Gamification is more than just a buzzword in the corporate training circles. It is a strategy that applies game mechanics and gameplay elements to the learning content for engaging learners and thereby turning the entire learning process into a game.
Popular training strategy
This training strategy has been gaining ground with the human resources department for the past 4-5 years. To keep the employee engaged and reach the objectives, HR has been using the digital environment.
Gamification works since employees are inherently motivated to complete the game and win rewards in return. This is popular with employees as it provides them with the confidence to complete the task and increase their capability. This also serves as a safe method to fail and try again without having to worry about negative feedback from colleagues. The game provides them with immediate and positive feedback about their performance.
Key gamified elements
Games can be fun, but they are often business-oriented. Some of them view it as a technology that modifies behavior using technology.
Gamification can be effective if the following key elements are included in the gamification strategy:
- Game levels or learning paths
- Challenges or learning goals
- Instant feedback on progress
- Badges for achieving important milestones
- Scores for learner accomplishment
- Competition to assess skill level against others
- Leader board to help analyze overall performance
Gamification psychology through behavioral change
Gamification has always been associated with behavior modification and motivational activities. It is in use in a variety of industries from customer service training topics to insurance, and different settings from classrooms to workplaces.
To make it more effective organizations need to make gamification into a highly personalized experience. This can be done only if the learner’s personality, habits, emotions, and activities are fully understood. The goal of gamification should be to offer an experience that is unique and thereby establish a connection with each learner.
From the perspective of behavioral change, organizations need to consider the following factors:
- Task completion: The focus of the game should be on the user’s ability to complete a task. This is crucial to determine the effectiveness of the gamification strategy. Providing training to the users should improve the skill levels and help them complete a task.
- Extrinsic motivation: Activities that are difficult to complete in a sequence of activities normally require extrinsic motivation (external rewards). Other activities need careful thought in terms of intrinsic motivators and how they can be used to change behavior.
- Long-term engagement: Since behavioral change calls for long term engagement, regular checkpoints need to be in place. This is needed to ensure the learning experience is continuous and seamless. This checkpoint also helps reset goals and motivation based on the data available.
- Activity with rewards: A recurring activity should offer different types of rewards, whereas a one-time activity like completion can offer simpler rewards. The motivators, rewards, and goals depend on the type of activity completed.
The following are the most important benefits of gamification strategy:
- Learning becomes fun, interactive: Regardless of the subject matter or audience, gamification can help create exciting and entertaining content. The work may not turn into a game, but it uses the same gamification psychology that drives human engagement. The rewards of completion can be very satisfying and motivating. More the interactivity, the greater the chances of the learner finding the game informative and exciting. With the introduction of role-playing, and other competitive elements, such as leader board and badges, the game can be made immersive and fun.
- Improves retention: Any training hopes to teach new skills or knowledge. But the training is useless if the knowledge learned cannot be retained by the learner. Another important benefit of gamification is that the learner can retain and recall the knowledge. The science behind this is – dopamine – the chemical released by the human brain when a learner wins a game or achieve something important, making him or her feel good. Increased level of dopamine helps a learner retain new information for longer periods.
- Application of skill on the job: Another benefit of gamification is that the learner gets the opportunity to apply the skill learned in a real-world application. The best way to cement skills is to apply the knowledge in practical scenarios. Gamification allows learners to view the practical application of knowledge and benefits of the subject matter. The choices made within the game provide them a first-hand view of the consequence and rewards.
- Real-time feedback: Gamification of learning enables learners to work towards measurable, real-time, meaningful targets and receive feedback when the targets are achieved. Feedback is an important aspect of upskilling.
Gamification makes learning more fun, which makes it likely for them to be more engaged with the program.