Did you know that an average American spends 5.4 hours per day using mobile devices? And that we check our phone about 58 times per day?
Browsing information, latest news, picking up a skill, DIY videos and blogs; everything is done via our phones. Our office related activities too, including emails, conference calls, reports and more, are all accessed via our mobile devices. Yet, research reveals that we spend only 24 mins per week in formal learning and training.
What is formal learning? Is there informal learning too?
Formal learning is training commissioned by our organizations that are specific to the job and role that we perform. Organizations are actively pursuing employees to acquire knowledge and skills that would help to perform our job better. However, the time we spend learning on-the-go, finding random blogs and videos online to assemble a cabinet, whipping up a loaf of Banana Bread or learning about the stock market or cybersecurity; all these constituents Informal Learning. It gives you control on the topic of choice, pace, and time. You even get to choose the medium that appeals to you – listen to an explanatory podcast or watch a video or practice using DIY steps, etc. It simply means that you are consciously seeking explanation on topics that interests you or is required by you.
Did you know the average number of connected devices in an American household is 10? Yes, 10 devices per household. It seems that we are always on our phones and devices. Perhaps we are. Yet, we are unable to pursue formal learning or training. Motivation to increase the duration to acquire job related knowledge and skills remain low. Learners do not feel a sense of pride or joy in formal learning. Adding to this lackluster situation is the current pandemic. With working-from-home or a hybrid work environment being the norm, there seems to be little to no time to sit down in a distraction-free environment, and pursue serious work related training. However, all of us do want to get better and remain competitive and relevant. The pandemic has reinforced the value of skills, talent, and rising to the occasion. Being a better contributor is a critical necessity in this current day and age. It seems like a Catch 22 situation.
There are challenges to overcome for formal training to pick up. Current distracting factors aside, the training methodology itself needs a boost. One-dimensional training is certainly passé today. Did you know that we forget 50% of new information within 1 hour, and over 70% within 24 hours? Retention of knowledge from the training programs we attend is at a staggering low. This is primarily because training programs are very theoretical or textbook friendly, and offer very low application skills. In these times of uncertainty, being highly skilled is a necessity rather than an exception. Such extraordinary times call for a significant leap in our approach to training and learning. Ensure training is practical; provide platforms for practice and enhance application. Build confidence in the learner about the topic, before venturing towards application of these new skills in the real world.
From the above it is evident that learners spend a considerable amount of time in informal learning. They are acquiring new information, albeit for personal knowledge, gain and application rather than work related knowledge and skill. Learners also seem to enjoy the variety of mediums to consume this new knowledge – videos, podcasts, blogs, simulations and much more. They seem to have a mindset that work related training is dull and boring; and maybe, to some extent, right in their thinking. There is a dearth in using the latest tools, technology and being relevant with training methodology and application of training. Simply put, learners are disengaged in their own learning.
There is an inspired solution to address the problem at hand. How would it be to deliver work related formal learning using all that appeals to a learner with informal learning?
To better illustrate, let us break down the many advantages of delivering informal learning:
- Learning is more focused, as it is learner-driven; on-demand training
- Informal learning is considered more fun, engaging and keeps to current trends
- Uses modern tools and mediums to explain critical concepts effectively – addressing diverse learner capabilities, increases retention
- Provides ample opportunities to troubleshoot, practice and get better
- Creates a community – users often interact via comments, suggestions and Q&A; a thriving network of solutions and solution providers.
In light of the advantages that informal learning presents, how can organizations capitalize on the same to deliver job related knowledge and skill?
- Make training flexible, accessible, less-structured
- Empower learners to learn-on-the go, keep learning learner-centric
- Score high on engagement – keep training current, highlight latest trends
- Bring individuals and teams together – build teamwork and foster motivation and a competitive spirit
- Provide ample opportunities to practice, provide real-life application opportunities
- Bank on social learning – opportunities to share and create a social experience
- Use training tools that convey effective training. Find ways to reinforce, provide spaced learning opportunities
- Make knowledge retention a priority
- Customize content.
Gamification as a training strategy to deliver informal learning in the workplace
There is a reason why gamification is touted as the best and most effective strategy to deliver informal learning. Infact, there are many reasons. It is not at all surprising that industry leaders like Deloitte, IBM, Xerox and more such global enterprises have embraced this training methodology and have found fascinating success.
Gamification is providing gaming features and experience to learners to tackle complex topics or any work-related knowledge and skill. Gaming experiences include animated features and characters, sporting tasks and activities, rewards, awards and badges, competing as an individual or team and so much more. By providing such an intense and adrenaline-rush inducing opportunity, you make learning fun and engaging. Instantly, work related training is no longer restricted to the working hours. Complex and critical topics are communicated with ease, training is effective and provides the ideal platform to practice to check understanding and application. Gamification provides instant gratification that learners often crave, upsurges motivation, and pushes the learner to learn and do better. The whole learning experience is made thoroughly enjoyable, making the learner seek more, and learn more along the way.
Research shows that over 75% of people are natural gamers. A majority of the population are involved with gaming or gamified experiences at varying levels or degrees of expertise. The biggest take away is that learners remember 90% if they do the job themselves, even if only as simulation. This is what gamification precisely delivers. You are providing an opportunity and a platform for learners to learn by doing.
When you apply this to workplace training, gamification helps learners to better understand the topic and at the same time, you bring the concept to life by enhancing application skills. A topic is addressed creatively, and learners are also taught on how to apply what they have learnt. Isn’t this the only objective of any training session commissioned by organizations?
One of the main reasons why organizations are finding incredible success with gamification as a training strategy is because of the context to the topic. Any topic being addressed to any audience from any industry can be more effectively communicated through a gamification experience.
Some of the use cases that we have delivered for our clients using gamification are:
- Address complex topics innovatively, simplify learning
- Check understanding or reinforce topics through gamified assessments
- Improve learner engagement by using animated features and reward system to bring elements of competing-in-a-sport to life
- Enhance application by providing a platform for practice through quiz, learning activity with gamified elements
- Motivate learners through teamwork and team activities, individual and team performance metrics through a scoring and leaderboard feature.
Through this blog, we have explored how learners prefer informal learning, and how we can apply these principles to deliver effective training at the workplace. Gamification checks all the right boxes, encouraging learners to seek information and learning beyond a structured curriculum, methodology and time. Gamification effectively cultivates a learning culture, and restores the brilliance of learning.
Would you like to see how Origin Learning delivered an archery game-based learning module for a multinational software organization?
How about a gamification assessment module, using a gym environment, deployed for an American cloud computing enterprise?
Write to email@example.com to view these solutions in-action. Discover how they were effectively created and delivered to suit organizational needs.
Are you thinking about how gamification can be seamlessly introduced in your training strategy? Rely on Origin Learning for the ultimate gamification experience.