Karl Kapp, learning expert and creator of the gamified approach, defines gamification as “using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game ‘thinking’ to engage people’s interest, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.” We probably don’t need to explain that engaged, motivated, problem-solving people are a huge asset to any company. Thanks to gamification techniques, you don’t have to hunt down people with these qualities; you can develop them from the employees you already have! But in case you need convincing, here are just three major ways gamification can enhance your corporate training efforts.
One of the keys to gamification’s success is that it gets people instantly involved and it only takes a few minutes a month. Instead of simply asking people to listen, gamification demands that they are involved (engaged). And unlike one person answering a question, at a training course or making a comment—all employees can engage at once as they compete with others in games, trivia contests, and tests. The higher engagement comes from the proliferation of social games on people’s devices, the ability to compete against content or groups of peers, and the element of fast, fun challenges. Gamification has been shown to be extremely effective with the millennial workforce, populated who are already inclined toward learning and retaining information presented in a game or gamified format. Studies have found that up to 91 percent of employees using gamified strategies believe that it improved their work experience, with as much as a third of that number specifically mentioning that it improved their engagement at work.
Because the experience is free from the pressure of classic, formal training and instead adopts informal games and challenges, people are more comfortable to get engaged. This improved engagement dramatically improves knowledge retention over classic training techniques. And since the feedback loop (scoring) is immediate, employees can self-motivated to learn more or identify where they have mastery.
A significant portion of the benefits of gamification is in its ability to quickly reveal just how impactful training has been. According to Lee and Hammer, “gamification can shorten feedback cycles [and] give learners low-stakes ways to assess their capabilities.” Because the system is constantly recording and comparing trainee input, a learning manager receives nearly instant results on what their employees have gathered from training and what they remembered. With that data in hand, addressing content gaps or learning leakage can be addressed in real-time.
There are huge benefits for employees, too! A competitive, always accessible learning system that keeps and compares score allows a learner to receive immediate feedback on how well they are retaining information, how well they are doing amongst their peers, and if they have achieved mastery. Integrating other social features like badges, discussion rooms, and leaderboards enable employees to be accountable to each other, while still maintaining an environment of friendly and social competition. These elements, working together on multiple platforms to appeal to all learners, make corporate training have a more meaningful impact.
A learning concept can achieve greater impact if the training is reinforced. The purest sense of repetition is called retrieval practice. Simply put; retrieving a learned concept from memory and putting it into action. Merging gamified techniques with retrieval practice further increases knowledge retention and makes the training stick. Traditional training has always called on repetition and retrieval, but marrying the two principles to a system that employees also find entertaining adds a new layer of effectiveness to the training, ensuring that important information is retained better. The result is a measurable improvement in productivity and a company’s bottom line.
Because of its ability to provide better engagement, social learning, and faster knowledge benchmarking, gamification is an incredibly valuable tool in the modern corporate training field, and it applies to virtually any training event.