For the last 150 years, learning pedagogy has gone through a long period of stasis. We had a one-to-many model, where teachers push content to the learner and in this new age, we have videos and e-learning pushing content instead. In doing so, we have industrialized learning. In other words, we have successfully enabled access to top quality content to learners across the world.
However, only 10 percent of learners who start a course on MOOCS such as Coursera complete it. Unless learning is made compelling, relevant and fun, adoption will be a major hassle. Enter gamification. Gamified learning adopts game elements to enhance engagement in learning. Game elements are of various types: rewards, avatars, levels, social competition etc. In “Angry Birds” for example, you get stars, points and the ability to graduate to different levels (also called ‘level up’) by catapulting birds to destroy pigs. You generally don’t think about the physics or any of the theory behind the game. The same applies to Temple Run or any other well-designed game. Effective design techniques like balancing competition and collaboration, and defining a meaningful game economy structure drive success. According to Brian Burke of Gartner Inc., "The challenge facing project managers and sponsors responsible for gamification initiatives is the lack of game design talent to apply to gamification projects. Poor game design is one of the key failings of many gamified applications today.”
The underlying principle that gets applied to learning is the ability to learn while playing. Showing theoretical concepts upfront kills the joy of discovering them while playing. Imagine going through a physics lesson before beginning to play Angry Birds. It’s likely to catapult you to boredom.
Let’s try to dream up a game which teaches you to influence others when you don’t have authority at the workplace. Five ingredients to be kept in mind while designing such a game:
- The story: Weave a story that is real and as close to the learner’s reality as much as possible.
- Characters: Characters in the story (just like a movie) help in better retention rates of the learner. Interacting with real-life-like characters helps you to relate them to colleagues and stakeholders at work elevating retention levels.
- The Protagonist effect: Immerse the learner into a situation where tough decisions and trade-offs have to be made solely by the learner. Provide ‘actions’ where necessary so that the learner interacts with the virtual company to meet the objectives.
- Leader-boards: Provide a leader-board that will help learners compete with other peers, compare notes and have social discussions
- Rewards: Create a mix of virtual and offline rewards that are tangible. The combination helps learners realize the value of what they have achieved rather than simply sitting on a virtual trophy cabinet.
The above techniques help provide a highly interactive learning experience resulting in improved retention and most importantly focuses the learning around application rather than a mere knowledge test. Further, it can be made personalized to the learner by adding complexities and elevating the levels depending on the learner’s performance. Gamification of HR is about being business-oriented, gearing activities toward the achievement of both player and business objectives and goals
KNOLSKAPE’s experience with gamified learning has seen the emergence of competitiveness and social learning that was probably prevalent during the learner’s early school days. The proud feeling of having conquered your classmates in a history test gets revived when learning is garnished with gamification. It brings out the child within to learn and perform better than others.