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LearnDash Expert Opinion: When Is Gamification the Right Solution for My Online Course?

As a LearnDash expert, I get asked by business owners about gamification. Typically these are business owners who want to improve the performance of their online courses as see this as a way to do that. As a LearnDash expert, I recommend using the right time. Let me share some advice with you concerning this.

Gamification should not be a focus for any online course builder early on.

LearnDash Expert Tells You When to Do Gamification

Gamification is a great way to reduce churn. It keeps your students from dropping out. It's a way to keep students in your program motivated to keep moving through your course.

As a LearnDash expert, I recommend you wait until you have a good number of people into your course. You need those people so you can see the problems that popup and then you have the information you need to do gamification properly.

LearnDash Expert Tell You the Hard Part

The technical side of gamification can be pretty easy. As a LearnDash expert, we make use of Wordpress and Gamipress is a great option for implementing your gamification. Configurating it is straightforward. There are other platforms out there that offer good gamification features. Rarely is getting it set up a problem.

What can be a problem is coming up with a strategy. You have to define your features so they motivate your students to do what helps them learn best. The available feature need keep your learners focused on learning and completing your course.  That's the part where you have to spend some time so you encourage the behavior you want.

How Gamification Works?

Gamification lets you build an online course site that rewards students using the course optimally. Setting up a point or credit system is one way to describe it. You can give students credits for logging in. You can remove points for failing to login frequently enough.

You can award points for completing a lesson or getting a good score on a quiz. You can give them bonus points for finishing a course. If you want to motivate students to leave comments, give them points for that. If you have a community forum, give them points for their activity in the forum.

These points can then be used to award badge, certificates or to rank them on a leaderboard. There are other options as well.

You could consider awarding your students badge based on the total number of points they have accumulated. You can then assign them badges like New Member, Experienced Member, Ninja Warrior (if you want to get a little colorful.)

You can use your point system to display a leaderboard. The higher ranks get people appearing for all to see in that list. This can be a big motivator for company training sites, especially with sales teams that are more likely to be competitive.

Make Sure Newbies Can Win

You have to be careful that no one group of people can monopolize the top positions on a leaderboard. When someone is unbeatable, that can be very unmotivating for everyone else. You might consider resetting points to zero at the beginning of every quarter. That levels out the playing field so new members get a chance.

Gamification Example

A while back, I was interested in learning how to do paid advertising. I found a course offered by Digital Marketer that would get you a badge you could post on your website. You were considered certified by Digital Marketer as being experience in that one field. I started the course which I really enjoyed. As you made it through the course, you would get these mini-badges for reaching certain points in their program. When I was at lesson 9 of 12 (or somewhere in there), I really had learned as much as I thought I wanted to learn. However, I hadn't achieved this badge that I could post on my site.

You know that stupid little badge was the carrot I needed to keep me going. It probably took me another hour to finish up the remaining lessons and I did it only because the site had the gamification features in place to get me to get it done.


Once you do have your online course running, making use of gamification may be the right thing to do next. Try to avoid focusing on it too early. It may be a distraction that keeps you from focusing on the right thing when you start.

Hope this helps!