The Gamification of
Gamification is the process of applying gaming designs and concepts to learning or training scenarios in order to make them more engaging and entertaining for the learner.
The term "gamification" is still evolving. Many learning professionals define it as "utilising games in instruction"; others believe it refers to the "gaming mechanics" that are employed to incentivise individuals to participate in gaming or non-gaming activities.
The fast-growing field of digital gaming is generally divided into two distinct markets: "recreational" gaming for entertainment purposes and "serious" gaming for educational, learning or product promotion scenarios. In this infographic we discuss the latter.
"If you can gamify the process, you are rewarding the behaviour and it's like a dopamine release in the brain. Humans like a game."
McDonald's Till Training Game
McDonalds created a training game that delivered a memorable learning experience to support the launch of a new till system.
They wanted to give learners an opportunity to learn in a safe environment – to practice and learn from mistakes without frustrating customers.
The game used a simulation of the new till system to test staff on how they deliver the customer experience. Learners had to deal with customer orders, switching between customer conversation and till entry, whilst being timed. The aim was to display their knowledge of the till system and keep their customers happy.
SmartGate Logistics Management Training
Air Cargo Netherlands, Dutch Customs and Schiphol Airport wanted to improve collaboration within their logistics chains to increase speed of deliveries.
To streamline the airfreight system, they introduced a system called SmartGate, the objectives being to increase insight in 'chain-thinking' and show the consequences of transporting 'green' and 'red' freight which made sure all parties in the logistics chain shared relevant information in time.
To educate employees, a game-version of SmartGate was developed that helped with the change management process to on-board people faster and make them feel more comfortable with the new system.
Immersive Risk Management Training
This is a simulation-based, task oriented, interactive course, to increase awareness and improve risk management practices.
Learners have the choice to seek support while performing an assigned task, just like in a real-life scenario, which ensures the simulated environment truly facilitates application of knowledge.
This real work environment has been created along with challenges (such as bonuses and bombs) and rewards for success (caps, badges), in order to motivate action and influence behaviour.
Virtual Reality House Simulation
The Virtual Reality House lets trades trainees, such as plumbers, practice their skills in a fully immersive virtual reality simulation. The game allows them to make mistakes safely, to learn the job through doing, and to build confidence and competence before embarking on the workshop-based part of their course.
There are different levels with varying complexity of problems and the opportunity to practice as much as needed.
The idea is to let trainees try their hand at the work in a context where making a mistake won’t ever cause any damage – letting them move to the practical world after a shot at the virtual world helps them learn faster.
The increased popularity and usage of gaming techniques can be attributed to the spirit of competition; it not only makes learning more enjoyable, it can increase retention and boosts all important time-to-competency measurements.
It’s a concept long employed by sales organisations that is quickly spreading throughout large and small enterprises.
Competitive computer-based games serve both employer and employee by improving productivity and positively impacting business results.
Games incentivise employees to learn and accomplish more skills, which raises competency levels throughout an organisation.
Many companies have a hard time getting employees to attend corporate training. Workers are often reluctant because it means taking time away from the office and possibly incurring high travel expenses. With all corporate training budgets looking to see the ROI before investing in training, gamification can be the solution.
When done right, gamification can help change behaviour more easily and more effectively than lecturing, reading or even a demonstration. As you can see in the Pyramid of Learning figure to the left, Participatory Teaching Methods have higher retention rates than Passive Teaching Methods - Practice by Doing, i.e. gamification, has a 75% retention rate.
Essentially, the advantage of gamification comes down to learner engagement. For learners to change their behaviour, they must actually want to practice the new skill(s). That's where the "game" in gamification comes in. The gaming principles of rewards, competition, challenges, and personalisation can be used to get learners interested and keep them coming back for further study.
The main pitfall of trying to gamify a training programme is it can be easy to lose sight of the end business goals.
If you focus too much on making something fun and it has no relevance to your learners’ jobs then you won’t change behaviour.
While gamification of training should be fun so your learners are engaged...
... it also must be relevant to their job and to the skills you want them to learn!