Add gamification and turn your learners into winners

August 2, 2022 | Activate Learning | 4 min read

Gartner Research defines gamification as “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. It is important to distinguish gamification from video games and loyalty programs, as gamification uses techniques from behavioral science to ‘nudge’ people into achieving their goals.”

When it comes to learning, a little “nudge” can make a big difference.

Gamification has become a popular tool for Marketing in recent years — especially as more and more of us consume content (and marketing) over personal devices like smart phones and tablets. But, it’s also a valuable tactic for Human Resources and Learning and Development. Game mechanics can be infused into everything from onboarding to employee training to day-to-day administrative tasks. And, as far as effectiveness is concerned, the numbers speak for themselves.

According to research published this year by career advice website Zippia:

  • 90% of employees say gamification makes them more productive at work.
  • On average, employees experience a 60% engagement increase with a gamified work experience.
  • Companies that use gamification are seven times more profitable than those that do not use gamified elements at work — whether with employees or consumers.
  • 72% of people say gamification motivates them to do tasks and work harder on the job.
  • And, 67% of students agree that gamified learning is both more engaging and motivating than traditional classes.

So, how can organizations tap into the power of gamification to enhance training and learning? We asked one of Skillsoft’s valued customers to share their recent success with us.

The major U.S. manufacturing company employs 16,000 people, in both salaried and hourly positions. They’re committed to learning and development, and provide special career path programs, as well as other growth opportunities. Much of this is delivered through Skillsoft, which has been serving the customer for more than 20 years ago.

We spoke with one of the company’s Marketing Specialists, a 40-year veteran responsible for deploying e-learning solutions to equip operations and other internal functions with the insights and training they need to succeed. “As Skillsoft has grown,” she told us, “Our relationship has grown.” She cites Skillsoft’s excellent customer service and responsiveness as reasons for the longevity.

Last year, the organization migrated to Percipio, Skillsoft’s personalized, immersive, and accessible learning platform. They needed to acclimate the workforce to the new solution, but didn’t want to simply send out instructions via email. To create more excitement — and encourage more engagement — they “gamified” the process.

Positioning it as a scavenger hunt, they created a guided tour of Percipio in the form of a game. Participants answered questions, such as “Where do you find your recent learning activity?” They had to engage with the platform to uncover the right answers. Because the hunt involved tasks rather than written directions, the new behavior was absorbed quickly and retained longer.

The Percipio Scavenger Hunt was promoted via email and on flyers posted in manufacturing plant lunchrooms and bulletin boards. And, for an added layer of fun, answers to the multiple-choice questions spelled out E-L-E-A-R-N-I-N-G. “Some people caught it,” our contact told us with a smile.

The company is one that encourages feedback, and the overall response to the Percipio Scavenger Hunt was positive across locations and at all levels. And, the game led to additional learning consumption. In fact, when the scavenger hunt was over, the company doubled its license count.

If you’d like to add gamification to your learning program, here are five steps to follow:

  1. Assess — and update — your existing instructional material
    Don’t assume adding gaming elements can make up for learning content that’s irrelevant or outdated. Use gamification to boost engagement with already effective content.
  2. Decide whether you should — and then how to — gamify it
    Some content may not lend itself to gamification. But, if yours does, consider how adding interactive elements, like point systems, quizzes, or healthy competition can enhance the experience.
  3. Keep the focus on learning
    If your game is too elaborate (or the stakes are too high — like a big cash prize, for example), participants may start caring more about winning than learning. Find the right balance for the business outcomes you’re targeting.
  4. Start slow, learn as you go
    Experiment by adding just a few simple gaming elements. See what works, and ask your learners for feedback. Once you know what works (and what doesn’t), you can invest in gamification with confidence.
  5. Celebrate — and share — each victory
    As participants earn points or race to an e-finish line, promote their success (and yours) through interoffice communications like employee newsletters, emails, or an online leaderboard.

Like our manufacturing customer, more and more organizations are turning to transformative learning experiences that propel growth. The keys to success are best-in-class content, a sophisticated platform, and engaged learners. That’s where embracing gamification can really pay dividends. Because when learning is also play, your learners — and your organization — can win big.

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