Bringing elements that most people enjoy in games today, into the field of corporate learning and training and to use it to increase the chances of impacting employee’s information levels is a phenomenon that is slowly gaining momentum. It’s not so much about companies converting their learning programs into a game rather about strategically plugging in key gaming concepts to the existing learning content with them that makes a gamified learning program useful. And it also helps keep employees engaged. Support this by using concepts like simulation and one has a real time, engaging, learning platform that helps employees to learn from business situations while being in a controlled and regulated environment. By allowing employees to experience real on the job situations, L&D experts today are better placed to equip their workforce with the necessary skills to perform efficiently, while retaining their interests by engaging them actively in gamified learning.
But the success of any new process is determined by the clarity of its execution. Gamification is not just about superficially adding gaming concepts to a learning module. Without the forethought of where and how can gaming concepts make the learning content engaging, L&D heads would end up investing in the creation of such learning modules and yet not find a significant change in the learning needs of the organization. Gamification is not necessarily just about adding badges and points. It’s not just limited to creating a leaderboard, explained Dr. Pooja Jaisingh, a Senior eLearning Evangelist at Adobe Systems. She added further, “It’s more important learning heads today to use gamification to create stories and narratives which help employees to truly engage with what they are learning”.
Games create engagement – a necessity for any learning experience. Gamification is a powerful tool for catalyzing attention, focus, and investment. The modern society is flooded with information. In order to handle this amount of information, it is important to make them excited about the learning program. Learners are not going to undertake even the most wonderfully designed non-game intervention if they are not interested. L&D professionals today are responsible to also enrich the experience for learners.
Key elements of gamified learning process
One of the key elements of creating an impactful gamified learning program is to establish clear goals and rules. It assists the learner so that they are able to play the game well and navigate through the content being shared in a structured format. The rules should be explicitly clear to assist employees. The other key element that L&D heads can benefit from is the concept of competition and cooperation within gamification. Making the learning process either a competitive or a cooperation based activity help HR leaders also maintain a strong level of engagement with their employees and improves teamwork. Timing also becomes a critical factor in executing a gamified learning module. It makes the learner conscious about the time restriction and brings about urgency within the learner to actually finish the course in the stipulated time. Strategically using these elements with the other elements of rewards and recognition like leaderboards, medals, badges and point system can assist L&D professionals to create impactful learning program would greatly benefit companies today. But it is important to not overuse such reward systems or else the learning module shall begin to lose its purpose. It rewards come randomly and at every situation, employees might soon counter beneficial attitudes towards the learning program. Balance and clarity of goal become key towards the success of any such program
A case of trivializing learning processes
Gamification of learning modules has often faced the critique of trivializing learning content by making modules ‘childish’. But true gamification processes only add to the benefit of such processes. Pooja shared how the medical industry today is heavily gaining from utilizing simulation based learning programs for their employees. It helps companies today to provide not just the relevant information but rather create a rich learning experience. By making learning processes immersive, gamification assists the varied learning capabilities within a company’s workforce. Creating an experience that helps employees to truly associate with the learning process helps them in retaining information for longer periods of time. The current learning systems being used by organizations typically don’t allow such back and forth participation. They tend to be boxed and provide few opportunities for learning through creating and contributing.
L&D professionals need to maintain the right balance between the content that is gamified and the content which should be gamified. One cannot take all the companies learning content and gamify it. L&D professionals, therefore, should be able to bifurcate the companies learning needs into the two categories— the content which can be gamified and content that shouldn’t. Ideally, the content that can be covered through simulations and experiences should be gamified. Content which doesn’t necessarily need a tutor/mentor are fit to be gamified as it makes a mundane e-learning process engaging and exciting. Gamification holds the keys to unlocking great learning experiences for employees today. By understanding the key concepts of gamification and the content best fit to use this technique, companies today can create a strong learning experience for their workforce.