In digital learning, engaging your audience is one of the most important factors to ensuring the successful transfer of knowledge. When an instructor is removed from the learning, the responsibility of captivating the attention of learners falls on the content. E-learning courses use various types of media elements for transferring knowledge, such as aminations, videos, infographics and audio clips.

However, these conventional methods of knowledge transfer have one thing in common: They offer only a one-way exchange of information. These modes of learning don’t allow learners share their input or interact with the content. You can add interactive elements such as clickable buttons, dials or sliders, but they provide a limited playground for participants to be part of the learning process.

In game-based learning, learning content is woven into the game. When learners gain knowledge through play, transfer is more effective. Games promote fun, self-esteem and social interaction. Learners can explore, solve problems, strategize, don various hats, exercise their imagination and, of course, win.

Game-based content is based on the principle of situated cognition – the idea that knowing is inseparable from doing. Subject matter is directly embedded in the learning environment, and the knowledge gained is practiced in the same context. Learners apply their knowledge while learning instead of gaining conceptual knowledge first and applying it later. Employees who learn through this approach retain knowledge longer, as they have actively discovered the content instead of learning it passively.

If developed the right way, game-based content can go a long way in changing the face of your digital learning program. Here are some of the top trends that have poised game-based content as the future of e-learning.

Shift in the Generations

The millennial generation is forming a large chunk of the employee base in organizations globally. For this generation, technology is an extension of their identity and a large part of their lives. Overloaded with multimedia content, learning through traditional types of content might be a little difficult for millennials.

Just like the use of PowerPoint presentations as a form of digital learning dwindled with the advent of e-learning courses, non-interactive digital learning methods will be less popular than game-based content. The fact that millennials tend to be competitive also adds to the effectiveness of game-based learning. This doesn’t mean that conventional methods are completely outdated; rather, e-learning is following a natural evolutionary path, keeping in sync with changing lifestyles.

Rise of Mobile Devices

The prominence of mobile devices has been on the rise for quite a few years now. As processors become more powerful, touchscreens more intuitive and high-speed internet more available, mobile devices are poised to become more relevant than ever. Soon, mobile devices will become the primary devices on which learners will access your digital learning content.

In this learning landscape, passive content can hold the attention of your learners for only so long on a small screen. Mobile devices with advanced touchscreens and processors will be able to run more graphic-intensive games that will do a better job at conveying the subject matter.

Increased Prominence of Social Learning

Even with conventional learning methods, social learning plays a huge role in motivating learners. When you give learners the freedom to interact with their peers, you effectively keep them engaged even after the course is over. Game-based content is no exception, and networked gaming platforms have become popular. Inspired by this trend of social gaming, digital learning managers will seek to design games that require teamwork, coordination, interaction and collaboration among learners.

Emergence of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) has been advancing at a rapid pace. Developers have been able to create highly realistic simulations for various scenarios. By combining AR with motion tracking devices, developers have been able to add a great deal of interactivity to their virtual world.

Similarly, e-learning developers can create AR-based games for mobile devices. Whether it’s creating simulations for operating complicated machinery, a virtual walk through a factory or the recreation of an emergency scenario, AR games can provide a firsthand experience of many different subjects.

Measuring E-Learning Programs

Until now, the way to measure the success of an e-learning program was to ask learners questions and evaluate their responses. However, with game-based learning, this approach will counteract the spontaneity games bring to the table. Using advanced tracking techniques, e-learning developers can now measure engagement and performance based on several parameters, such as the total time spent on a game, errors made, the pace of progress, points scored and bonuses earned. This way, you can pinpoint the exact component of the game responsible for changing behavior. Using a good authoring tool, you can even create game-based assessments. As direct and indirect measurements become more sophisticated, game-based learning will soon become the primary mode of knowledge transfer as opposed to a fun add-on.

Educational games are going to play an increasingly prominent part in shaping the future of digital learning. Plan for the future now by adding game-based learning to your training strategy.