One of the most important elements that learning and development professionals are forced to consider when formulating training programs is engagement. Investing in training happens with the purpose of developing learners’ skills or knowledge, and in turn growing and developing the business as a whole. Therefore, when learners fail to engage with content or find themselves quickly forgetting what they have learnt, any time and money invested in training feels wasted.
The gamification of learning is a strategy that has been building in recent years. With more and more workplace training moving online, and e-learning becoming an increasingly popular tool for the modern business, gamified training has grown into a prominent strategy for employee engagement.
What is gamification?
In layman’s terms, gamification is the process of using game-like features or structures for things that are not typically considered games. Gamification of training could involve adding features such as points systems, simulations, or puzzles to an otherwise traditional training course.
Gamification can be very simple or very complex, but the key objective is to grab (and maintain) the attention of your learners and motivate them to engage with the content.
How is gamification used?
It’s important to keep in mind that gamified e-learning is not about creating an entire video game, but rather taking the elements that make games engaging and motivating and utilising them for learning and development purposes. If you’re creating your own gamified learning or searching for some to purchase and add to your training program, some key things to include are:
The opportunities for gamification are virtually endless. Stories or simulations are a great opportunity to highlight real-world examples of the content, which allow employees to make real decisions and understand the outcomes. Puzzles can be great to test understanding of compliance training. Strategy games can be a great resource for teaching sales strategies and selling practices. No matter the subject matter of any given training, gamification can be introduced in some way to incentivise and encourage engagement.
How does gamification achieve engagement?
At this point, you’re likely wondering how it functions to assist engagement. It’s all well and good including some engaging visuals and narratives to an e-learning course, but how do we know it will truly engage learners in the content they are being educated on, rather than merely creating a distraction?
End goal. Games tend to have an end goal, something that needs to be achieved. This could be the completion of a puzzle or reaching the end of a simulation successfully. Unlike a lot of training materials, gamified processes help the learners to visualise an end-point, which can motivate them to orient their focus, and engage successfully.
Challenges. Achieving the end goal requires commitment and the overcoming of barriers and obstacles, thus, gamified processes encourage learners to apply their knowledge, and use what they have learnt to overcome said challenges and succeed.
Rewards. Any gamified process is going to encourage engagement more than a long video or seminar. When you gamify a training process, you are putting the learner in the driver’s seat, they are in control of their learning. This offers a sense of achievement for successfully completing the task. Many gamified processes offer scores, which engage learners to prioritise their success.
Through gamification, learning is accelerated, and people can retain information better than they would in a traditional training class.
How else can it help?
Engaging content helps employees feel connected to the company culture, which in turn boosts productivity. Employees who feel engaged with their organisation are more likely to want to perform well, which helps them grow and learn with the company. Workplace culture is very important to the professionals of today, and interesting and engaging training processes connect employees to their businesses, in turn promoting the culture.
On that note, competitive gamification can help employees connect with one another. Not all gamified resources offer leader boards or shared results with other employees, but fun and engaging processes are more likely to spark conversations between employees. A connected workplace is a healthier one, and therefore, a more productive one.
Ultimately, gamification motivates employees to take on active roles in their jobs. They are pushed to engage with the learning content and rewarded for doing so, which boosts involvement and helps them to retain the information being shown to them. Something that consistently comes up in our posts and materials, is that employees who are offered engaging resources for development and upskilling are happier and more productive. Gamification offers an additional method to train your employees in a way that is beneficial to everybody, and thus time and money well spent. So, gamification might not be the only way to gain employee engagement, but it’s certainly another string to the bow of great training.
Many of our e-learning courses involve gamified elements to offer some of the best and most engaging training courses available. Explore our wide range of training resources here, or for more information, and to discuss the learning needs of your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.