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HEIs press ‘start’ on gamification in recruitment

Gaming interfaces are making their way to the international student recruitment sphere and marketers say they enhance the user experience and increase institutions’ profiles.

Photo: The PIE News

"Somebody might be sitting in an internet café and they have no idea how long this application process is going to take"

Gamification strategies can be as simple as adding a completion bar at the top of an application form or interactive campus tours, according to experts speaking at the European Association of International Education (#EAIE2015) conference in Glasgow this month.

“It’s almost like we don’t learn lessons quickly enough from the commercial sector”

Anthony Lee, head of digital at INTO University Partnerships, described how gamification is already appearing on commercial websites like LinkedIn’s progress bar which encourages people to complete their profiles.

“In its simplest form, that is gamification in a practical sense,” he said in the session. “They are basically encouraging more participation through gamifying a process.”

However, when looking at the use of gamification in the education industry, Lee said it lags behind.

“It’s almost like we don’t learn lessons quickly enough from the commercial sector,” he told The PIE News, adding that adding a completion bar to an application form can make the process more user-friendly.

“Quite often I think somebody might be sitting in an internet café and they have no idea how long this application process is going to take,” he said.

“It’s almost like the process has been designed from the institution’s viewpoints rather than from the student’s viewpoint.”

Other universities are successfully using gamification strategies to attract students to their institutions in the first place.

The Game of Your Life, created by Özyeğin University in Istanbul, uses real Facebook timelines to show users the future, allowing them to choose what course they want to study, and even featured shares and comments from real Facebook friends.

The game, which reportedly reached 250,000 unique users, offered the winner a four-year scholarship.

According to the promotional video, many of the top thousand users “would never have considered OZU if it weren’t for the game”.

Other examples of gamification include a dating-style website, Global University Match, that matches students with universities based on their profile information.

Despite the education sector’s delayed update of gamification, Lee said it’s only a matter of time before we see more movement towards these strategies in the future.

“People are engaging much more in social media, they’re engaging much more in digital marketing, particularly in the international recruitment sector,” he said.

“So I think there’s a certain inevitability that elements like gamification, mobile marketing will all creep into international student recruitment.”

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