Gamification for learning (or, notably, serious learning) is all about using the principles and key elements of gaming to meet the required learning objectives.
Through Gamification, L&D teams are able to expedite the learning process, as learners tend to achieve learning outcomes more effectively via an engaging journey rather than a traditional training approach. An efficient Gamification strategy offers higher completion rates as well an improved recall and retention. It can also be used to successfully help learners enhance the application of learning on the job as well as help them upskill.
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on Gamification in corporate training.
What is Gamification?
Gamification for learning is all about using the principles of Gamification and game mechanics for trainings to meet specified learning objectives.
It typically uses several elements of game mechanics like learning across multiple levels, challenges, instant feedback, as well as performance indicators like scores, badges, and leaderboards. During their journey, users may compete with others or collaborate for learning.
Does Gamification work?
The fact remains that the success of any learning strategy is determined by the effectiveness of its application. If you craft a Gamification concept that can capture and retain learners’ attention, challenge them, engage and ensure they complete the journey, plus teach them, you will have a high-impact training that will indeed deliver the desired impact. Thus, well-designed Gamification based trainings provide value to organizations as well as learners at many levels.
Is Gamification effective?
Gamification can provide an effective approach to enhancing learning. This is on account of these inherent features:
- Gamification addresses and uses the precepts of repeated retrieval and spaced repetition to sow the seeds to noticeable behavioral change.
- Games can be “fun” for the learner, yet significantly improve the learning. Learners can have “fun” as they progress through the game, engage in friendly competition, and gain a sense of achievement, all this while experiencing “learning” when they’re absorbed in the gameplay.
- Playing games with high levels of engagement brings about an increase in knowledge retention.
Does Gamification create higher learner engagement?
Gamification offers higher engagement (as compared to traditional eLearning), and the learners love this approach as:
- These courses are fun, motivating, challenging, and have highly rewarding experiences.
- Instant feedback gives them the required cues if they are in line or need to make changes to successfully meet their mandate.
- Individual scores keep them motivated and push them to complete all levels. Leaderboards show how they are faring against other team members, and this too helps them in maintaining the focus of winning and successful completion.
- This approach allows them a safe practice zone until they reach the required proficiency level.
- Multiple challenges (mapping to learning goals) and progressive levels (mapping to proficiency gain) help them gain skills plus a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
How does Gamification for learning score over traditional eLearning?
Most adult learners find motivation in rewards and recognition and both these aspects are intrinsic to the Gamification of learning. Specifically, the usage of Gamification in corporate training scores over traditional eLearning as it:
- Enhances learner engagement.
- Provides a sense of achievement.
- Influences behavior change.
- Invokes a healthy spirit of competition.
How can you make Gamification-based training work for you?
To maximize the impact of Gamification-based trainings, it is good to work with a bigger picture and use these techniques at various levels. Here are some measures that we have successfully used:
- Step 1: Identify barriers (intrinsic or extrinsic) that might be hindering the required changes and thereby improve the learners’ motivation levels.
- Step 2: Generate interest for learning by providing relevant and personalized learning paths.
- Step 3: Create effective learning experiences using scenarios, simulations, and challenges.
- Step 4: Provide feedback for performance improvement that can help learners pause and think or recalibrate their way forward.
- Step 5: Use rewards and recognition to sustain the learners’ momentum and motivation and ensure that they walk away with a sense of accomplishment.
- Step 6: Implement repetition and reiteration for a successful change in behavior
How do learners respond to Gamification for learning?
Recognition and rewards matter to all of us and using these cues to have a learning journey where you can have “fun as you learn” resonates with the learners. Well-crafted Gamification concepts provide high value for the learners translating to higher motivation and engagement, creating more immersive learning journeys, facilitating a sticky learning experience, and flexibility – which can be used to facilitate application, practice for proficiency gain, and influence thinking and drive behavioral change.
What are the benefits of Gamification for the learners?
Recognition and rewards matter to all of us and using these cues to have a learning journey where you can have “fun as you learn” resonates with the learners.
