What is 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.
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.
- Provides learners an engaging place to practice and a safe place to fail.
- Builds competition and employee engagement, and motivates learners through rewards, points, or badging.
- Easy to lose sight of business goals.
- If it has no relevance to the learner's job, you own't change 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:
- HP 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.
- 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.
When done right, training through gamification can lead to greater employee motivation, attention and retention.
To learn more, read our latest blog how gamification captures employee engagement.