What is Enterprise Gamification?

Gamification is the integration of game principles and mechanics into a non-game experience.

In training and learning, this means you add elements of gaming into your instructional strategy with the goal of increasing engagement, motivation and participation.

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Gamification or Games?

Gamification is not the same as gaming. Typically games are made simply to add interest or fun. Gamification should make your solution more interesting, but it needs to also have a purpose that will enhance your instructional design and meet your goals. Gamification shouldn’t just throw a learner into a competition because it’s fun, but instead target your audience and move you closer to your business goal of behavior change.

Advantages and Disadvantages

When done right, gamification will help you change behavior more easily and more effectively than without using a game. According to one Deloitte researcher, gamified training programs “took 50% less time to complete and massively improved long-term engagement.” The advantage of gamification comes down to learner engagement. For learners to change their behavior, they need to want to practice the new skills. That’s where the “game” in gamification comes in. The gaming principles of rewards, competition, challenges, gateways, levels, and personalization can be used to get learners interested and keep them coming back for more.

The main pitfall of gamification in training is it can be easy to lose sight of the business goals. If you focus too much on making something fun and it has no relevance to your learners’ jobs then you won’t change behavior. While gamified training should be fun so your learners are engaged, it also must be relevant to their jobs and to the skills you want them to learn.

When done right, training through gamification can take knowledge from basic understanding to the application of critical thinking and decision-making skills by:

  • providing learners an engaging place to practice and a safe place to fail,
  • creating an environment that mimics elements of their workspace,
  • building competition and employee engagement,
  • and motivating learners through rewards, points, or badging.

Gartner, as published in Forbes, estimated that in 2015 “40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.” Transform. Change. Adjust. In other words, done right, gamification can truly initiate a change in behavior.

When to Use Gamification

Gamified training can be broken into two categories: gamification in a course or gamification in a curriculum. In other words—you can have an actual game that is a one-time event, or you can integrate gamified elements into every aspect of your curriculum. The differences between the two are highlighted in the examples below:

  • Course: HP recently augmented their curriculum with a Net Promoter Score game that was the most widely-viewed voluntary training in the organization with more than 250,000 completions.
  • Curriculum: Likewise, a global medical device manufacturer included challenge elements throughout their entire curriculum for surgeons—bringing in subtle games, motivation, and incentives throughout the full curriculum.

How to Gamify

You can use gamification to make you training better in many ways. Because gamification is so versatile, it can be integrated into very different types of content. Along with deciding when to use gamification, there are a few things to analyze about how to use gamification. You should analyze your audience and determine what would work best for your learners with your content in your budget and timeframe.

  • When making shorter games, like in a course, microlearning can help you add gamified elements without disrupting the flow. You can include a small piece within a full course, or adjust a long compliance course so it’s a gaming simulation that’s more engaging.
  • When involving gamification across your full curriculum, you could create a simulation platform in your LMS to keep learners involved in the gaming elements in every application activity throughout your curriculum. You could also create a real-time polling mechanism that produces leaderboard metrics throughout your classroom sessions.

Why Gamify?

Regardless of how and when you use gamification in your training, it must add value beyond fun. Gamification should intensify engagement through relevance. It must take the learner into a world they see as important, as similar to their own, as engaging, challenging, and something that would be worth their time. It goes beyond CandyCrush and takes training—and your learners—to the next level.

Learn how we help organizations achieve better business results with our gamification solutions.

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