Well-crafted Gamification concepts provide high value for the learners translating to:
- Higher motivation.
- Higher engagement.
- Creating more immersive learning journeys.
- Facilitating a sticky learning experience.
- Flexibility – Can be used to facilitate application, practice for proficiency gain, and influence thinking and drive behavioral change..
What are the benefits of Gamification for the organizations and L&D teams?
The use of Gamification for learning provides several benefits to L&D teams:
- Gamification is a very engaging learning strategy, and the right gamified approach will enable L&D teams to meet the learning outcomes (similar to other strategies used in traditional eLearning).
- As Gamification for learning offers a more engaging and immersive learning experience, this would translate to higher completion rates. The gain would also be reflected in better recall or retention.
- The versatility of Gamification for learning enables you to use it various levels of learning (different cognition levels). You can use it for not only learning acquisition but also practice for performance improvement, upskilling, or application of the learning successfully at work.
- Bringing in a change in thinking and behavior is a tall order. Coupled with principles of spaced repetition, you can successfully leverage Gamification to influence both aspects over time.
Why should organizations and L&D teams consider Gamification for corporate training?
The appropriate use of Gamification helps meet learning outcomes – at par with other learning strategies. It creates better recall and retention and leads to better completion rates. An engaging learning journey helps learners achieve greater learning outcomes more effectively as compared to a traditional training approach.
How can Gamification be used effectively in corporate training?
Using Gamification for serious learning is a hot topic right now. Organization heads and Learning and Development heads are keen to explore this and enrich their existing corporate training. The appropriate use of Gamification helps meet learning outcomes – at par with other learning strategies.
By using gaming principles, elements, and innovative strategies, learners can be engaged and encouraged to apply this learning at work. It provides an effective Informal Learning environment and helps learners practice real-life situations and challenges in a safe environment.
Gamification can be used for different types of trainings, notably,
- Sales Training
- Compliance Training.
- Professional Skills Training.
- Product Training.
- Soft Skills Training.
- Induction and Onboarding Training.
What Gamification elements are typically used to enhance the impact of corporate training?
- A master narrative/story: This maps to the objective of the learning journey; the narrative crafts a real and relatable experience for learners.
- Challenges: These map to the learning goals.
- Levels: These form the learning path and map to various proficiency levels.
- Instant feedback: This aids the learners’ progress and conveys a clear view of where they stand.
- Scores: These help learners get a feeling of achievement, and they can view other’s scores, bringing in healthy competition.
- Badges: They serve as elements to award noteworthy achievements.
- Rewards: They serve as an element to engage and incentivize the learners and keep them going on the learning path.
- Collaboration tasks: These elements can be used when you have a team-based approach in Gamification to facilitate collaboration within a team.
- Leaderboards: These are the analytical elements that give learners a clear view of their progress as well as how they are performing against others.
What are Next Gen Gamification solutions?
With the maturing of Gamification techniques, the focus is now shifting toward Next Gen Gamification solutions.
The Next Gen Gamification solutions build up from the success of current approaches. For instance,
- From simple points or badges and leaderboards, you have more complex narratives that engage and challenge the learners.
- The Next Gen Gamification solutions also leverage existing approaches like Apps for Learning or Microlearning to offer personalized and more challenging learning experiences.
- Similarly, several immersive strategies like VR with the integration of Gamification concepts can be used to multiply the impact.
What Next Gen Gamification strategies can you adopt for your corporate training?
You can opt for the following 7 Next Gen Gamification techniques for corporate training and achieve your mandates successfully:
- Longer-term Gamification
Behavioral change requires the use of Gamification over a long period of time. You can use this longer-term learning path to have milestones over successive weeks/months/quarters.
- Periodic Checkpointing of Learners’ Progress
Alongside, plan for a periodic assessment of learners’ progress (against the required outcomes) that can range from learning acquisition, its application, or a behavioral change.
- Multiply the Impact
To make the learning journey more engaging, you can add immersive approaches like Virtual Reality or wearable tech in your fold.
