Here are some guidelines developed from multiple implementations of games and gamification within organizations.
Be cautious of programs described as “gamified”; the term is being used in various ways, so be sure the program fits your purposes. Examine the gamified intervention to ensure the emphasis is on learning and not simply on winning.
Educate management and leaders within the organization on the educational value of games and gamification. Often managers and others will react negatively to employees “playing games” instead of “serious study” so they must be educated on the value of games and gamification for learning and personalization of instruction.
Provide professional development for trainers and instructional designers to successfully integrate games, gamification and game-based thinking into their instruction. Development needs to include instruction on the tools and the curricular elements of gamification. This is an often overlooked step, it is just assumed they’ know how to add games and gamification, they won’t without some training and grounding on the subject.
Use the data captured through games and gamification experiences of the learner to provide personalized interventions and instruction as needed. Games and gamified systems can provide rich data on learner performance but must be monitored and leveraged properly to provide the desired learning impact.
Deemphasize winning. Focus on the learning aspects of the experience and not on winning—keep the stakes low. Include group cooperative gamification experiences as much as possible as opposed to individualized competitive experiences.
Integrate the game play and gamification experience into the larger learning environment. Provide an introduction describing the instructional goals of the game or gamification, allow learners to participate in the gamified learning experience and then debrief the learners about what they learned as a result of the experience.
Keep in mind that games and gamification are tools available to but are not a panacea. Games and gamification must be appropriate integrated into the larger curriculum to achieve learner success. They are not magic.