Games aren’t just for fun – the techniques they use to keep us playing could make a major positive difference to your employees’ engagement with learning. Here’s how gamification could support your digital learning strategy
Games are popular because they are fun, spark competition, and reward our successes – just look at the surging popularity of daily word game Wordle. But workplace training and learning activities often aren’t quite as popular, and can be seen as a chore. Gamifying your learning content – or ‘gamification’ could be the secret to engaging employees with activities, and encouraging them to learn new skills and ideas, more quickly.
Read on to discover the theory behind gamification, and the benefits of using gamified learning techniques for both employees and employers.
What is gamification in eLearning?
Gamification, in the context of eLearning, is when you use game mechanics in non-gaming environments. Tools such as rewards, levels, leaderboards, missions and progress bars are examples of game mechanics that can encourage people to behave in certain ways and can have a positive effect on them.
Gamification is a fun way of learning and among one of the most effective ways of teaching new skills and improving particular behaviours. It’s also known to increase both workplace engagement and employee productivity. A learner can acquire new skills in a safe environment, at their own pace.
Not only that, but gamification can also help someone engage with certain motivations. Achieving rewards and getting to the top of the leaderboard are extrinsic motivators (you get an external reward), while knowing we’ve mastered a skill and getting that sense of satisfaction when completing a task is an intrinsic motivator (you feel an internal reward).
Benefits of gamification
There are many benefits of using gamification in your eLearning platform or learning management system (LMS) – for both employees and employers. We’ll outline some of those here – such as why someone may be more motivated to learn and how they develop skills. We’ll also find out how this approach will help an organisation by improving engagement, recognition, and skills.
Gamification benefits for employees
Applying gamified techniques to your learning activities brings multiple benefits to help employees learn more effectively.
- It makes learning visible: gamification solves the problem of a lack of clarity in a learning journey by making progress visible, using items such as progress bars, an overview of learning content, points earned or being able to set goals (eg completing a set number of activities daily). Employees can check what they’ve done and what they’ve got left to do
- Helps cognitive development: a 2013 study by Blumberg & Fisch stated games can improve a learner’s processing and information retaining abilities if they encourage problem solving and critical thinking. With virtual learning, this can include the cognitive benefits of video games – such as faster, more accurate attention allocation
- Increases motivation: according to one 2006 study, there are three elements that make video game players want to try again: achievement (showing mastery), immersion (discover and creating experiences) and social factors (team building). These can motivate students when learning, leading to pushing for progress
- Feedback is instant: students can adopt the required measures to boost performance if they know how they’re doing compared with their learning goals. Having a feedback system can build momentum in learning, because we like knowing how well we’re doing in a task
- Use real-world applications: by learning while working, a student can apply their skills to scenarios – an effective way of cementing what they’ve learnt. Gamification allows a student to experience the rewards or consequences of their choices in a game
- It’s fun: gamifying learning can help content be entertaining and educational. Rewards can be motivating and, because of the interactivity, makes learning both exciting and informative
Benefits of gamification in the workplace — for employers
Gamification can also boost your business, as well as benefiting learners. These are just some ways that gamification can help to boost organisational performance.
- Increased employee engagement: using gamification principles will encourage employees to prioritise productivity and collaboration. It’s been reported engaged employees are about 87% less likely to leave your business, try 57% harder and perform 20% better – which will lead to a well-organised, profitable organisation
- Develop certain skills: gamification can help your business to focus on developing or improving specific skills – which could be negotiation, communication, leadership or stress management, for example
- Employee recognition: people like to be recognised for their efforts and completed tasks. This can be difficult to layer on to traditional corporate training, but it’s an inherent part of gamified learning
But what do people who have used gamification for employee training think? Our head of talent Bradley Burgoyne has first-hand experience of how gamification of training in our systems can work for employers – especially with those courses employees need to take regularly.
“Gamifying keeps the audience engaged,” he said. “It gives us the mechanism to make the content engaging and fun, which boosts momentum. Gamified elements don’t engage every learner, but the majority appreciate that element of healthy competition.”
Burgoyne added: “Gamification can make a topic that could be perceived ‘dry’ into a fun and engaging activity. As a result, people are more likely to complete the training, and have a more enjoyable experience. Those who put more into it also got more reward and recognition – both in terms of points and badges, and in terms of longer-term career development.”
Eager to explore gamification in learning?
If gamification of your workplace training seems like it would be a good fit for your employees and your business, Digits may have the solution that’s right for you. Request a demonstration to experience how gamifying your training will boost your business, or download our brochure to learn more.