Gamification of/in Learning and e-learning.
Gamification in learning and the benefits of gamification in learning and e-learning was, I think, a bit of a flash in the pan; a buzzword of the past couple of years.
A recognised definition of gamification in learning, e-learning or in general would be: The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
The basic premise mooted by some in the L&D profession is that by ‘gamifying’ the content or the training or e-learning process you can achieve a better result. In other words using gamification as a mechanic to ensure training sticks and/or knowledge fade is arrested.
The theory is a good one in so much as much of the training undertaken by large corporations is required learning, regulatory-based content with often dry and inevitably somewhat boring content. Sexing this up with some form of gamification looks on paper to be a good idea. There is some good academic evidence that gamification in learning works. But, we have first hand experience of gamification having owned and operated a specialist gamification business www.motiv8solutions.com for a couple of years.
Only the most committed employers can successfully deploy gamification (using games) because of the time and effort required to maintain the game architecture. At Motiv8 we provided clients with a platform that enabled the client to attach game rewards to certain inputs and outputs. It worked, but users quickly became bored of the game(s) and thus the employer had to be committed to a large administrative burden if they wanted to keep it fresh and motivating. If this effort wasn’t forthcoming gamifying didn’t work.
In some instances we have seen huge claims for gamifying business processes, but having ‘owned the company’ I wonder if what some employers are actually experiencing is the Hawthorne Effect. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect. This is a well-documented phenomena whereby change on a large scale, any change, drives a spike in performance improvement followed by a corresponding dip. I.e. I get a new game and my performance spikes then I get bored and resort to ‘norm’.
What prompted me to write this was that only today scientists have publicised that the millions of brain-training games out there – don’t work! That is to say they work well enough with some people to train them to be better at doing a particular type of puzzle but they do not it appears, do as they claim and increase your brainpower!
If you are looking for methods to make training stick or make required learning more interesting then you maybe onto a loser! Sorry to be blunt but even wearing lipstick, a pig is still a pig an irrespective of what you do gamification in learning wise your employees will almost certainly still regard the mandated required learning as boring.
This we regard as a fact of life and isn’t necessarily a barrier to ensuring employees learn this essential material. We would posset that its is the process you need to review rather than the attempting to sugar coat a broken process.
If you use a combination of spaced learning, repetition and self-testing your employees will learn irrespective of the degree of interest they have in the topic. If you want them to learn this faster you may well consider gamifying this optimized process.
At elephants don’t forget we have an Artificially Intelligent application called Clever Nelly that does exactly this and often takes less than 1 minutes of an employees time per day. We provide for gamification of the process but not based on score, based on effort. The more an employee works the process the quicker they will learn. Our gamification in learning technique uses small random allocation of cash fulfilled immediately and electronically by a 3rd party. We call it Golden Ticket.
If you want to have a chat about lessons we learned from our time owning and operating a gamification business and how perhaps you could achieve better training results, give us a call.