Transforming workplace training with gamification

Gamification is one of the most used buzzwords in the context of workplace training. The main idea of gamification is based around imitating the elements of modern video games and applying them to employee training and development. Some of the most popular gamification techniques used for employee training include badges, leaderboards, levels or rewards and they are believed to increase engagement, improve knowledge retention and to make workplace learning more fun.

We have asked professionals from various industries and organisations to share their opinions and knowledge about using gamification for employee training. We have received some interesting insights on the topic. See their responses below.

Myles Nye, Wise Guys Events

shutterstock_174738809 “Framing training exercises as a game offers multiple advantages. Games are a low-stakes environment where failing is all right: in fact, failing is fun is one of the defining characteristics of games. Another hallmark of games is they should comprise a series of interesting choices: by exploring, making choices together with their work peers and colleagues, teams can identify where their strengths lie. In practice, games are a metaphor or microcosm for any project a team might work on together: players may have to fit into roles they aren’t normally comfortable in, take advantage of limited knowledge or resources, or work within constrained time parameters. The same things that make a team work together in a professional context will be showcased when playing a game, if the game is selected intelligently.

The other advantage to playing games in a training context is that the brain forms connections in a more durable and long-lasting way when it is engaged in a stimulating environment then when educational material is simply presented in a standard pedagogical format. If the game incorporates elements of humor or fear, for instance, those vivid emotional responses impact how the neural connections fire together, which ultimately foments a more powerful response from the participants”. 

Nathan Barber,  Atkar, Building supplies company

“Gamification works because people in nature are never satisfied. Having gamification for employee training acts as a shutterstock_190029518 motivational tool for he or she to strive to complete the training without the burden of worrying and negative thoughts of potential failure.

It takes the pressures off feeling the need to learn everything because you are more focused on getting a high score. This type of natural striving to win the game puts the employee at ease in order to succeed. While incorporating gamification in employee training, the information is received and remembered easier because there is a more tangible goal in mind”.  

William Hall, Simulation Studios

shutterstock_159269012 “For effective employee engagement, gamification/simulation brings diverse ideas together and allows management teams to think about the unthinkable and to answer the what-ifs. It is action learning and action training. Unlike traditional planning, simulations confront discontinuities because they explicitly allow companies to play what-if scenarios for all those difficult-to-model, but critical variables that all contribute to success. Real people think about real problems, incorporating the learning and training as it happens and as they experience it during the simulation. One move can affect every other move and foster the kind of out-of-the-box thinking not typically achieved by going behind closed doors, developing a business plan and then just going for it. Simulation is forward thinking because it plays out the company into the future and interchanges any scenario to see immediate results.

For example, Millennials are the first generation to grow up in a connected world, and this means their attitudes and expectations have been fashioned by the Internet. People now entering the workforce for the first time have never known a world without cell phones, or even an Internet connection. PCs were common place in their households. They despise stale, non-interactive training methods; they want training that is hands-on and keeps them engaged. Furthermore, they expect training to be ongoing: according to Pew Research, 89% of Millennials agree with the statement “It’s important to be constantly learning at my job.”

So, how can companies keep Millennials engaged? One solution is “gamification,” or adding a game-like environment to non-game tasks. It’s important to recognize that 64% of Millennials own a gaming console, and many others play games on their phones, tablets or laptops.

But it’s not going to be enough to simply cater to the new generation of workers. Today’s business standards focus on effectiveness, and trainers need to be aware that they must demonstrate the impact their training has on the business. CEOs want trainings to teach business acumen, business strategy, and effective leadership to their new workers, not just provide a license to have fun”. 

Kundan Joshi, TheAppLabb

“Advantages to gamification? It adds an element of fun to employee training – everyone likes a little competition. More importantly, shutterstock_249405712 it shows that employers are truly invested in creating effective learning opportunities for their employees, by seeking out new training techniques they’ll respond to. Employees get instant gratification from seeing their results and being rewarded for their product knowledge, encouraging them to keep learning.

Disadvantages? You can have too much of a good thing – overcompetitive employees could create issues, and some might just memorize the minimum detail needed to succeed at the game without really retaining product knowledge.

Overall, gamification in business is a positive thing – it’s up to employers to judge how to make use of it”.

We would like to thank everyone for their responses!

Webanywhere work with some of the biggest and best companies in the UK and worldwide to deliver elearning platforms. Contact us to find out how we can help transform your workplace training with gamification.