- Leverage on Microlearning-based Gamification
Give the learners a “bite-sized” Gamification experience.
- Personalized Gamification
Offer personalized learning and gaming paths for learners.
- Social Media-based Gamification
Let the learners collaborate with peers or experts and address challenges or solve problems, much the same way they need to in real life.
- Invest on Niche Gamification Portals
These can be designed to offer customized learning paths and elements of Gamification, Microlearning, and Social Learning.
How to use Gamification, mLearning and Microlearning for corporate training?
You can use a combination of Gamification, Microlearning, and mLearning to enhance the impact of your corporate training.
- Gamified immersive learning strategies delivered as a Microlearning-based learning journey accessible as mLearning.
- Personalized Gamification delivered as mLearning/Mobile App featuring Microlearning nuggets-based learning journey.
- Gamified learning journeys delivered as mLearning featuring Microlearning-based learning pathways.
- Gamified Microlearning activities delivered as mLearning featuring Microlearning nuggets.
How can you Personalize Gamification?
There are several Next Gen Gamification techniques that enable you to improve learner engagement. One of them is personalized Gamification that enables you to offer highly customized, relevant gamified experiences to your learners.
This is how you can personalize Gamification to add value and create higher learner engagement:
- Personalized Learning Path
Personalized Gamification can recommend a specific learning path that would be most relevant for the learner, or you can provide the control to the learners to craft their own learning path.
- Personalized Performance Indicator
Personalized Gamification can go beyond the simple scores/badges or leaderboards by giving them cues on their performance against learning goals.
- Real-time and Personalized Feedback and Recommendations (Based on Learner Behavior)
Personalized Gamification can offer recommendations to offset gaps or tips on how to build their skills further.
- Call to Action
Personalized Gamification can also be used effectively to drive changes through specific call to actions that support the learners in achieving their learning mandate.
- Learning as a Continuum
Based on the learner’s area of interest or expertise, personalized Gamification can enable him or her to continue the learning connect even after the primary training is over. Gamified nuggets, delivered as challenges (for instance, scenario-based assessments) or learning aids (Performance Support Tools), keep the learner connect live and create a highly engaging learning experience.
What is the difference between Gamification and Game-based learning?
Game-based learning (GBL) is the application of games to further learning objectives. The objectives can be accomplished by using tailor-made content – within a gaming environment. Alternately, third party game content can be leveraged for this purpose. The result is the same – to engage and motivate learners to acquire new skills, enhance existing ones, or modify unwanted behavior.
Gamification on the other hand uses game-like principles, within a non-gaming context (business, social settings, etc.), to drive behavioral change. Its primary focus is, therefore, on encouraging change (teaching new skills, modifying old behavior) through gaming mechanics.
What are the benefits of game-based learning?
Game-based training benefits broad commercial applicability across industries as wide-ranging as Healthcare, Hospitality, Retail, Manufacturing, and Construction. Its benefits also accrue equally to commercial, industrial, and government sectors.
And, because of its unique approach to training (“Learn by playing and having fun”), game-based learning endears itself to employees across the generational spectrum. Unlike the typical de-stressing or entertainment value that games provide, when used in a game-based learning context – games:
- Encourage strategic thinking.
- Provide an opportunity for practice learning.
- Enhance learner motivation among disengaged learners.
- Promote healthy competition.
- Improve self-direction and independent thinking.
- Foster collaboration.
- Afford a safe environment for learning through experimentation and trial-and-error.
- Help develop a spirit of patience and persistence among learners.
How does Gamification for serious learning compare with game-based learning?
Gamification uses game-like principles, within a non-gaming context (business, social settings, etc.), to drive behavioral change. Its primary focus is, therefore, on encouraging change (teaching new skills, modifying old behavior) through gaming mechanics.
Game-based learning, on the other hand, is purely the application of games to further learning objectives. The primary focus of game-based learning is the game itself and how to tap the cognitive value of a game in furthering learning objectives.
What strategies/techniques can drive learner engagement and motivation with game-based learning?
