When developing training, keep in mind the tagline, “A minute to learn, a life-time to master.” Participants don’t want to be overwhelmed at the beginning; they want some easy wins. But they also want to know that things will get more challenging.
It is also important during the on-boarding phase to introduce the game mechanics that will be in play, especially if those mechanics run throughout the training. Participants must understand the rules as well as the importance of the different mechanics. For instance, if there is going to be a leaderboard, what must one do to be placed high on the leaderboard? And why should they care about being on the leaderboard in the first place?
But a word of warning here from Csíkszentmihályi, if the tasks seem overwhelming at the beginning, participants may check out before they start. If, for instance, they will need 100,000 points to just show on the leaderboard, and they don’t believe they can achieve that many points, they will not bother participating. If, though, during the on-boarding process, participants experience the game mechanic Beginners Luck, and now they have 10,000 points before the program gets going, they will have a confidence that they will be successful.
The point is make participants comfortable during the on-boarding phase. Introduce them to the “higher meaning” of the learning program. Let them know what game elements and mechanics will be in play, and how they will navigate through these mechanics. Make sure they understand the rules and feel assured that success is possible. And then, only then, begin to launch your program.