Balancing Difficulty in eLearning Games & Simulations


“We’re all built to run from tigers.” This is why learners respond so well to game-based training—where they must complete challenges to get achievement, satisfaction, and recognition—according to Emil Heidkamp from Sonata Learning. Emil presented on gamification and simulations at the 2015 Lectora® User Conference in Nashville this spring.

In his session, Emil discussed balance—how appropriate a game or simulation’s difficulty level is for its intended audience. With gamification, you want to create an engaging game experience that is also a learning experience. The goal is to achieve cognitive flow, a state of heightened emotional and cognitive engagement achieved when the difficulty of a task is proportional to an individual’s ability. Then, reward the learner for participating so that he or she feels that sense of accomplishment.

Here are a few tips from Emil on enabling cognitive flow:

• Have concrete goals with manageable rules.

• Demand actions to achieve goals that fit within the person’s capabilities.

• Have clear and timely feedback on performance and goal accomplishment.

• Diminish extraneous distraction, thus facilitating concentration.


Emil’s session was so popular that we had to bring in extra chairs!

Emil also explained why Lectora is great for creating games and simulations:

• Variables allow you to “keep score” and track states, essential for creating games and model systems or processes.

• Modify Variable Actions allows games and simulations to be dynamic.

• Random Value Generator can be used to introduce an element of unpredictability.

• Conditional Logic allows for branching scenarios and more complex game or simulation mechanics.

• Timed Triggers are great for adding stress or difficulty to your game.


LUC 2015 attendees were excited to start creating their own games with Lectora.

Have you created something cool in Lectora that you want to share? Post in the Trivantis Community!

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