivated and on track.

 

Teachers and learning institutions can use features like points, achievements, badges, virality, and count-downs as ways to gamify their online courses.

 

HOW GAMIFICATION LED TO A 260% INCREASE IN STUDENT ACTIVITY

 

We recently tested a client’s site for the impacts of gamification. Up until we ran this test, this particular client had no gamification features on their site whatsoever. We ran this test for a month and we found that compared to previous months the gamified version of their online learning environment had a 260% increase in student activity!

 

WHAT THEY DID

 

The gamification features that you’ll decide to add to your own online course will vary depending on the particulars of your course. However, below you’ll find the list of gamification features we added to our client’s site in order to instigate the increase the student participation.

 

Students could earn points by:

 

  • Posting interesting information on their student profile
  • Having people “like” their posts
  • Visiting the online course on a daily basis
  • Submitting assignments
  • Commenting on other students’ assignments
  • The could also earn points manually by having a teacher award them with an “achievement” in a certain area of the course. These achievements or badges would then show up on their student profile page.

 

WHAT’S EVEN MORE POWERFUL THAN GAMIFICATION?

 

The above changes led to a 260% increase in student engagement. That’s huge! The course vendor in this case mentioned that “In the past we put a lot of the responsibility of the community in the students’ hands. However, we didn’t realize that we didn’t really give our students much incentive to be part of that community. We just gave them the platform and walked away. The community existed as a good idea in an abstract sense [to us] but it never really started to take off until we made it our responsibility and not our students”.

 

However, what’s even more interesting, is that during our tests on this client’s online course site, we found something even more powerful than gamification as a tool to increase student participation.  We asked this client to use “proactive” rather than “reactive” communication as their primary way of communicating with student in their online course. Using proactive communication this client was able to see an additional 1200% increase in community activity on their site. You can read the full case study about proactive student communication here.