So how long has it been since societal lockdowns began and virtual “everything” became the new norm?
We at Right Impact have, of course, not been spared from the need to pivot and re-innovate. Currently, all our learning solutions are entirely virtual. However, though relatively short, it is this intense experience that we start to fully understand the immense benefits that virtual, gamified, team learning sessions provide – benefits that we would have never expected to be so rapidly adopted if not for a tiny virus.
In March, I had written a piece on gamification, its general benefits to different aspects of work, and how different organisations use it to great effect (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/whats-game-gamification-work-andy-pan/). I had introduced gamification there and hence, would not be doing so here.
In this article however, I would focus primarily on the digital facets of gamification.
In any case, in a nutshell, gamification is the process of utilising and introducing game-based elements to increase engagement and retain information. Elements such as strategy, intrinsic motivation, visible signs of progress etc.
Ever since the start of the pandemic, we have seen more and more businesses stepping up their virtual learning game (pun intended). Mobile/digital learning solutions have seen an increase in sign-ups and organisations have been “forced” to adapt, but virtual learning can only be as effective as the engagement levels it provides for learners.
And this is where a gamified experience can help so that a virtual learning journey will not only take the form of draining information download segments, contrived group discussions in a digital forum and meaningless learner participation metrics. Instead, with gamification, we can encourage learners to play and learn simultaneously.
However, the successful integration of game elements into organisational learning requires the integration of activities and exercises with an outcome-driven game design. By using time-tested gamification techniques, learners will then be encouraged to participate more and improve their intended real-world behaviours.
Here are some gamification considerations for you:
1) What Skills Do You Want Your Learners To Learn?
One of the greatest benefits of gamification is that it allows learners to collaborate, interact and communicate effectively whilst promoting healthy competition with the use of scoreboards and badges. Though these features are easily created digitally, one must also remember why they are there in the first place.
Every gamified learning experience must enable a learner to learn something specific and useful so that the organisation is not simply investing in “fun” but in a solution with tangible return on investments. Let’s not gamify for the sake of gamification.
2) But Let’s Not Forget To Have Fun As Well
I hope I am not contradicting myself here, but learners retain more information when they are actively engaged and are actually enjoying a learning session. With the proactive use of points and progress stages, the learner gains more understanding of the topic and increases his/her desire to learn more, thereby promoting intrinsic motivation and the joy of learning.
Nevertheless, a fine balance has to be struck between the stakeholders’ intended learning objectives and learner enjoyment. At Right Impact, we use a learning loop where learning frames are presented at the start of a game before the actual game experience, and then finally, it is re-introduced for the purpose of reflection and action-planning. In this way, fun and serious learning are finely-tuned.
3) Make It Social And Scalable
Personally, I am not exactly a fan of digital learning programmes that involve an individual to simply complete tasks and experience the entire journey by him/herself via a web/mobile application. I honestly don’t think I’m alone with this opinion here (another pun intended).
Hence, as much as possible, make digital learning social. We are social creatures after all. By making your learners feel like part of a team or community in their learning journey would create learning “stickiness” and a positive user experience. Immersive, interactive team learning sessions like the ones we provide for our clients enable learners to discover and reinforce the importance of collaboration and even resilience (Find out more at https://virtualteambuilding.right-impact.com/).
In addition, with digital comes scale. Our recent experience in conducting nothing but virtual, digital learning programmes designed with gamification concepts, have shown the efficiency of digital learning roll-outs that have reached and engaged so many of an organisation’s employees. Don’t be distracted by technical limitations but see the tremendous opportunities to accelerate the development of a learning organisation through digital gamified learning experiences.
In summary, one of the biggest challenges in learning and development, or education in general for that matter, is engagement.
How can we increase the motivation levels of employees to learn?
It’s pretty obvious that my answer to this question is gamification. With Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMPORPG) setting user number records every year, it is only a matter of time before the next workforce generation prefers a gamified experience more than a training workshop stacked with presentation slides.
Gamification is not just a buzzword or gimmick. It is not a fad or niche concept.
It is one of the main psychological reasons that a company like Razer can grow into a billion-dollar unicorn.
Gamification is the next leap in virtual learning.
Written by Andy Pan, Director (Client Solutions) at Right Impact, and the Author of Happy Companies, Healthy Profits
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