Making learning serious – often, too serious!

By Stephen Nunn (SumTotal), Indresh Chauhan (Sify), KC Rajkumar (Sify)

Another largely overlooked, but important consideration, is not evaluating for “fun” features like gamification, leaderboards, badges, social communities, etc. You need to move away from focusing on the LMS simply being a compliance tracking tool.

Gamification and social communities, for example, can go a long way towards both change management and engagement to obtain buy-in from your target audience. These solutions can help with change management whether the organization is new to the LMS world or moving to a new LMS by engaging learners—especially when these features were not part of the original solution.


For example, we have a customer who will create Starbucks badges so that should a user perform certain voluntary actions, such as completing 5 non-assigned or elective learning activities, they would receive a badge. They can print out the badge or notify the manager/HR who would then gift them with a $5 Starbucks gift card. And when on the Leaderboard, colleagues can see their peers earning badges and points, which in effective drives up the desire to compete.


Even though social communities (with blogs, discussion forums, and file uploads) can have a very targeted purpose, such as for new hires joining an organization or a learning cohort centered around leadership development, they can also offer a place for learners to discuss how they are using the LMS, talk to the benefits recognized, sharing content found within the LMS to their colleagues, highlighting their earned badges, etc. Ultimately, this helps to create a culture of learning and engagement, which is even more critical during these times where everyone is working from home and socially distanced from their colleagues.

If you’re not sure that gamification will be valued be your entire audience, it is possible to lock it down to only be available to specific departments, have tailored badges, or even point awarding systems for those departments. Organizations may only want to have gamification turned on for certain departments, and this is completely possible. This goes back to creating use cases and having a governance council composed of and including the various departments that would be using the LMS. Knowing their specific teams/audiences, each department can make this determination. The same goes for social communities. What purpose will the communities be used for and WHO should have access? All of this can—and should be—targeted to the appropriate individuals/teams/departments to ensure a successful rollout and long-term utilization.

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    Dina El Kharouf
    Dina Elk, Marketer at Sify eLearning

    As a leader in education, customer service, and marketing in the e-learning and EduTech industries, she has a breadth of knowledge that covers e-learning, learning management systems, instructional design, curriculum, customer service, business development, marketing and staff development.

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