3 reasons why gamification + microlearning = a match made in heaven

Ellie Doyle, 4 min read

Microlearning, as you may already know, is a form of learning delivered in small doses. Bite-sized chunks, if you will. Appetising niblets of information, given to the learner in a way that is easy to recall, apply, and remember long-term. 

It’s perfect for the modern worker, as learning can be delivered on the go, in the flow of work, and takes only a few minutes per day to complete. Sounds like a game-changer right? But just you wait 'til we gamify it. 

Microlearning is perfectly structured to implement elements of gamification. When done correctly, combining the two brings out the best of each. Gamified microlearning is a deadly combo (if you’re a knowledge gap).

Without further ado, here are 3 reasons why gamified microlearning is the workplace learning match made in heaven.

1. Learner engagement

Coupling the strengths of microlearning with the engagement potential of gamification is one of the best ways to maximise your workplace learning effectiveness. If you’re having trouble with learner completion rates, it’s probably not fun enough!

The games we tend to get hooked on are ones where you can get something done in a couple of minutes and feel productive. Whether it’s winning the Mario Kart race, beating the Candy Crush level, or getting today’s Wordle, being able to achieve something in a couple of minutes is a highly rewarding (and easy) way to play a game. 

Let’s think about this in terms of workplace learning. According to Josh Bersin, the modern worker only has an average of 24 minutes a week to dedicate to formal learning. People simply don't have the time to dedicate to learning huge chunks of information.

If you can squeeze a bit of learning in a couple of minutes while you finish your cuppa, you’re probably more likely to find time to do it than if it took 2 hours. Rewards such as points, badges, and leaderboard positions become a motivation for completing content, and it quickly becomes habit to log in and finish a couple of questions while you’re on a coffee break.

People like playing games. But no one finishes an hours-long game of Monopoly then asks for a rematch. Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. A major perk of microlearning is that it delivers content in small doses so the learner doesn’t get fatigued. Couple this with actually having fun and you’ve got a killer combination. Learners are far more likely to come back every day to complete their learning, and those completion rates will skyrocket. 

2. Instant feedback

Remember in uni when you’d submit a paper only to receive your mark back 3 months later? By that point, you’ve spent 3 months thinking one thing, only to find out it’s wrong (if you even remember what the paper was about!). Unlearning something is much more difficult than learning it correctly in the first place, and that’s why it’s so important to receive instant feedback. 

Let's put it in workplace learning terms. If you've done a one-day course learning a whole new process of doing something, chances are you won't get a chance to practise it in a real-work scenario for at least another week -  maybe even months! By then, you've forgotten what you've learnt and have no idea how to apply it in a real scenario.

Microlearning learning makes it easy to build in instant feedback. On a Yarno campaign, when a learner answer a question correctly, it lets them know right away whether it was correct or not - and their performance is also reflected on the leaderboard!

An incorrect answer brings the learner to the explanation page, which details why the correct answer is correct. This way, they can instantly learn the correct response, how it correlates with a work scenario, as well as any necessary information pertaining to that specific topic.

3. Spaced repetition = stronger retention of content

What’s the point of undergoing learning in a certain area if you’ll forget it next month?

A key component of what makes microlearning so effective is its structure: small doses of learning delivered strategically throughout the learning process, maximising the learner’s chance to embed the content to their long-term memory. Smaller chunks of information make sure the learner’s brain isn’t overwhelmed with too much knowledge at once, and can process content more effectively.

Introducing spaced repetition, microlearning's bread and butter - and a key learning principle at Yarno.

Microlearning allows for learners to be re-presented content in strategic intervals throughout the learning process. This is spaced repetition. Delivery and repetition of the learning content to best position the learner to remember everything.

This way, they can revise and cement their knowledge and become a master over time. It's the opposite of cramming for a test - I bet you can't remember a single thing from your first-year microeconomics exam! Instead, you are continually revisiting the content, encouraging your long-term memory to lock that information away.

Gamification adds a new dimension to this: a rewards system. When we are challenged to achieve something, we are biologically programmed to enjoy it. Our brains release a dopamine boost in response to the challenge, which is how we know the difference between what we enjoy and what we don’t.

By associating correct information with a reward, learners receive a dopamine boost when they engage with games. They’re far more likely to enjoy the learning, and come back daily - meaning more information locked in. People also instinctively repeat actions that generate dopamine. We cling to information we learn during a dopamine boost, and our brains are more likely to retain knowledge taken in through gamified microlearning. 

Gamification and microlearning really go hand in hand. Just like a Sauv Blanc with fish, if you’re trying to maximise the potential of both, they’re best paired together. 

If you’re struggling to see the benefits of one, maybe go back to basics. Gamifying learning content is much more effective if you deliver in small doses; and, on the other hand, microlearning is much more effective with a rewards system in place.

Ellie Doyle

Ellie Doyle

Ellie is the resident Yarno wordsmith. If she's not writing a million words a minute, you'll probably find her trying to smash her New York Times daily crossword time while listening to 3 podcasts at once.

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