How to engage remote learners using gamification with a cloud-based LMS
Remote learning is the future, but engaging learners can be difficult. How can we use the psychology of learning and gamification, with a cloud-based LMS, to create an intuitive and appealing learning environment?
Businesses and workers around the world were thrown into chaos in 2020, with offices closed and employees forced into a remote working environment. While this was initially viewed to be a short-term solution to a (hopefully) short-lived pandemic, almost a year down the line it has become obvious that an imminent full-time return to the physical workplace is unlikely, and the coronavirus pandemic has forever shaped the ways in which we, and future generations, work and learn.
Remote working comes with challenges, one of which is training and learning. How do you motivate employees to undertake mandatory training? Tried-and-tested learning approaches, such as PowerPoint presentations and handbooks, may have a place in blended learning, but there are new, vibrant ways of delivering training to learners, tapping into psychology to create intuitive and appealing learning journeys.
The psychology of reward
First, a little psychology. The reward centre in our brains is one of the most important systems, driving behaviours towards pleasurable stimuli – which includes activities for which we are positively rewarded, such as playing games – and away from activities that take too much time or effort, including long, uninspiring training courses. Rewards essentially reinforce that we are doing a good thing, lighting up our brain’s reward centre, resulting in a need to repeat the behaviour for which we received the positive stimulus.
Additionally, we need to remember that human beings possess one of four main identified learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinaesthetic, and each learner should feel motivated and encouraged, an important factor to consider when planning how to deliver training packages. It sounds like an impossible mission, but there is a way to remotely deliver effective training that is appealing to all your employees, regardless of their learning style.
The benefits of gaming
When we play games and receive rewards (such as levelling up, new skins, and points), our reward system is stimulated, and we develop a need to repeat the behaviour that resulted in this pleasure. For this reason, many of us are spending increasing numbers of hours gaming, a figure which is increasing year-on-year. In fact, a 2019 report The State of Online Gaming surveyed worldwide consumers aged 18 and over, concluding that the time spent had risen by a staggering 20% in just one year, increasing to 25% in consumers aged 26-45.
This exponential growth in gaming popularity offers businesses an opportunity to engage employees in a new way; by tapping into the reward and pleasure centre of learners’ brains they can motivate teams like never before.
Gamification can be implemented into a business’s existing cloud-based learning management system (LMS). By configuring the cloud-based LMS, such as Digits glo learn, to deliver intuitive and personalised training, offering feedback and making learning fun, a system is created that grows with your business and its employees.
Five gamified ways of engaging remote learners with a cloud-based LMS
Gamification in training applies gaming designs and concepts to learning, creating a rewarding, engaging and interactive environment. But gamifying your online learning system isn’t as simple as a few pop-up rewards at random intervals. The remote learning system needs to be intuitive; understanding how your workforce responds and interacts, feeding back information regarding retention, tracking learning and development, while recognising the four learning styles. The key is to seamlessly implement all these crucial points into a package that is not only going to deliver results for a business, but also be attractive to remote learners.
1. Access from anywhere
With a cloud-based LMS, employees can access their learning journeys from anywhere, and on any device, helping to make learning intuitive and becoming a part of their daily lives. Offer rewards and implement deadlines, to further incentivise them. Deadline reminders can be automated via email or notifications, giving learners a nudge, should they need it.
2. Opportunities to win
Incentivising the completion of challenges with the addition of a leader-board fosters healthy competition amongst employees. If there are many employees, it may be valuable to make the target more achievable by offering level completion, such as bronze, silver and gold, rather than a daunting leader-board incentive.
3. Positive association
Rewarding positive behaviours is the foundation of gamification; sustaining engagement by motivating the learner’s next step turns behaviours into habits by associating them with positive outcomes. Your employees will be able to see a clear path to success, feeling recognised, driven and goal orientated.
4. Appealing to all learning personalities
Remote learning via gamification will need to address the four VARK learning styles. Gamification naturally addresses the need for visual elements, and by adding sounds and narrative you can also appeal to learners who respond well to an aural learning style. Written materials, such as document downloads and transcripts, are engaging to read/write learner styles, and the very nature of remote learning is appealing to people who require a kinaesthetic mode of learning; your mobile-optimised LMS will allow them to physically move around while learning.
5. Real-time feedback
Employees are generally accustomed to annual work reviews, only learning how to better themselves once a year. By offering real-time in-game feedback to learners, you are providing constant performance reviews, giving them the opportunity to learn and train quickly and more productively.
Training and learning are crucial experiences in all workplaces and shouldn’t be an after-thought — training should be the backbone of your organisation — supporting employees from their very first day to developing their skillset with self-learning or defined learning objectives. By gamifying your training you can easily provide your employees and colleagues with the confidence to learn, ultimately increasing your business’s bottom line.
In-person training may become part of a blended learning journey post-coronavirus, but we have moved on; there is no benefit to exclusively returning to an old and tired learning model when we are now able to offer a highly motivating and intuitive way of engaging our learners with gamified learning through a cloud-based LMS.