Gaming technology is improving at breakneck speed and alongside, amping up the fun factor too. But, is L&D using this advance in technology to make L&D engaging and enjoyable for learners?

Gamification is the process of applying gaming designs and concepts to learning or training scenarios in order to make them more engaging and entertaining for the learner. Gamification is generally considered the type of game experience where the learner competes with other learners, as opposed to competing with the embedded technology (such as in simulations.)

When is Gamification Effective?
Karl M. Kapp is an author and thought leader on Gamification. According to Kapp, Gamification is effective when it is used to encourage learners to progress through content, motivate action, influence behavior, and drive innovation.

Kapp suggests the following ideas on when to use Gamification effectively:

  • To encourage learners through challenges and goals.
  • When motivating learners to move through instruction and to accomplish goals.
  • By properly influencing behavior when placing game elements into a curriculum.
  • In driving innovation by developing experiences that promote innovative thinking.
  • For building necessary skills via earning points, badges, and completing a story.
  • A way to foster knowledge acquisition through repetition.

When is Gamification Ineffective?
Yes, games are engaging, challenging, support learning in the workplace, and are a source of fun for all ages. They have much to offer in terms of motivation, engagement and the development of capability. But, watch-out to ensure that the positive effects of gamification are not overruled.

Use the following points to help you do a reality check, to ensure that games do not hamper the learning process.

Is your game authentic?
Life is not a game. Points, badges and leaderboards may be critical elements of game mechanics, but they have little or no impact on real life. For example, Firefighters don’t save people from burning buildings for 200 digital hats. Choose authentic games.

Does your game reinforce the wrong mindset?
Work-based games can have an undesirable influence on your employees. Competing against each other may introduce streaks of unhealthy competition.

Maybe, forcing a game demotivates?
Forcing learners to play a game may demotivate them instead of motivating them to learn. This may lead to an undesirable performance on the job.

Play a game to only “win”?
The purpose of the game will be to drive learning. But for some learners, the focus will be on “winning” rather than on learning. That does not drive home anything.

Game-based learning has much to offer in L&D, as long as it promotes an engaging learning experience and is not a waste of time. In the long run, L&D teams need to be able to measure a tangible return on investment that will justify the need to gamify. Takeaway: Can gamification impact the business and provide ways to effectively align it with business goals to further drive sales productivity? It sure can!

AUTHOR
Brenda Fernandes

Brenda Fernandes

About the author: Brenda Fernandes is a content quality analyst with InfoPro Learning, Inc. With over 15 years of experience, Brenda is an avid learning strategist with content development, instructional design and business analysis as her core areas of expertise. Brenda is a keen practitioner of harnessing the power of learning content to impact employee performance.

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