Gamification has existed for a couple of years. However, it is only in recent times that corporate training departments have taken this learning engagement method seriously.
Corporate training departments have begun to focus on gamification for a variety of training needs ranging from onboarding, induction, application-based, simulation, soft skill to compliance.
Corporate training departments have also incorporated microlearning as part of their training strategy. Microlearning has evolved from being a tool for performance support to becoming an aide for just-in-time learning. It has also become the choice for offering formal training and for supporting ILT/VILT requirements.
As these two techniques matured, they were amalgamated to maximize the impact of the training.
What is microlearning?
Microlearning is a short, focused, bite-sized piece of training that is typically 5-7 minutes long. The content in the microlearning nugget is designed to address a specific learning objective or outcome. The nugget can be a stand-along job aide or part of several nuggets in a learning path. It is an engaging, high-impact, interactive training strategy that is typically offered on mobile learning formats (mobile devices).
Relevance of microlearning
The main reason for adopting microlearning is the diminished attention spans of learners. Owing to the short duration of these nuggets, learners prefer to consume the content in one go to achieve a specific goal or task. The other reason for its popularity is that microlearning can easily be embedded as part of the employee’s workflow without disrupting the schedule.
Before we go further, let’s differentiate between two commonly confused terms.
This 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. Game mechanics involve leader boards, points, achievement badges, levels, and progress bars.
This is a training strategy that uses game elements to teach specific skills or achieve a specific learning outcome. It reinforces the learning objectives in a fun way. Game-based strategies involve drag-and-drop, sequencing, matching, trivia, etc.
Benefits of gamification
A 2013 Gartner report showed that rewards, recognition, and competition were the biggest motivating factors for employees. Gamification taps into these motivating factors, thus, making them one of the most effective training strategies in recent times.
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
Gamified micro-learning activities
These microlearning activities can be used for formal training, performance support, and skill proficiency. The nuggets can be designed to provide experiential learning as well as leverage collaborative and social learning. These short, task-based activities can also be used for improving problem-solving skills, application of learning, and proficiency gain.
A simple three-step process can be used to leverage the advantages of microlearning and gamification.
- Identify nugget to deliver diverse learning outcome
Offer application, testing, theory, practice, collaborative learning either as individual nuggets or in a combined learning path.
- Design nugget in differing formats
Decide on what the nugget would help the learner achieve, then have different categories for each of these. You can include watch and learn, test your knowledge, practice, or explore.
- Combine microlearning and gamified techniques
Gamification and micro-learning can be combined in multiple ways. Here are some examples:
Personalized and Gamified Learning Path
Microlearning nugget is an ideal tool for making a personalized learning path. The learning path can be gamified or the individual nuggets in that learning path can feature gamification.
- Incentives for better performance
A gamified journey can be made more interesting by offering gamified elements such as points, badges, and recognition for achievement.
- Real-time feedback to improve performance
Gamified nuggets offering practice sessions will help skill improvement. They can either be stand-alone or connected through a learning path.
Gamification makes the learning journey more engaging and helps learners achieve the best learning outcome. For the corporates, an effective gamification strategy ensures higher completion rates, better retention, and recall of information for their employees.