The point system is engrained in higher education. A typical undergraduate degree in a university where I reside requires the completion of 120 credits. A university student who completes an individual course usually earns three or four credits. Often, students can be given the opportunity to take on special projects or extracurricular activities to earn extra credits.
Educational units have been a part of workplace learning for years. Many regulated industries require that an individual complete a certain number of hours of training and attain a minimum number of earned credits to be certified to do a job. Increasingly however, I'm seeing a different approach to the use of credits or points. More and more organizations are using a points system in their learning management system (LMS) to motivate learners to participate in learning events. One Absorb LMS customer, a global sports merchandise provider, allows learners to redeem points earned for merchandise once they hit certain levels. In addition, by earning a specific number of points, learners qualify to participate in contests.
Issuing points provides advantages beyond simply motivating learners. Points earned show learning administrators—at a glance—which learners are most engaged with the content found in the learning management system.
Even if you don't provide rewards such as merchandise, gift cards, scented candles, whatever, for points earned, it's always nice for a learner to receive recognition for making learning a priority.