Gamification is the application of game mechanics and elements of gameplay to the learning content with an intent to engage or change the behavior of learners. Gamification has existed for a couple of years. However, it is only in recent times that organizations have started using this strategy as part of their training programs.
A recent report from Gartner showed that competition, rewards, and recognition were some of the biggest motivating factors for high-performing employees. Gamification taps into these motivating factors, thus, making them one of the most effective training strategies in recent times.
But implementing gamification as a learning strategy is easier said than done. Gamification is neither incentivization of objectives and goals nor is it merely about handing away badges and rewards for reaching milestones.
Gamification is about bringing behavioral change in employees based on the clarity of the objectives at the end of the training. It is more than just creating an engaging and entertaining way of presenting content.
Why does it work?
Gamification works since employees:
- Are inherently motivated to complete training and the chance to win the reward or recognition
- Are confident to complete a task since the micro-learning would have increased their perceived capability
- Can fail and try again without having to worry about negative feedback
- Get to view the immediate feedback about their performance
Steps to implement business gamification
So, how does one implement an interactive, fun, and engaging strategy that delivers corporate business goals? Business gamification.
Here are some effective steps to kick-start gamification as part of the corporate learning strategy:
Focus on the outcome: The gaming strategy is not about merely winning badges. Instead, it is about helping employees to stay focused and motivated enough to reach the desired outcomes. Therefore, it is important to first understand how game mechanics will fit into the business objectives and goals. This should be the focus of the strategy rather than the “fun” aspect of the game.
Provide clarity on the progress: Gamification can be extremely complex with multiple paths of progress. However, employees should be provided with an opportunity to view where they are headed in the game and the progress made towards the objective. This will help them in understanding when, how, and what needs to be done.
Set realistic goals and expectations: Implementation of the best gamification platform may not yield the desired results unless the expectations from the learners are realistic. Questions related to the purpose, objective, and outcome need to be addressed much before the implementation of the gaming strategy.
Keep the competition clean: The gamified world is competitive. Competition is good as it pushes employees beyond their perceived limitations and helps achieve the goals. However, the downside is that too much competition can destroy the gamification’s purpose and ideology. One needs to remember that not all employees are motivated by competition.
Align the reward with the behavior: Rewards are necessary to motivate learners to reach the next level. However, the wrong rewards can be counterproductive. Therefore, it is important to align the right game mechanics with the desired behavioral outcome. The gaming platform must point learners in the right direction that will motivate them towards the expected outcome.
Keep it straightforward: The purpose of the gamification strategy is to encourage the desired behavior and help the learner achieve the goal. Therefore, it makes sense to keep the gamification platform and the navigational path simple and easy to understand for the learner. Rules must be concise and kept to the point. Needless complexities can turn off the learner from the game.
Split the team: Whenever building a game, it is ideal to ensure that all learners are given a fair chance to win. The rules of the game must ensure that everyone starts at the same place, plays for the same amount of time, scores the same for each activity. If the rules cannot be applied universally for some reason, then it is recommended that the team is split into relevant guilds.
Keep the feedback going: To keep them engaged and motivated throughout the game, it is important to provide continuous and constructive feedback on their progress. Offering congratulatory messages when touching a milestone, providing advice on how to score better are some forms of feedback that can be provided from time to time.
Businesses across the breadth of industries have begun adopting gamification and are leveraging its advantages with varying degrees of success. Gamification is no longer a game since launching and managing gamified programs takes money and time. Therefore, it is worth looking at some ground rules before gamification is implemented.