When it comes to learning and development, there are a few phrases that pop up here and there that might be a bit confusing: self-efficacy, task cluster, pre-test/post-test, part learning/whole learning…
Another term that you will probably have heard of but may not quite understand is gamification.
What is gamification?
The definition I like to use is: the application of gaming mechanics to non-gaming scenarios to make difficult tasks more palatable.
Gamification can take the form of quizzes, badges, points, leaderboards, achievements and ‘levelling up’. You can take the best gaming mechanics from your favourite games and apply them to situations that wouldn’t normally be seen as a ‘game’ or even particularly fun at all. Gamification works to boost motivation and engagement and makes even the most boring tasks enjoyable!
How gamification works
To illustrate gamification in action, let’s take an example that is probably present in all our purses and wallets: the customer reward card.
Reward cards are quite a basic form of gamification that results in repeat sales for the business and some kind of benefit for the customer. Each time a customer buys, say, a cup of coffee, they get a new star stamped on their little reward card. After they’ve collected enough stars – and therefore bought a certain number of coffees from the company – they are rewarded with a free coffee, or perhaps money off their next purchase.
There are a couple of ways in which this engages customers. For one, they enjoy getting stamps for each visit. They can visibly see how their actions are causing results – they are progressing towards a free cup of coffee, which engages them to continue.
Secondly, they know that if they don’t accrue enough stars to ‘unlock’ the free coffee, they’ll have effectively wasted the others on their card. To put it another way, it’s like going through a treasure hunt, expending energy to uncover each clue, figure out the next task and reach the next stage, but ultimately giving up before reaching the buried chest full of gold and diamonds (or coffee) at the end.
You wouldn’t give up halfway through cooking a Sunday roast, would you? In the same way, you’re unlikely to give up your coffee addiction when you have just three – two – one! – more coffees to buy to gain enough ‘points’ to ‘level up’ and ‘unlock’ the next level (in which you’re awarded a coffee). It’s clear how gamification helps to engage customers, users, employees – and, as you’ll see below, learners.
Gamification in learning
When it comes to learning, getting learners engaged in their training is often the biggest headache for Learning & Development. They have what they think is a fantastic training plan, a superb state-of-the-art Learning Management System and some awesome eLearning. But you know what? They discover pretty darn quickly that this isn’t enough. Essentially, if something is not enjoyable, we won’t do it. So without an extra ‘oomph’ to make learning fun, an organisation’s Learning Management System becomes more like a graveyard than a buzzing hive of learning and activity. What a disappointment!
Luckily for L&D, Learning Management Systems can be resurrected – with gamification.
Imagine how different it would be if learners collected a badge for each eLearning module they completed, which contributed to their overall standing on a leaderboard. What if they were awarded with points for interacting with each other and sharing their knowledge? Just think: what if learners were motivated to complete their training in the same way a customer strives to fill their reward card with little stars?
When learning is gamified, it becomes more fun, more enjoyable, more engaging – and more successful.
Tune in next time to discover the difference between ‘content’ gamification (gamifying eLearning) and ‘structural’ gamification (gamifying a learning platform).
Want to find out more about gamification? Come and visit us on stand E80 at the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition and see how gamification works in real life – there are a variety of badges up for grabs! If we’re half as busy as last year, you’ll probably want to book a slot to make sure you get to chat with us – click here to book a meeting with Growth Engineering.
But Growth Engineering is not stopping there: in order to fulfil its goal to turn the world's zombie learners into learning legends, Growth Engineering has just launched Genie, a brand new game-based content authoring tool. Genie creates an engaging, enjoyable experience for both content creators – through its gamified interface – and learners, through the game-based eLearning units it easily creates.
Latest posts by Juliette Denny (see all)
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