The market for gamified learning experiences is in rapid growth. The digitalization of education has been in the crosshairs of many governments and organizations in more than a decade already, and the markets are still looking for new, better and innovative solutions to provide learning experiences fit for the twenty-first century.
Wittario was founded on the principles of leveraging game-based learning and how we can create a platform that accommodates for more engaging, active and relevant learning experiences. The rise of a digital workforce has resulted in the need for training in information-gathering and technical skills, in addition to the academic or work-related knowledge acquired in education or training. Not all types of training and knowledge transfer can be done in person or on location, and the solution to undergo this type of training has earlier been limited to books, PDF’s or papers. The digital age introduced the concepts of e-learning, and a popular branch in e-learning has been that of gamification.
Game-based learning predicted to reach close to $29 Billion
Gamification is designed to give the players a deeper understanding of difficult concepts, help them problem solve real-world scenarios, and increase engagement in their training.
One of the key elements of gamification is interaction and engagement. Since the learning is active, it is more difficult to daydream when participating in gamified learning, compared to passive participation in a lecture or presentation. Since the smartphone and personal computing devices are two of the most important tools in the modern workforce, these two devices are particularly interesting when it comes to gamification. Several companies are exploring microlearning and pushing information through the employees’ mobile devices, including experimenting with gamification of learning and information.
This trend does not seem to be a passing thing either. Revenues for game-based learning products is predicted to reach $28.8 Billion by 2025, according to Metaari. The growth rate is set at 27.1% and the revenues will more than quadruple over the forecast period.
One would think that the largest segment for learning products would be schools and education. However, Metaari predicts the corporate market segment to be even larger than secondary education in terms of growth. One of the most mature learning game types today, is location-based products with game technology.
Despite being mature with $527 million market, it still has a high projected growth rate of 12.5%. Game-based, location-based learning enables a space/time dimension in learning games. The two types of products in this market are those that trigger experiences based on a user’s proximity to objects/locations, and products that transports the user to another place, regardless of the user’s actual location. The first type of products are Augmented Reality products, usually by layering 3D onto existing location or object, and the second type are usually Visual Reality, where you can experience another time/space, from your own living room or office.
Mixed Reality, a combination between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the major catalysts, being in high demand for industries today. According to Metaari, semiimmersive VR still makes up most virtual educational products on the market. Semi- immersive means that the virtual world is experienced on a 2D screen. Augmented Reality, like what we use in Wittario, uses technology to overlay augmented content onto the actual environment. The types of learning games that are ideal for Augmented Reality is said to be knowledge-based content, skill-based content, early childhood learning and locationbased learning. Based on this, Augmented Reality is one of the big game-based learning types for growth in business and industrial markets.
Reskill or upskill? Gamification and AR can help with both
Reskilling and upskilling the existing workforce are getting increasingly important, where the environment and industries are undergoing rapid changes. Especially in industries where new technology emerges and shifts the daily operation routines. One of the fears of business leaders is that they lack the right competences in a very dynamic market. It is outright impossible to find the right competence through simply utilizing new hires and external resources. Instead, it is increasingly important to cultivate and develop competence and skills in the existing workforce.
With the help of Augmented Reality, many of the complex processes can be simplified with the use of 3D-objects projected onto the environment, thus activating more of the learners’ senses when acquiring new knowledge. One could see the construction in the “real world”, rather than just seeing an image of it on a piece of paper. This is probably one of the reasons why healthcare is amongst the fastest growing markets for these type of learning tools.
Simulating and visualizing are great tools to learn how to manage surgical procedures, or other operations, without actually involving real patients in the early stage of learning. The cone of experience theory by Edgar Dale implies that passive learning methods such as reading, or seeing, has a learning retention of 10%, while simulating the real experience, or practically doing the “real thing” has a learning retention of 90%.
In other industries or topics, where the information is not tangible enough to be 3D-objects, one can still benefit from Augmented Reality in the form that it engages the learner more than just reading about the topic. Game mechanics are in the center of learning games As a people, we are bombarded with messages and new information, both professionally and in private. It is easy to get distracted when using digital tools, where everything else is accessible as well. Offering fun, engaging games is one of the ways to encourage learners to successfully complete their training.
Today, employees are typically extrinsically motivated to complete the training – that being, motivation by awards, or even just the avoidance of reprimand from a supervisor. If the games are created right, we can stir intrinsic motivation to complete activity for their own personal enjoyment. There are several game mechanics one may utilize to create intrinsic motivation and a feeling of mastery:
Branching is a game mechanic that allows the player to determine how the game will continue based on their choice. This allows for the player, or employee, to practice real world scenarios and find the best solution through a series of interactions.
Information cascade means that the player needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill or knowledge before moving to the next level. This way, one can break down complex processes into smaller pieces.
Leaderboards ranks players compared to each other. This is a highly competitive game mechanic, and making sure the leaderboard does not have too much of a difference in scoring is vital to success with this mechanic.
Rewards are a simple but effective game mechanic to increase engagement and motivation. This may be in-game rewards or material rewards. Usually this should be combined with other types of mechanics.
Time constraints can increase adrenaline and desire to reach the objective faster. This is also a way to cultivate employee competition.
There are several other types of game mechanics; but these are a few of the common ones. One of the big reasons to gamify learning is to create motivation. You may tell from this list that they are quite common, and you may even understand why they are effective in learning environments.
Game mechanics are just that, ‘game’ mechanics. Without any of these elements, the learning game is just information. It is important that a learning game has sufficient game mechanics to create joy and spark motivation with the employees.
e-Learning is more than just a screen
When talking about e-learning and digital tools for learning, we may quickly resort to thinking e-learning is about sitting in front of a screen. The inclusion of Mixed, Virtual and Augmented Reality opens doors into more active forms of learning tools. When incorporating movement into the mix, one can significantly increase knowledge retention and improve learning outcome. If we take smartphones into account, we can combine augmented reality and smartphone experiences to create new, interesting and accessible learning tools for the general population, without relying on expensive proprietary solutions. Smartphones are also highly mobile, which means we do not need to limit the usage to the confinements of one room, or one machine.
Most of the traditional eLearning strategies can be well adapted for mobile learning. However, you can see some added advantages to the mobile learning approach. Mobile devices are well suited to offer short chunks or segments of training content, a popular learning method that can increase employee engagement. Mobile learning supports self- paced learning. It allows employees to learn at their own individual pace. Another advantage of mobile learning is that it can be molded to suit different learning styles of employees.
Movement in learning and movement in games
Brain activity increases when we move. Increased brain activity as we acquire new knowledge is therefore more beneficial than sitting still. At Wittario, we aim to include movement as one of the main pillars for our platform. There are many learning games that revolve around sitting down at a computer screen. This is not uncommon because most games today are digital. However, including the element of movement is not only beneficial for health, but also for learning. It is not uncommon that the activity level of the population declines as we become older, and parts of the reason for this is that we regularly sit still whether we work, study or play.
Incorporating movement into the mix of learning can give us a break from both office chairs and computer screens. Even though we are a mobile app, we want people to move – not just because movement is good for you, but because we believe that the learning outcome increases when activity is in the mix. We also believe that moving outside in fresh air still has something to offer, and if one can combine taking the obligatory Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) test while talking a walk, then why not? With the inclusion of game mechanics and AR-technology, maybe we can even get you to want to take the test.
Lars Gunnar Fledsberg
CEO & Founder,