Industry buzzwords come and go. Whether it’s ‘BYOD’ or ‘70:20:10’ there’s always a new trend that comes along claiming to revolutionise the world of business. The proponents of the new technique often get a bit excited and over-promise on its potential. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon for a couple of years before disappointment and disillusionment set in after the technique fails to attain the lofty goals preached by its proponents. Does this sound familiar?
A recent buzzword is ‘gamification’. Is this another approach to learning that carries the burden of un-fulfillable potential? Yes it is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a valuable tool to be added to the training toolbox. Let’s find out more about this concept.
Gamification is not …
It is impossible to turn your Golf GTI into a Ferrari by dropping the suspension, adding expensive alloy wheels and painting it red. Countless boy racers around the country have tried to do this and failed. At the end of the day, even if you wear a Ferrari jacket and speak fluent Italian, it’s still a Golf GTI.
If you want a luxury Italian super car then you have to actually get one. In the same way, you cannot get excellent online training by simply adding gamification to it. Gamification can make great online training even better, but it cannot transform a poor course into an excellent one.
Gamification is the implementation of gaming elements into online training. So things like levels, points, achievement badges and the addition of narrative are all good examples of this. So instead of having a simple quiz about your company’s brands you turn it into an adventure where the user has to accomplish a mission by correctly answering questions on various levels in order to overcome various obstacles to defeat the bad guy.
Why is gamification a good thing
There are many benefits to gamification:
Increase user engagement
The competitive edge, fun and the use of compelling narrative combine to make your training more engaging and interesting to the trainee
This is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Studies have shown that video games can stimulate this compound’s release and therefore make you want to keep playing and playing the game. This means that, if you effectively gamify online training, there is a similar- although slightly diluted – effect (read more here).
This is a hormone that can be released when you achieve a reward or move up a level in a game. Endorphins make you feel like you’re achieving something and create a sense of excitement (read more about endorphins here). Exciting e-learning? Yes please!
In games you experience the consequences of your decisions. Whether it’s losing a life, gaining an upgraded piece of equipment or losing a football match, the consequences of your good or bad decision are laid bare. Creating a safe digital environment in which trainees can learn from their mistakes is very effective.
In a game you can create your own profile, choose your name and make an avatar. These are simple elements that can be included in online training to increase engagement from the trainee.
Having considered all of this information about gamification, can we say that it is the panacea that will cure all online training ills? No, not at all. But it is an exciting tool that, when used in conjunction with best practice and solid methodology, can increase engagement and make your online training even more effective.