Let’s face it, gamifying a training takes a lot of extra work. It’s easy to deliver information in a lecture. Shouldn’t it be the participant’s responsibility to take our information, remember it, and apply it? After all, they are adults. Why is it our responsibility to make it fun and engaging for them?
Some Talent Development folks are satisfied throwing some points, badges, and leaderboards (PBLs) at a training and being done with it. They don’t have the time and resources to consider other mechanics, develop player personas, create narratives, and determine KPIs.
They ask why they should do all this extra work. Participants should be motivated enough by PBLs.
In truth, there are many reasons why we would not apply gamification to a training, such as time, budget, interest/importance, no support from above, and there may actually be some types of training, you can’t gamify (we’re still looking for an example - so if you have an idea, please share it with us below).
But there are also many reasons TO gamify Learning and Development. Let’s look at three of the more obvious ones:
- Create interaction
- Overcome disengagement
- Provide opportunities for reflection
So, let’s unpack them a bit.
Does this look familiar?
How often have we seen this in the training room? Maybe you’ve even gone through trainings where you looked like this. In this mental state, not much learning is happening.
The reality is learning happens when the instructor shuts up. Think about it, when you were in school, isn’t it true that you didn’t actually learn much while the teacher was talking. You were taking notes, sure, but the actual learning happened later, when you reviewed your notes and did your homework.
Also, remember how information made more sense when there were labs?
Well, in the corporate learning environment, it’s the same thing.
While you’re talking, they’re not applying the knowledge. Only through interaction do they process what they are hearing and reading.
Research shows that we must be engaged with the information to actually learn.
More important, when we engage in our learning, we apply it to our lives outside of the learning environment, and we have a context for remembering what we’ve learned.
You may have heard about the Gallup report that said 49% of employees are not engaged, and a surprising 18% of employees are actively disengaged. These folks haven’t just checked out; they are working hard at disengaging themselves from their jobs, the work place, and their employer. They have no desire to learn or improve, and in fact, will disrupt any efforts to encourage them to improve.
You can’t force the non-engaged to engage, nor tempt the actively disengaged to change their attitude, but you can create learning environments that are engaging and that encourage a more positive perception of change and improvement. Through gamification, you can create learning environments that are interesting, interactive, maybe even fun. As long as everyone has to go through the training, we might as well make it enjoyable.
Here is a short video that shows gamification engagement in action. Whether you are a new or seasoned learning professional, this Sententia Level 1 Gamification Apprentice Certification will help you to quickly and easily learn how to adapt a gamification strategy for your programs.
Game mechanics, by definition, encourage engagement. Participants must “play” during the event. And while certain mechanics appeal to different motivators, a designer can, with enough information about the participants, create a gamified program that will appeal to the non-engaged and disengaged.
Provide Opportunities for ReflectionWe’ve become used to swimming through oceans of information. Input is constantly tapping at the periphery of our perceptions. As I write these words, I’m tracking email alerts in the upper right of my screen, I’m eavesdropping a conversation in the other room, and I’m aware of where my cell phone sits. Outside my window, I note when cars drive by or people walk along the street. All while consulting my notes and the book I’m lifting ideas from.
In this environment, we don’t often get a chance to think and reflect. We may hear a lecture, watch a webinar, or read words on the screen, but before be begin to consider how we will use the information, more information hits us. Our brains quickly shuttle what we’ve learned into the recesses of short-term memory, where it will be purged in a few days.
What if, instead, you gave your participants a chance to reflect upon what they just learned? What if you gave them a concept, principle, nugget of knowledge, and then used game mechanics to help them apply the information? You could also give them mechanisms for remembering what you’ve presented to them, and have them reflect on how they will use and apply the training.
So what about you? Enough reading. It’s time to reflect upon what you’ve learned so far. What is your Why for gamification?