Here are 5 useful strategies and techniques to consider as part of your game-based learning game-plan:
- Personalized journey versus prearranged trips: The best way to drive learner engagement is by enticing them to go on a personalized journey with you. Instead of following a pre-determined course through the game (for example, using templates), design your game-based learning to deliver learning experiences based on learner preferences. These could include personalized game paths, customized characters and avatars, and learner-selected difficulty levels.
- Stories versus brief narratives: How do popular video streaming services motivate their viewers to come back for more – week after week…month after month? They weave a compelling story each week! For maximum impact, design your game-based learning strategy around an inter-linked digital story with a purpose, as opposed to a multitude of disconnected single narratives.
- Learning versus winning/losing: Games produce winners or losers – Not when used in a GBL context! Make learning the primary objective of your game-based learning strategy – By allowing learners multiple opportunities to “lose” without the dreaded “game over” consequence. This encourages them to get back into the game with new strategies and different approaches. The objective of such a strategy is to learn from failure.
- Feedback versus result: There’s no better way to foster learner motivation than by promoting, encouraging, and guiding them continuously and instantly throughout their game-based learning. Unlike end-of-game “win or lose” feedback, instant feedback enables learners to self-check and implement remedial action, while still “in the game.”
- Team gaming versus individual sport: Where possible, include team games, as opposed to individual events, as part of your game-based learning strategy. This not only fosters competition but also promotes collaboration.
What are the benefits of using gamifying VILT programs?
Detractors of Gamification-based learning hold that this approach (playing while learning) adds a distractive element to a serious activity (learning by playing).
However, when implemented well, gamified VILT delivers many benefits, both for learners and the organization, including:
- Enhanced learner-instructor interaction.
- Better learner engagement.
- Stronger team building outcomes.
- Higher levels of employee motivation, thanks to almost instantaneous feedback.
- Improved knowledge transfer, retention, and recall.
For learners, this translates to a better learning environment. For organizations, this translates to more cost-effective, scalable, and effective learning delivery.
What are the approaches to gamify your VILT programs and drive remote learner engagement?
Here are 8 approaches to drive learner engagement through results-based Gamification of VILT that would step up the learner engagement quotient:
- Understand your learners and their environment: Questions to address include what is their current knowledge level, what motivates them to learn, what issues are they trying to resolve, the technology and tools they now have, how will they demonstrate “success” to you. These cues would help you identify what elements you should use to gamify your VILT session.
- Recognize that the overwhelmed learners won’t learn: Deliver learning as Microlearning modules; design content that’s “roomy” and “spacious” – not cluttered and densely packed, and schedule time-outs for interactivity.
- Monotony drives disengagement: Most existing VILT comprises text or audio content. Hours of voice-only learning or module after module of text-based slides can be monotonous.
- Consider including periodic (every 5 to 10 minutes) gamified activities in your sessions, such as scavenger hunts, polling questions, and pop-up chat bots to reduce monotony.
- Leverage mixed-mode content (video, audio, virtual tours, simulations) that also fuels learner engagement.
- Give learners control: One way to do that is to use Branching Scenarios so learners chart their own learning journey. Use a Choice-Challenge-Consequence model to facilitate learner decision-making on how they decide to branch-out.
- Gamify around themes, stories, case studies, characters: Create continuity and build anticipation and excitement by advancing the learning “plot” one lesson/module at a time.
- Ensuring each gaming interaction (level, round, segment) brings learners closer to the end-game and will keep VILT audiences engaged and coming back for more.
- Above all, relate the gaming action preferably to their real-world situations.
- Time your gamified interactivity: Set a sense of urgency for learner interactions – “Find the missing link in 1 minute;” “Identify what’s wrong and outline how to fix it in 3 minutes.”
- Motivate and engage the learners through rewards: Use leaderboards and reward winners with more points, badges, certificates, or marks, but others (who may not finish before the clock runs out) also receive (fewer) rewards.
Be prompt with feedback: Design gaming activities to deliver feedback – both corrective as well as encouragement – promptly. This would ensure that the learners can assimilate it in their next actions.
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