6 Simple Tips To Develop A Good Game-Based Assessment


Assessments play an important role in measuring the success of an eLearning program. They help evaluate the comprehension levels of learners and determine whether the learning objectives of the online training program are met.

Traditional online assessments however can be boring; learners look for something beyond the usual single-select, multiple-select, drag and drop, matching, or dropdown lists. This is where game-based assessments can be the game-changer. Games, when included in assessments, help the learner move away from taking an objective stance and urge him to apply his skills and knowledge.

Game-based assessments break learner monotony, by making the evaluation process fun-filled and interesting. Furthermore, they help overcome the stress usually associated with answering questions in a learning assessment. Proper use of game-based assessments can accelerate learning by engaging learners and reinforcing knowledge.

Are you planning to incorporate games in the assessments of your eLearning courses? What does it take to develop a good game-based assessment? How can you ensure that your game-based learning evaluation initiative is successful? Here are the 6 key aspects you need to focus on.

1. Have A Clear Idea Of What Makes The Game-Based Assessment Successful

This is the most important (but unfortunately, the most neglected) aspect of developing a game-based assessment. Determine the criteria, based on which you will measure the efficacy of the game-based assessment. Would an effective evaluation of your learners’ ability to handle customer objections indicate that the assessment is successful? Or, is success a function of the efficacy with which your employees can use your newly-implemented enterprise software? Identifying the success criteria for your game-based assessment plays a key role in tying the online learning evaluation exercise to your specific organizational goals.

2. Align The Assessment With The Learning Objectives Of Your eLearning Program

You need to remember that the primary objective of your game-based assessment is to determine whether the learning objectives of your eLearning program are achieved or not. For instance, if the objective of the technology-enabled learning program is to help learners identify the parts of a complex machine, then you must ensure the game-based assessment tests that; and not an understanding of the features.

3. See That The Games In Your Assessments Have A Solid Plot

Good games are based on good stories. A compelling story provides a reason for your learners to kill demons, help a young princess reach her kingdom, and hunt for a room filled with gold. Game-based assessments can be very effective when they are framed within a context. For instance, we have developed a game-based assessment based on the popular television show Who Wants to be a Millionaire; based on the story of a person who requires money to buy a house. The learner needs to “win” the game-based assessment to get the necessary financial resources needed to help the person realize their dream of owning a house.

4. Make Sure That Competition Is Limited To The Learners’ Department

We all know that the element of competition plays a vital role in motivating your learners to score the highest number of points in the game-based assessment. See that competition is restricted to a limited number of staff members. Make sure that the leaderboard includes people only in the learners’ department. This will help you “localize” competition and make it meaningful. After all, your intention is to enable your learners to compete among themselves and not against the entire world. Isn’t it?

5. Allow Your Learners To Redeem Points For Cash Or Other Benefits

While it is true that the element of competition and the desire to win the game motivate your learners to take the game-based assessment, allowing learners to “trade” their scores with monetary or other tangible benefits can make the game-based evaluation initiative rewarding.

One of our clients in the manufacturing sector allows its learners to redeem their points for shopping coupons; each learner gets a coupon worth 50 dollars for every thousand points scored. The client noticed that learner interest in completing the assessment increased considerably after the introduction of the “points for coupons” scheme.

6. Test Each Element Of The Game-Based Assessment

It is essential to test each and every element of the game-based assessment of your online learning program, before deploying it on your Learning Management System (LMS). Unfortunately, most organizations do not provide enough time and financial resources to test game-based learning assessments. It is advisable to let a pilot group of learners “play” the game-based assessment, before rolling it out. You will find errors, cheats, and workarounds that you seldom believed could exist. People are very creative and can detect problems you did not expect. One or two rounds of play-testing will reveal all the issues, and you can resolve them before a company-wide rollout.

A parting word: It is fact that game-based assessments break learner monotony and make learning evaluation interesting. However, some learners may prefer the traditional methods of online evaluation. Do not force them to take the game-based assessment. Instead, test them using other methods. A good game-based assessment helps you evaluate your learners in a highly effective, engaging manner. Would you like to expand this list of best practices? Please do so.

By Ayesha Habeeb Omer, Ph.D