Gamification and deliberate practice make a natural match. In this chapter of the Gamification of Learning Techniques series, we're examining one of the most useful gamification techniques: progress bars.
"Progress Bars are seen in many places nowadays and is often used in the Onboarding experience. It is one of the simplest gamification design techniques". - Yu-Kai Chou in Actionable Gamification
A progress bar is a graphical element that visualizes the advancement of users towards a clear goal. Progress bars are everywhere. They are one of the most known and used gamification techniques. You can find great examples of progress bars in LinkedIn, PayPal, or Dropbox.
Progress bars do not lose their impact and usability in gamification of learning. Most of the times, it's essential to set a goal for the learners to stimulate dopamine in their brain. And by breaking that goal into smaller checkpoints and visualizing the learners' progress towards the bigger goal, you can keep the dopamine flowing. To give an example, if the bigger goal of a football striker is to score 100 goals, he should first set a smaller target for himself, for instance, scoring ten goals. In short, set a clear goal for your learners (or let them pick one), break that goal into smaller chunks, and give juicy feedback to the learners as they progress towards the goal.
In the path of mastery of a skill, it's essential to break that skill into smaller mini-skills. We know so much about the efficient methods of practicing thanks to K. Anders Ericsson efforts. He introduces an effective practice method called Deliberate Practice. One of the pillars of this method is breaking down the skills into well-defined and clear mini-skills. For example, being a great football defender is an awkward goal. It's too vague and broad. If you want to be a great football defender, you should instead try to master tackling, heading, blocking, marking, etc. In short, break down the skills as much as possible. Break down broad skills into more specified mini-skills and let your learners learn them.
By breaking down the skills into mini-skills, breaking down goals into mini-goals, and giving juicy feedback to the users as they advance towards the goal--i.e., mastering a particular skill--you can make a killer combo. Users can keep track of their progress towards mastery as easy as possible so they will stay motivated. They also use one of the most effective practice methods so they will master the skills at a faster pace.
Octalysis Prime is one of the best examples of this technique. Octalysis Prime is a gamified platform that teaches you gamification and Octalysis. Octalysis Prime designers broke a wide skill, mastering The Octalysis Framework, into smaller ones, that is, understanding a single Octalysis Core Drive. Thus, you can first focus on understanding Core Drive #1 and then learning other Core Drives. This way, the users' progress path becomes much more clear, and they will stay motivated to keep moving.