February 17, 2018

The Impact of Gamification: 10 Ways Gamification is Changing Corporate Learning

Impact of gamification

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Things aren’t always what they appear to be. The next time you find yourself sitting on a train, in a meeting or at your desk, have a look at the people around you using Smartphones. Their serious and focused facial expressions tell you that they are clearly hard at work. Or are they? You are witnessing no doubt the impact of gamification.

Some are emailing, others are reading the news or an important article, but if you’re a bit nosey you’ll also find a surprising level of fun is being had.

Amongst the WhatsApp users and Social Media junkies are the gamers. By 21 years of age, many males will have spent over 10,000 hours immersed in online gaming,”[1] and it turns out that there are a good number of positive reasons why.

An effective environment where learners practice real-life situations and challenges leads to a more engaged learning experience, and facilitates better knowledge retention.

According to Wikipedia, “Gamification techniques strive to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure.”

We love to play, and we enjoy the challenge, the distraction, the escape and the gratification of achievement.

Apply the positive impact of Gamification to learning, especially Corporate Learning and you unlock the door to a whole new level of learning benefits.

1. Gamification is a ‘Universal’ Tool

Gamification can be used to fulfil most learning needs, including core skills, induction and onboarding, product sales, customer support, awareness creation, and compliance. It would be hard to find a training programmer that would not benefit from some level of Gamification.

2. A Better Learning Environment

Gamification in Corporate Learning can boost the effectiveness of the learning environment which can help learning to ‘stick’ in the memory and consciousness. An effective environment where learners practice real-life situations and challenges leads to a more engaged learning experience, and facilitates better knowledge retention.

3. Gamification makes Learning feel ‘Real’

Successful learning is a combination of three elements:

  • 10% from formal training Gamification focuses on the compelling ‘on the job’ type experiences where we learn more effectively simply by ‘doing’. In real life we are motivated to do better because success brings tangible results. Gamification seeks to simulate those feelings and motivators in people.
  • 20% from feedback and from observing and working with peers and role models
  • An impressive 70% comes from real-life and on-the-job experiences, tasks, and problem solving

Gamification exploits this last element by simulating real life experiences and ‘tricking’ the brain into higher levels of engagement.

4. Corporate Learning…Now with Added Fun!

If the level engagement is high, then so will be the impact of gamification. The learner can experience “fun” during the game elements of the training while still learning. A good gamification strategy with high levels of engagement will lead to an increase in recall and retention.

5. An Unforgettable Impact

Gamification can drive behavioral change, especially when combined with the scientific principles of repeated retrieval and spaced repetition.

Whether you’ve taken a course or led one, we’re all aware of how quickly a superbly crafted programmer can be forgotten if it isn’t put into practice fairly quickly.

Research clearly shows that the more interactive a training technique, the more memorable it is. Reading is a far less effective learning technique than a course with audio and video elements for example. It is the act of saying or writing as a part of learning that tickles the long-term memory into retaining ideas, facts and behaviors. Gamifies content comes out at the top of the pile thanks to the interactivity it offers learners.

6. Instant Feedback

Gamification of Corporate Learning provides instant feedback so that learners are aware of not only what they know, but what they need to know. This too facilitates better learner engagement and thereby better recall and retention.

7. Gamification – Making Corporate Learning More Rewarding

Points, badges, and leader boards would surely make training awesome. However, gamification is about a lot more than just those surface level benefits. Gamification can drive behavioral change, especially when combined with the scientific principles of repeated retrieval and spaced repetition.

8. More Motivation, Better Engagement

Game elements like feedback and reward are strongly influential on increasing the learner’s drive to engage. To maximize the impact of Gamification the learning content need to:

  • Capture and retain learners’ attention
  • Challenge learners
  • Engage and entertain learners
  • Teach learners

9. The Pleasure is All Yours

Games are pleasurable. We don’t need a pile of research to tell us that. If we want to know why then the science becomes essential. Winning or receiving positive feedback can activate the brain’s pleasure circuits by inducing the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Gamified learning can also induce this natural high, make us associate learning with pleasure, and result in a lasting affinity for the subject.

10. Games Bring Gains

The final ‘change’ in our list is an accumulation of the first nine points. From better learning experiences, higher recall and retention, more motivated learners, the morale boost of putting pleasure into learning; it all adds up to a significant performance gain for the organization.

Conclusion – One Giant Leap in Corporate Learning

People across the generations spend hours at a time on games of all shapes and sizes, from consoles to smartphone apps. Setting aside the fact that there is evidence that this may have led to changes in the brain functions, we have known for some time that simulations and games make learners remember more.

Gamification in corporate learning is more than just a gimmick. It is changing learning and in particular corporate learning through the simple yet effective process of modernization. By applying established simulation techniques that enhance the learner’s retention of knowledge to corporate learning, we can turn up the effect of training courses and take a giant leap in the modernization of learning. The impact of gamification is there on the horizon for all to achieve.

[1] McGonigal, Reality is Broken

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