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How to Ignite Learner Engagement and Drive Employee Performance Using Gamified Learning Approaches

January 20, 2021 | By Asha Pandey


How to Ignite Learner Engagement and Drive Employee Performance Using Gamified Learning Approaches

Conventional learning, modeled on legacy training approaches, often fails to meet corporate learning objectives. In this article, I show you how to use gamified learning to break free from limitations and make training more effective and engaging.

Why Do Most Organizations Find It Difficult to Enable Gamification for Serious Learning?

The reason that most organizations fail to leverage gamification for serious learning is that they see it as a dichotomy – How can something fun and exciting (gamification) accomplish something serious (learning)? A popular myth that alludes to the fact that gamification doesn’t really drive learner performance is also to blame for the lack of organizational success in gamified learning. Finally, the misconception that gamified learning only appeals to, or is relevant for, millennials also makes it difficult for corporate L&D leaders to apply gamification to accomplish serious training objectives.

What Should Be the Key Considerations to Create an Effective Gamification Strategy?

Here are some key questions to address when building your gamification strategy.

  • Is Gamification Right for You?

Not all organizations will benefit from gamification. However, in situations where you need to better engage with your learners, feel the need for periodic training reinforcement. If you wish to simplify a complex training curriculum, and add some fun to it, then gamification approaches are ideal.

  • Should You Gamify Your Training?

Almost any form of training may be gamified, but whether you choose to gamify or not depends on a host of factors. You should gamify if you feel the need to foster a sense of competitiveness among the learners. Where the central element of the training program is to create cooperation and team spirit, you should consider gamification. Gamified learning is also strongly recommended if the current training doesn’t adequately identify knowledge gaps or aids in employee performance monitoring.

  • Will Gamifying Your Learning Program Help Your Learners?

Where training programs have become entrenched, over time, they get “stale” and boring. Gamification fosters learner engagement. It can revive learner enthusiasm, spark interest in the program, and help alleviate the sense of “same old, same old” that accompanies dull curriculums (such as compliance training or routine recertification programs). With engagement comes better knowledge intake and performance.

  • How Will Gamification Help You Achieve Your Business Objectives?

Gamified learning facilitates business objectives by directly or indirectly delivering the following:

  • Creating a corporate learning culture.
  • Adding greater learner motivation and engagement.
  • Identifying knowledge and performance gaps.
  • Adding learning-on-the-go and learn-on-demand flexibility to employee learning programs.
  • Fostering group cooperation and team building.
  • Bringing liveliness to what would otherwise be dull training sessions.

How Should You Implement a Gamified Learning Approach in Your Training and Development Program?

Here are 3 useful pointers and tips to consider to make your gamified learning effective:

  1. Identify the right strategy: Build an effective gamification strategy by identifying the expectations of your learning program. These may include greater motivation of employees, better learner engagement, enhanced learning relevance or personalization, more challenging learning, and rewarding training experiences. Next, use these pillars to add some of the features, elements, and functionality discussed below to your strategy.
  2. Use appropriate gamification elements to make the strategy work: To make learning effective through gamification, consider including appropriate gamification elements. For instance, if the program expects to drive learner engagement, consider using challenges, rewards, and so on. If the expectation is to motivate learners to perform better, then use leaderboards, badges, points, and so on. When the program aims to promote healthy rivalry between two groups of learners, for instance, the Northern sales region and the Southern sales region, then competitions may be a great element of gamified learning to add. Other elements could include multiple levels, scores, collaboration, and instant feedback.
  3. Drive engagement and motivation through gamification: To do this, leverage gamification techniques at multiple levels in your corporate training, including partial gamification to supplement the impact of conventional learning programs. Enhance engagement levels by supporting ILT and deploying gamified aids. Gamified learning paths and the use of game-based learning also aid in creating higher levels of learning engagement. Finally, building and maintaining comprehensive gamified corporate learning portals is a great way to use gamified learning to motivate learners to explore newer training content or supplement existing learning content on their own.

What Tips and Strategies Can Further Enhance the Impact of Gamified Learning?

Some effective tips and strategies to enhance the impact of gamified learning include the following:

  1. A careful study of employee knowledge needs before building your gamification approach.
  2. Identify the learner behavioral change required.
  3. Be sure to cover routinely forgotten tasks (end-of-day backups, turn the power off after use) that you require them to remember and embrace.
  4. Use actionable verbs when building gamified scenarios or role-playing scripts (Move, Enter, Exit, Push).
  5. Use concise language to build effective gaming instructions and provide well-articulated responses.
  6. Do not oversimplify technical training. In some cases, trying to avoid the use of commonly used technical terms and vernacular may harm, rather than help, gamification objectives.
  7. Go beyond badges, points, and leaderboards. Embrace next gen gamification approaches, including gaming apps, VR integration, leveraging microlearning, personalized gaming challenges, and individualized learning paths.
  8. Use proven gamification approaches and techniques to achieve successful gamification, including focusing on longer-term gamification, periodic touch-points to assess learner progress, and social media-based gamification.

One of the leading reasons that corporate training fails to meet its objectives is learner disengagement. Training programs, modeled on legacy approaches, are failing to engage learners. Gamified learning can help bring learning engagement back to training programs.

I hope my article provides the insights you can use to make training more effective and engaging by using the gamified learning approaches.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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