Gamification at work is today an integral part of corporate training. When done right, it makes training more successful as it makes learning more fun, more engaging, more immersive and more practical. Besides, it also provides a safe environment for learners to face challenges that they would face in real-life situations. Gamification makes learning difficult concepts easy and fun by allowing learners to exercise their skills in virtual settings before practicing them in real-time situations.
So why should you adopt gamification at work? Ask your employees what is it that motivates them the most and chances are that they will say rewards and recognition. It stands to reason that motivation must be part of any training, and gamification helps to achieve just that. Besides, gamification also stimulates collaboration and in the long-term brings out required behavioral change and improves performance.
To apply game mechanics to enterprise settings, it is important to first design game-based concepts and maps them to the learning and gamification objectives. It is equally important to create learning portals that integrate the best of microlearning techniques, social learning, and customizable learning paths.
The Gamification 2020 report by Gartner makes some interesting predictions on gamification and the impact it will have on the following factors:
- The design of employee performance
- Emergence of customer engagement platforms
- Gamification of personal development
- Globalization of higher education
For gamification to have the required impact, it should be able to capture and retain learners’ attention, challenge, engage and entertain them, provide a compelling narrative, clearly set the rules and goals of the game, set tasks that are achievable, and teach and challenge them to evolve to the next level. Successful gamification at work, therefore, has to meet all these aspects.
From the time it was viewed with suspicion, to becoming an integral element of a learning strategy, gamification has traversed a long journey. Today, organizations have realized its potential, and gamification at work has become the new buzz word in corporate training.
Here we look at 5 gamification at work strategies which businesses can implement to achieve their training goals.
1. Opportunities to Learn in Virtual/Simulated Environment
Any mistake in real-time situations can cost businesses dear not only in terms of money but also reputation, both of which can have far-reaching consequences. By incorporating task-based simulations in your training, you can enable learners to hone their skills and find solutions to problems that they would encounter in the real world. Employees trained extensively through gamification avoid traps and pick up crucial tips and are less likely to fail in the real world. For example, your employees can hone their skills through an animated game. They can control the movements and actions of the animated characters, with the aim to develop some competitive skills. These simulations should mirror real business challenges, have an element of competitive challenge, use images and data to enhance the learner experience, and incorporate data and reporting for feedback.
2. Opportunities for Collaboration
Gamification at work not only fosters competition but also aims to create opportunities for collaboration. Take the example of a sales team whose members generally do not work together. Each member of the team usually follows their own leads and closes deals. With gamification, organizations can provide a means for their sales personnel to combine their skills and function as one unit. Games can include team-oriented contests that involve accumulating the points of every member, thus, putting pressure on each individual to improve their performance and constructively contribute to the team. Sharing challenges and victories add excitement around the game and bring the players closer, leading to more collaborative efforts between them.
3. Address Short Attention Spans
Gamification makes learning more meaningful by breaking down concepts into bite-size chunks or micro-nuggets. Games help to cut training into small sessions, allowing learners to respond positively. Besides, they can be personalized to offer learning to employees on areas where they are not performing well. In a world of endless diversions and dwindling attention spans, organizations can make learning more engaging by using gamification that includes simulated content in the form of small and very specific nuggets or micro bites.
4. Continuous Learning
A good gamification strategy should include elements that allow learners to engage in the activities that bring out the best of their capabilities, while also ingraining the value of meeting targets faster and more efficiently. A contest, race or any such competitive format can provide a competitive environment to allow learners to fulfill the game objectives and stay ahead of competition. The game can include targets or goals, award points and a system in place to monitor and track the performance of each participant. Within a gamified environment, employees not only compete with one another but also with themselves. Such competition with oneself fosters a progressive outlook, setting them on a journey of continuous improvement. It is therefore important that your gamification strategy includes features to record and update employees’ progress over the game.
5. Reward-based Training
More than the fun element, what addicts most people to games are competition and rewards. Gamification at work is successful when the learner is rewarded at the end of each task such that an infinite loop is created with a reward at each step motivating the learner up a continuous learning curve. To explain this further, think of a video game which typically has different levels, each with its own level of obstacles which the player has to overcome to reach the next level. After the player crosses a level, he/she is rewarded in the form of points, a level-up etc. The player then moves up to a more difficult level which yields even greater rewards at successful completion. The rewards can be either tangible or non-tangible, varying from recognition to special holiday trips or gadgets, based on the level of difficulty of the course module.
More and more organizations are adopting gamification at work to meet their training goals. Game-based training helps to eliminate the monotony of classroom sessions, passing on the control of learning to the learners and providing the opportunity to transform abstract knowledge into first-hand experience and practice concepts in a virtual environment to avoid mistakes in real-time settings.