Article: Recognize and reward learning

Learning & Development

Recognize and reward learning

Successful learning mechanisms understand and relate to varying individual needs within an organization
Recognize and reward learning

The learning process needs to create touch points that generate interest for the individual beyond simple outcomes like attending a program or workshop


Rewards and recognition are a very primal human need and gamification of the learning process would address the needs of many


We all remember school for different reasons, irrespective of academic performance. Some of us were plain straight A students, and then we had the lesser mortals who found achievement all the same, albeit in different endeavors with or without encouragement from institution or society.

If we take this simple premise that each individual finds his or her own reasons for moving in a direction, then the million-dollar question to ponder on is: what is it about the learning environment that drives people to achieve or not, and how can the diversity inherent in organizations be used to create learning that sticks, is useful and leveraged. Some food for thought (and consumption)!

Learning – a process. The most fundamental reality that learning is a process and not an outcome needs to be acknowledged. Of course, the outcome of the learning process is to result in better outcomes for organizations, but how we achieve that depends on organizations investing in the process as much as the desired outcomes. Thus, the achievement of learning credits needs to be a process and not just a tick mark against a name for completion and numbers.

What’s in it for me? People partake in learning when they see value enhancement at an individual level and the creation of organizational value as an extension of that. The learning process needs to create touch points that generate interest for the individual beyond simple outcomes like attending a program or workshop.

Everyone like to play. But what is the game, is the question that begs to be asked. If it is skill and knowledge only, then only the Federers and Serenas are eventually going to be interested. So clearly one needs to move beyond top talent and find a way to engage the diversity that like to play the game, not just for winning but for the love of the game itself.

Gamification? This is about the participant experience that fulfills the WIIFM in a multitude of ways, allowing for all levels of participation and creating the eagerness to play, with not just the outcome in mind. This is something that can easily be forgotten in chasing leaderboards or just black-and-white outcomes. The bedrock of the gamified process is engagement and pull by exciting different participants in different ways, by creating and fostering an environment that caters to the different needs of participants. A simple example of this would be someone whose objective is to be first vs. someone who seeks to apply the knowledge of skill in a real situation. A gamified environment would meet both these needs seamlessly and many a time allow for interplay of both, rewarding and recognizing both.

Gamification and technology, real time R&R. How people will play is just as important as what the game is. Technology allows for realtime fulfillment of the gamified process, incentivizing participants to play the game for reasons best known to them. It creates a level playing field to the extent that people want to engage with the learning process just as much as they are interested in the outcomes, creating the win-win that is critical.

Rewards and recognition are a very primal need and gamification of the learning process would address the needs of many, building the blocks of a learning organization driven by individuals and a pull sentiment as opposed to a push from others. This in turn will building ownership and commitment.

In my experience, organizations that are going to succeed in this endeavor are those who consume and practice the key tenets of building an engaged learning environment, creating multiple reward and recognition touch points. Everyone likes a game and likes to play; the question really is whether you want to play as an organization!

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Topics: Learning & Development, #Gamification, #LAndDWeek

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