Gamification is the process of changing the dynamics of any activity by incorporating several game elements. This technique has gained popularity in various fields because of its effectiveness in increasing productivity, speed, and learning.

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The field of eLearning also tapped into the use of gamification to enhance the efficacy of eLearning courses and materials. However, not all companies have extra money to spend on gamification features, which can get very expensive. In this article, I will discuss some ways Instructional Designers can use low-cost gamification for their eLearning courses.
Many people think that eLearning gamification means incorporating actual games in virtual courses. Although games do complete the gamification process, eLearning gamification isn’t limited to including actual games. In fact, gamification of any activity only needs to include the crucial game elements that actually target the skills discussed in the specific course. Game elements include:
      • Levels of progress.
      • Virtual points.
      • Rewards.
      • Avatars.
      • Narratives.
      • Competitions.
The game elements mentioned above encourage adult learners to utilize their skills in solving a problem. Unlike traditional eLearning techniques, eLearning gamification transforms the learner from a passive absorber of information to an active participant in creating strategic solutions. Gamification increases engagement and motivates learner to think out-of-the box.

As eLearning gamification slowly becomes an industry on its own, many vendors are now providing advanced gamification services. Vendors offer intricate eLearning module designs, integration to various communication software (Skype, chatrooms, etc.), and even personalized cloud-based storage for users. Needless to say, many third-party vendors capitalize on their advanced programming know-how to provide gamification services that cost way more than what one spends on traditional eLearning.

However, the truth is that eLearning gamification doesn’t have to be costly. By keeping the basic principles behind gamification in mind, one can gamify eLearning without having to spend too much money. Here are some of the best low-cost gamification strategies:

      1. Simple over sophisticated user interface (UI).
        Many vendors who offer expensive gamification services often have extremely sophisticated UIs. Remember, while a good-looking UI is good, it is not the primary concern for learners. To avoid spending more than necessary, it is best to stick to simple, easy to use UIs. A heavy and complicated visual design can cause distraction. By choosing to use user-friendly UIs, you can cut the cost by up to 50% without compromising the effectiveness of your materials. Streamlined UIs also tend to be simpler on the administrator side.