Enhancing training and onboarding through the use of scoreboards and point systems in lms
Enhancing training and
onboarding through the use of
Scoreboards and Point Systems in LMS
A White Paper on why companies should adopt Action and Reward processes into their LMS.
Sach Chaudhari, CEO, Paradiso Solutions
Jake Israel, Marketing Manager, Paradiso Solutions
11 May 2013
Scientists and pediatricians alike have long argued that the games children play boost cognitive, social, and
emotional abilities in ways that rote learning in a classroom will not. Now these studies along with the
research carried out by video game companies on the science behind fun and engaging games are being
applied to the corporate world.
This new concept is called Gamification which means the application of game mechanics such as competitive
point scoring to enhance the learning process. Gamification techniques like placing a point value within
each step of the learning process creates an opportunity to harness a number of human characteristics such
as self-consciousness, competition, pride, exploration, socialization, judgment, and enjoyment.
Using Gamification concepts within onboarding or training programs will not only enhance the learning
experience but it will also dramatically reduce the time and overhead a company spends on its onboarding
Engaging and under budget
The goal of Gamification is to engage because when the learner is enjoying what he or she is learning it will
be easier to assimilate the course material at hand.
The material has to cover the topic in depth and ignite that organic desire to learn and continue learning.
These types of courses however can be costly and time consuming to develop.
This is one of the reasons why todays Learning Management Systems (LMS) have created a powerful
interface for trainers and educators to reduce the overhead and increase the speed of the learning or
As the gaming industry discovered, users do not like to know who is
“#1” unless its them because knowing you are lowly ranked can be
demoralizing and counter-productive to learning.
That’s why the LMS Scoreboard only allows the user to see who is
directly below and above them in overall score because it gives them
an accomplishable goal that they naturally set for themselves.
This pushes many learners to gravitate towards a desire to “out-
perform” or achieve their own “personal best.” Users who are not
naturally competitive however are faced with the dilemma of low
scores and are self-consciously motivated to not under achieve.
Over achievers meanwhile fight for the #1 spot even if that means
taking extra classes. Inner office competition naturally arises and
helps build bonds and strengthen community within the organization
as co-workers begin recognizing with whom they are competing with.
Feed the ego, it’s good for ROI
People take pride in what they do or have learnt and organizations can take advantage of this by recognizing
their hard work in the form of electronic “Badges.”
If a learner is the top performer in a specific course or class they are automatically notified and will get one
of these pubic badges assigned to them. Triggers are set within the reporting function where badges are
sent to learners when they achieve something of note and the badges can later be shown off on social
media or the users’ public Internet profile. Badges are also shown on the LMS scoreboard based on a
predetermined criteria selected by the admin.
Expanding the knowledge database
Users earn points through criteria decided by the LMS admin such as the amount of “likes” and number of
questions answered. Answering questions in the forum for example could be a way a user earns points and
this helps the organization to build a robust knowledge database. This is done encourages users to engage
in group problem solving which strengthens the organization’s inner community.
It is suggested that even the users that need their activity monitored are rewarded for activity and
encouraged to write articles for extra points which helps shape and mold their behavior toward more
fruitful results. Points and badges are a way for these users to gain the credit they seek for their knowledge
and abilities. The point system also helps organizations to identify and reward these users.
Comprehension based training time and advancement
A unique feature of training using Point System Integration in your LMS is that the training time is based on
the level of aptitude the user shows. If they show strong comprehension in a particular subject the system
has embedded triggers set to recognize this and advance them further faster. This helps decrease the
amount of time spent covering topics that are too basic for this particular user.
In contrast the system will add extra questions when a user is not scoring well and needs to continue
covering the topic. These users are given type specific encouragement (eg; Perseverance badges). In both
circumstances users are given rewards and encouragements unique to their efforts. A nice advantage to
having this is that a user who is just trying to finish by pressing each answer is naturally punished by the
mechanics of the system and has to repeat questions or receive extra questions.
An advanced profile page integrated for single sign on allows the user to access all internal system tools.
Below is an example of a recent project we did with Moodle LMS.
Shown in profile:
2) 3 boxes
a) My Courses
b) Current forums
c) What’s new in the company
c) My Tools (i.e. Flash Cards)
g) Tests/Courses and Scores
h) Class Entrance
A native feature to all LMS systems is the progress bar which shows how far a user has progressed within a
course based on percentage. Afterwards a Completion Report can alert the user of the overall score and can
even be customized to tell them what section they had trouble in.
The Leaderboard function does all of this and hands out badges based on these qualities so that not just
admin and managers know which users are exceptional in a certain area but co-workers as well. This is a
really nice feature for some who may have a terrible time with one subject but excel in another because
they can tell their high aptitude in one area is being recognized.
Integrating with LMS
Most LMS systems like Sumtotal, Saba, Moodle and Totara do not come with scoreboards, point systems
and leaderboards but these modules can be customized as per client´s requirements. We have discovered
from experience that building Gamification into a LMS is much easier on an open source system such as
Moodle or Totara.
Open source software usually has a much more flexible architecture that is constantly being refined and
improved by the open source community. Although one can also customize or extend closed source
systems´ such as Saba and Sumtotal it comes with an extra cost because of their proprietary nature.
In closing I would like to remind the reader that eLearning courses are in no way a thing of the past. The
maximum potential of Learning Management Systems are not yet close to being reached but the use of
points and scoreboards is a step towards further engaging the learner in order to create an enriched
learning environment where users enjoy learning and remember more afterward.
Sach Chaudhari is an expert in the field of eLearning platform development. He is the
CEO of Paradiso Solutions (www.ParadisoSolutions.com) which focuses on developing
eLearning platforms. Sach is based in Silicon Valley. He studied business at Harvard
Business School and computer science at the University of Cincinnati. He has various
patents in software engineering under his name. Before starting Paradiso Solutions,
Sach worked at various start-up and fortune 500 companies in Silicon Valley.