Making learning exciting and fun

How can companies use gamification techniques to make their digital corporate learning programmes more interesting, engaging and productive for employees?

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Many corporate training programmes today are highly outdated. In spite of the widely-accepted importance of learning and development (L&D) as a tool for improving employee engagement and performance, organisations are failing to achieve the intended results. Yet, businesses continue to spend millions of dollars on their learning budgets every year . While a lack of strategy and direction is a primary reason behind training programmes being perceived as not delivering business value, their very design based on a one-size-fits-all philosophy is worrying.

For a workforce that is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its expectations, and for a business environment that demands agility and flexibility, traditional training methodologies are no more the right fit. As organisational demographics change and as people get used to superior technologies enhancing their personal lives, their demand to experience the same at their workplaces is no surprise. Learning modalities are no exception to this trend of ‘consumerisation’.

It is a well-known fact that the most engaged and high-performing employees are those who are well recognised and rewarded. Also, human psychology tends to gravitate toward things that can give them a reward–in other words, fun–instead of something that is only hard work. Traditional learning, seen as a corporate mandate than an individual-driven initiative, ignores both these realities.

Boosting learning engagement and outcomes

This is where gamification of learning offers new hope. Gamification is the integration of gameplay elements into a training environment to make the learning experience interactive, attractive and engaging. By satisfying the individual’s need for instant gratification through rewards and recognition, and making it fun, gamified learning is completely reshaping the future of corporate training. Similar to how video games are designed to keep the players hooked, training gamification recognises its users through badges, points and leaderboard scores at every step as they go through the training programme. Employees will even be able to proudly publish their achievements to co-workers and compare their scores with that of peers.

Even as they enjoy accumulating the rewards of gamified training, employees retain a higher part of what they learned owing to the overall pleasurable experience associated with the process of learning. This naturally converts into better performance as learning objectives are met without difficulty due to higher knowledge retention. What’s more, training becomes an employee-driven activity, fulfilling business expectations on multiple fronts including employee engagement, learning and development and company performance.

Gamification is one of the most effective way to address engagement as well as help connect employees’ actions to business outcomes, decrease absences and turnover, and lead to improved performance. Watch this webinar , which will help you learn how to use gamification to better develop your people by encouraging them to more actively participate in learning and talent activities.

Gamification is one of the most effective ways to address engagement as well as help connect employees’ actions to business outcomes, decrease absences and turnover, and lead to improved performance. Watch this webinar this webinar you’ll learn how to use gamification to better develop your people by encouraging them to more actively participate in learning and talent activities.

Characteristics of an effective gamified learning practice

Gamification, however, should not be misunderstood as just a superficial point system. A truly gamified learning environment should give complete control of the learning speed and path to the user, and hand out credible recognition that gets acknowledged inside as well as outside the learning environment. It must also improve the intrinsic motivation of employees to take up training, and most importantly feature updated and relevant content. Some of the other core characteristics of effective training gamification include incorporating challenges inside the training, ensuring personalised learning, giving progressive rewards, setting up an instant feedback system and scoring and leaderboard mechanism, and mapping the game levels to advancements in training knowledge.

Addressing varying learning needs

There are multiple ways in which organisations can use gamification in their L&D function. Along with addressing specific learning outcomes, gamification can be used to onboard and induct new recruits, change employee behaviour, boost the efficacy of compliance training, and convert e-learning into compelling, self-driven training options. It can also be used to roll out company-wide programmes for skill development and make routine work more fun by tying actual work goals with learning goals. Other related use cases can include fostering competition between teams based on their learning achievements and integrating such initiatives with leadership programmes.

Tracking progress and effectiveness

One of the most important factors that make learning gamification a convincing business case is its ability to track, measure and publish training effectiveness. As the entire system is built on an interactive platform, where feedback and scoring take precedence, the management can quickly see how many employees are actively engaged with a training programme at any given point in time. Once participation and real engagement rates are tracked vis-à-vis just an attendance system in traditional training modules, linking actual business results to the training becomes that much easier. This also ensures smooth rollout and measurement of time-sensitive programmes, for instance, compliance or new product launches.

Today, when managers are grappling with a large number of disengaged employees while simultaneously facing aggressive business targets, gamification offers a renewed way of bringing back fun to work. In addition to improving engagement, the ability of training gamification to improve actual productivity without the need to repeatedly invest in newer training programmes makes it a must-try for leaders who realise the value of training in business performance.

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