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Gamification – An Overview
“Gamification” as a term was introduced by British computer programmer and inventor Nick Pelling in 2003. Corporate training and learning have been around for a long time, and have seen several changes over the years. But one common factor that remains a challenge for L&D practitioners despite all the advancements made in technology is – “How do I engage the learner?” In 2008, Bret Terril – a popular gaming analyst wrote a blog post that featured the term “gamification of the web”. It was around this time that gamification as a strategy to improve learner engagement in corporate learning began to take off, and vendors began to incorporate games in their eLearning content. The last decade has seen a massive transformation in the way corporate learning is delivered and consumed by learners. With our smartphones becoming our primary learning and entertainment device, eLearning has also evolved and now gamification is something that most clients look for in their training content.
The Impact of Using Gamification as a Learning Strategy in Employee Training
Some interesting numbers from articles published on different websites based on various studies are:
- 80% of US workers find game-based learning a more engaging form of education
- Companies using game-based learning reported a 60% increase in employee engagement
- These companies also reported a 50% increase in productivity
- In a survey, 89% of employees stated that they would be more productive if their work was gamified
- Gamification is not just restricted to millennials
- 97% of employees above the age of 45 agree it would help improve their work.
Read this article from the good folks at Intuition to learn more about how gamification of learning creates a significant improvement in employee productivity and engagement. If you have time to savor long-form writing, then you would be interested in reading this research paper titled – “Gamification of employee training and development” by Michael B. Armstrong and Richard N. Landers.
Gamification as a Learning Strategy – Why do Organizations Hesitate to Adopt Gamified Learning?
Although the above statistics are precise and absolute, there is a perception among some decision-makers in organizations that gamification of learning would actually be a distraction rather than a positive way to reinforce learning. This is the primary reason why some organizations still hesitate to adopt gamified learning as a way to train their employees or customers. Some other reasons are:
- A previous bad experience with a poorly designed game-based eLearning program
- Lack of time to design and deploy eLearning
- Budget constraints in approving a large-scale game-based eLearning program
- Traditional mindsets that look for less expensive, and easy to design and deploy training content
- A belief that employees will not warm up to the idea of game-based learning or the belief that investing in such a training program will show no quantifiable benefits for the organization.
Where Can Gamification be Adopted as a Learning Strategy?
Gamification can work really well in the following scenarios:
- To train employees and customers and guide them to use a new software solution or for product training
- As part of the assessments in regular eLearning programs by creating interactive quizzes
- As a part of new employee onboarding or induction program to explain the rules, processes and regulations of the organization
- For language learning programs
- For health and safety training programs
- For self-paced eLearning programs designed to help maintenance engineers troubleshoot hardware and software problems.
These are just some of the many different scenarios where gamified learning will work well and help your learners remember the topic better.
Where Not to Use Gamification as a Learning Strategy!
Some scenarios where gamification of learning may not be a good idea are:
- “Sexual Harassment Awareness” training programs for employees
- Training programs designed for the C-suite learners
- Hybrid learning programs that are designed for a niche audience, and to explain something deeply scientific
- Courses designed for learners with accessibility challenges or learning disabilities
- Specialized eLearning programs designed for legal, banking and finance professionals.
Myths on Using Gamification as a Learning Strategy
Here are some common myths associated with using gamification as a learning strategy to develop employee learning:
Myth-1 – Gamification is achieved by adding interactive elements to a training program.
Reality – No, gamification is not just the addition of interactive elements or quizzes. It is a thoughtful approach to making employee learning easier to understand, and increasing learner engagement and retention of learning.
Myth-2 – Integrating an arcade game within a training program will boost employee performance.
Reality – No, each game has its own specific purpose. One game that works brilliantly for a specific training program may not necessarily offer the same result for another training program or target audience. In essence, there is no one-size fits all approach to gamification in learning.
Myth-3 – Gamification is only for millennial employees.
Reality – As explained in the previous section about the impact of gamification, thoughtfully designed gamified learning can work wonders for learners of all ages.
Popular Uses of Gamification as a Learning Strategy
1. Michelin is a popular international brand in the automotive space and known for its tires for vehicles. Read this blog post to learn how students of Grenoble Ecole de Management came up with an innovative game that showcased how customers could benefit from new Michelin solutions while driving.
2. Read this article to learn how Gamelearn collaborated with Coca Cola FEMSA to design and deliver corporate transformation training to 850 employees with the help of gamification as a key learning strategy.
3. In recent years, one of the most successful implementations of a gamified learning platform is the Salesforce Trailhead. The platform offers a great new way to learn how to use Salesforce, and offers certification and skilling programs within the platform. The user-friendly design and the microlearning-themed learning content works as an asset for beginners to evolve and transform into certified Salesforce professionals. Here’s a screenshot from their portal that shows what a learner can do.
4. Origin Learning was deployed by a leading American multinational company that develops and markets networking hardware and software-defined network technology, to come up with a training solution for their employees and vendors. Using archery as a theme to design a quiz within the training program, it offered an interesting gamified learning experience.
Screengrab of the archery game
5. An American cloud computing and technology company commissioned Origin Learning to create an interactive quiz that could be used in its training program. Using a gym environment, learners were given the option to choose from four personas or avatars, and complete the learning assessment based on the training content of the program. Given below are some screenshots from the interactive game.
Addressing L&D Challenges with Gamification as a Learning Strategy
L&D leaders are battling a new challenge since 2020 as a pandemic-induced lockdown has reshaped the way we work and learn. In fact, several businesses have now realized the importance of a hybrid or work-from-home model that seems to work well, and business goes on as usual without employees actually visiting their workplace. In terms of training, L&D leaders now have to grapple with the fact that they can’t hire trainers to visit their offices or they can’t book a convention centre or banquet hall to invite employees to attend in-person training programs.
These are truly testing times and like always L&D has been forced to adapt. We are now transitioning to the age of pure self-paced microlearning programs and training delivered via mobile apps and LXPs rather than legacy LMSs or PowerPoint presentations. Gamification adds value to the new-age training programs and reinforces learning with its interactive elements. With gamified experiences, you are able to effectively tackle the perennial issues of engagement, knowledge retention, and application of learning. At Origin Learning, we leverage our expertise in the creation of gamified learning experiences to help you enhance your existing training or creating a brand new gamified learning program that best suits your target learning audience.
To learn more about innovative learning solutions for your organization, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.