Combining Gamification and Simulations to Create a New Learning Methodology – A Case Study

Pathways Training and eLearning recently developed some highly effective gamified simulations for a major Canadian company, with locations around the world. These new hire simulations, were designed to help teach new hire employees how to use a highly complex online system, to serve clients.


While there are projects that use simulations and projects that use gamification, the use of both these methods together is not common. The lack of prevalence of research on these two learning methodologies used together, is indicative of why the method used for this project was innovative and unique.



It was therefore concluded, that given the low numbers of organizations using both simulations and gamification as separate learning methodologies, it was likely that few (if any) organizations were using a combination of both simulations and gamification together for learning. Therefore, we believe that the gamified simulations that were created for this client, were a new and innovative learning method.


Gamified simulations should be used for learning. When you look at the effectiveness of both of these methods individually, on impacting learning retention, it is surprising that more organizaitons are not using them (either seperately or combined).


For example statistics supporting the efficacy of gamification include the fact that learning games can produce:


  • 9% higher overall retention of information,

  • 11% higher knowledge of facts, and

  • 14% higher knowledge of procedures than a non-gamified approach


(A meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games. Traci Sitzmann, University of Colorado, May 2011).


Given the research on the effectiveness of learning retention, it made gamification a logic choice for this project.


Simulations were also selected for this project, as it was important to ensure employees could actually apply what they learned, using real word scenarios.


Research that substantiated this decision include the following data:



(Federation of American Scientists, Harnessing the Power of Video Games for Learning, 2006).


The gamified simulations created for the project, are readily available and could be adopted by a wide range of industry organizations and users. The tool that was used for this project was Storyline. Storyline is a well-known authoring tool that is commonly used for eLearning development in Canada (Storyline is the number one rapid eLearning development tool and recent research indicate that more than 78,000 organizations in 115 countries use this tool for eLearning development (Articulate website Sept 2019). This tool was selected because it is familiar to the industry, and it would allow for ease of access to update simulation if changes to the system occurred. It should be noted, that given the complexity of the learning design (simulations with gamified elements), the Pathways programming team initially contemplated using gaming engines and custom coding to create the simulations for this project. It was decided to not use these methods as it would limit the ability for the client to easily update these simulations in the future.


To learn more about the gamification and simulations for learning (and how gamified simulations can be used to teach learners how to use any online system), contact Pathways Training and eLearning at info@pathwayinc.ca or call us at 1-888-961-6011 extension 121.


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