Gamification in eLearning is a must-have way to make training more effective and engaging. But how do you implement it for the Open edX platform? In this post, we share some recommendations and examples.

Why Gamification Is Important for Learner Engagement?

Using the game elements, eLearning gamification, provides an effective, informal learning environment and leads to a more engaging learning experience, facilitating better knowledge retention. It is important to mention that gamification tools are based on psychological behavior that governs our everyday decisions and provides a strong platform to share achievements, manage work progress, and build competition. These factors make gamification a powerful tool for learner engagement.

Gamification Elements and How They Work in eLearning

We meet gamification in our everyday lives, for example, when we’re shopping, using our reward cards, it motivates us to do more shopping. It works the same way for eLearning gamification. 

How Does eLearning Gamification Work?

It is a challenge to motivate learners to learn effectively, but gamification complements the eLearning process. The gamified elements make it more engaging for learners and give them the ability to work more productively through competing for achievements.

Gamification Elements That Boost Learner Engagement

Elements in the eLearning gamification work effectively, when they are combining competitive effects with the key points: motivation to do something, the ability to carry out the task, and providing a trigger to complete an action. In other words, using game elements helps to encourage learners to explore and learn. Let’s take a closer look at some elements that can be implemented into the Open edX platform:

Events and points

Points are awarded for certain actions performed by learners in the LMS. These actions are called “events” and depend on various dimensions and categories, settled by an instructor. Providing varying challenges and differing points for completing challenges keep learners engaged longer. 

*Based on RG L&D Research 2020

Many studies have found that points provide instant feedback, which in turn motivates learners. For the same effect, points should be combined with other gamified elements. For example, when completing different tasks, learners generate a set of events and earn points. Once learners have collected a certain amount of points, they can get badges and go move forward. 

Badges or achievements

Based on obtained points, learners can gain badges. It works as a social element by allowing learners to compete with other learners who are going towards the same goals. Besides, badges have some more positive aspects:

  • Learners’ activity is encouraged by getting rewards, and this in turn increases participation
  • Motivation and learners’ engagement with the system and their achievements can be increased
  • Learners feel satisfaction for completing tasks

Status Badges 

This is a much simpler reward than badges, and often looks like a medal. For example, the learner can get a Grand Master, Champion, or Bronze medal for the different achievements with a fixed amount of points.

Status Badges or, in other words, levels, allow dividing the process into small and separate pieces. It makes learners move up to the next level as a strong motivator of continued effort.

Learner Performance and Leaderboards

In gamification, learners benefit from knowing their journey. From a psychological perspective, it means they have a sense of control. Performance dashboards show learners game information with an opportunity to see the distribution of all activities (e.g.the percentage of activities per type, the total amount of points, points towards the next status badge, etc.).

The Leaderboard is a board that displays the names and scores of current learners in the whole system, and help learners:

  • Compare performance with other learners  
  • View obtained achievements
  • Evaluate progress percentage towards a final goal

Gamification within The Open edX Platform

The default Open edX (add noun e.g. software)functionality allows learners to earn virtual rewards and named badges. This gives learners a sense of accomplishment and motivates them to continue.

What can be implemented now?

The Open edX platform supports Open Badges, which provides a badge generator called Badgr Server. Here are the few types of badges provided by the default instance:

  • Course Completion Badges

Learners can get the badge after receiving a course certificate. Various course modes configuration is possible with different badges. For example, “professional”, “advanced”, or “basic”.

  • Course Event Badges

Course configuration is possible with event badges for the next learners’ actions: course enrollments, completion of certificates for a certain number of courses, completion of certificates for every course in a specified list.

  • Custom Badges

In addition to using the default customizable badges, it is possible to design new custom badges.

However, there is room for improvement. As discussed above, there are a lot more gamification mechanics like storylines, narratives, points, virtual rewards, avatars, etc. Can they be used within the Open edX platform now? The short answer is “yes”, and the longer answer is presented further.

RG Gamification for Open edX?

To bring gamification onto the Open edX platform, closer to the world-class level, our team has developed the custom RG Gamification tool. It is based on the main gamification principles, provides the ability to easily and flexibly set up gamification logic, and is tightly connected with Open edX technology.

Points For a Wide Variety of Open edX Events

Video views, certifications, enrollments, problem related actions, discussion activities, and everything that can be captured by Open edX logs, can be awarded with points in RG Gamification. By collecting the points, learners can compete with peers and earn “status badges”. There is a clear and easy to use panel for this purpose. 

Badging Rules

RG Gamification gives the ability to set up extremely flexible rules for badges and achievements in a simple and admin-friendly manner.

The rules are based on available “events” and so called “filters”.

One can add any combination of events and number of their occurrences to get a badge…

… and the limitations, or “filters”, if needed.

Moreover, other badges can be set as rules, so one can build badge roadmaps.

For example, if we want learners to get a particular badge following the rules below

  • Watching 5 videos
  • Commenting in discussions 5 times
  • Submitting 5 problems
  • The listed actions are going to be valid only for the last 3 months of 2020
  • The listed actions are going to be valid only if they occur in RG courses

The settings are going to look as follows

Status Badges

Status badges are the way to award learners for being active on the platform in general. No matter what one is doing on the platform, when they earn points, they can obtain a  status badge.

Gamification Dashboard

RG Gamification provides learners with a handy tool to track their gamification progress.

The Performance dashboard shows learners the following information:

  • Which actions driven the current earned points
  • Progress related to earning statuses and points to the next status
  • Earned badges, progress related to badges
  • The points acquisition dynamics grap

Gamification Leaderboard

The Leaderboard helps learners to compare themselves with peers and engage in competition. The leaderboard is the tool that helps to see how many points peers have and what badges they currently have.

Final Words

Learning gamification is a proven effective way to increase ROI of any eLearning project. 

We hope that this article helped you to better understand what can be done to gamify your learning process and how exactly this can be done with the Open edX platform today.

We believe that our RG Gamification tool will help introduce learning gamification in any Open edX platform and provides  an easy and user-friendly way to do so. We are open to any suggestions and ideas and direct discussions with community members.

Thanks for your attention!

Notable Replies

  1. Anyone here applying gamified techniques to Open edX courseware? Let’s maybe share the experience? :slight_smile:

Continue the discussion at discuss.openedx.org

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