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outreach: gamification

One of the buzzwords of modern business, especially in eLearning, is gamification. It applies to internally facing corporate training as well as does to externally facing products like workout tracking apps like Nike+ or investment apps like Mint.

Essentially, Gamification is the use of gaming elements to shape behaviors. But if you’re going to consider incorporating gamification into your training strategy, then it’s important to understand the psych theory behind it.

Theory of Gamification

Gamification leverages learners’ innate desires for social interaction, competition, and achievement. Social media platforms, for example, have made mundane actions like messaging friends more engaging by earning badges and status icons.

Social and Psychological Effect of Gamification

Combining learning with gaming isn’t a new concept. “Edutainment” has been around for decades, teaching children everything from typing and math to words and shapes in the form of a game. But it’s easy to look at those examples and think that an adult is too sophisticated to need an entertaining Trojan horse to deliver their learning. The reality is that, socially and psychologically, gaming for adults is a strong option for delivering information and training.

The reality is that healthy competition can increase motivation, even if the competition is against a computer. But, a word of caution, because healthy competition can quickly become unhealthy, and it’s important to weigh the potential consequences of gamified learning that gets out of hand or affects some employees differently.

Gaming is also a way for people to role-play new or exciting situations. And while most e-learning won’t cast learners as sword-wielding heroes fighting evil, gamification can provide learners a chance to experience a new role or practice in their current one. This idea of role-play can be heightened by allowing learners to choose avatars to represent them

Gamification at LEGO

AllenComm and LEGO teamed up to create and revise training for their retail locations. LEGO is already an interactive-heavy company. Their style of play with their system of bricks encourages games and engagement. When partnering with AllenComm, interactivity and engagement were priority qualities for their training, and gamification was the right method to deliver them.

Two gamified concepts were developed in onboarding training. Retail employees used smart devices in their store locations to play a sort of scavenger hunt around the store to familiarize themselves with LEGO products, prices, and ways to encourage customers to play. While most retail stores are focused on simply the purchasing of products, LEGO retail locations allow guests to build and interact with LEGO products before purchasing, and employees need to be familiar with those opportunities.

Onboarding training also included a branching script of interactions with guests, reminiscent of interactive, branching narrative games. Employees were presented with a guest’s situation and able to choose responses and actions that led to a guest reply and more options to help the guest. The multiple possibilities engaged employees, who were hoping not to fail the guest, but it also presented a safe environment where employees could practice or try out responses to see reactions and effectiveness. It was okay to fail, since it wasn’t a real guest, but the scripting and presentation immersed employees enough to take it seriously.


While LEGO is a company and brand that we already associate with fun and interactivity, it might seem like pairing their training with gamification is obvious. But, the right approach can make any brand and company more engaging, interactive, and fun with the principles of gamification. Consider reaching out to an e-learning vendor to discuss the ways your brand can incorporate gamification.