What Is Gamification?: 10 Reasons to Level-Up Your Training Program

gamification
gamification

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and dynamics to non-game activities in order to increase participant engagement and motivation. These game elements come in many forms:

  • Storylines: Creating a narrative arc with characters, conflict, and resolution helps immerse the player in the activity.
  • Personalization: Allowing players to select, name, and customize avatars creates a more engaging experience.
  • Levels and Progress Bars: When players can track their progress, it motivates their continued effort. Completing a level creates a sense of accomplishment as well as a benchmark for the learned materials.
  • Awards: Awards like badges and points give players tangible recognition of their learning achievements. Awards also signify increased social status, which players naturally crave. 
  • Timers: Timed modules increase player urgency and attention towards the activity.
  • Leaderboards: Ranking players on a leaderboard sparks friendly competition and offers social status in exchange for good performance.

Using game elements appeals to our natural desires for competition, achievement, and collaboration. It works because it’s human nature. When applied to a business context, gamification can help employees meet training goals by increasing their motivation to learn. Considering how over 75% of people are gamers, gamification techniques are ripe with opportunities for companies to connect with and motivate their employees.

What Are the Benefits of Training Gamification?

Despite what the name suggests, gamification isn’t all fun and games. Rather, it’s an opportunity to drive learner performance and motivation. Think of gamification as the collision point between engagement and productivity for your employees and your company.

Benefits of Gamification to Learners

  1. Increases Motivation
    In a recent survey, 83% of employees who receive gamified training report feeling motivated to learn. By comparison, 61% of employees who received un-gamified training report feeling bored and unproductive. In short, gamification creates more engaging experiences for learners that motivates them to actively participate in their training.

  1. Escalates Worker Happiness
    As impossible as it sounds, training can boost your mood! In fact, almost 9/10 employees report that gamified software makes them feel happier at work. This suggests eLearning gamification is powerful enough to positively affect employee psychology.

  1. Improves Information Retention
    If employees can’t remember your training and apply it to real-life situations, then your training isn’t doing its job. One of training gamification’s biggest strengths is that it combines the fun of gaming with real on-the-job situations. Employees will be able to recall information more quickly because the gamified training is better able to hold their attention and motivate them to participate.

  1. Accelerates Learning
    Not only does gamification increase information retention, but also the speed at which employees learn. Employees can spend less time and energy on their training, and more time actually applying the training to their jobs. 

  1. Provides Real-Time Feedback
    As business magnate Henry Ford once said, “the only real mistake is one from which we learn nothing.” Training mistakes provide an opportunity for employees to learn in a low-stakes environment. Gamified training takes this to the next level, offering real-time feedback so employees can learn from their mistakes while they are still fresh. Repeated mistakes despite instant feedback may indicate a knowledge or skills gap that needs to be filled with further training.

Benefits of Gamification to Companies

  1. Increases Employee Productivity
    Just as gamification benefits employees with increased motivation and happiness, it also benefits companies with increased employee productivity. After all, happy employees are shown to be more productive than unhappy ones. You can increase productivity up to 13% by prioritizing happiness in the workplace.

  1. Expands Utilization and Adoption of Business Processes and Tools
    When you can’t jump straight into hands-on experience, gamification is the next best thing. With custom gamification solutions, employees can practice using the business processes and tools they need digitally before getting out there in the real world. If you work in an industry where mistakes can be dangerous and costly, using gamified training in a controlled setting is a safe alternative.

  1. Appeals to Workers of All Ages and Backgrounds
    No matter who you hire, your employees share a common bond: human nature. Whether young or old, man or woman, gamer or non-gamer, we’re all naturally drawn towards competition and achievement-oriented tasks. Gamification can be a useful strategy that appeals to even the most diverse workforces.

  1. Tracks Learning Performance with Reporting and Analytics
    The bigger your workforce, the harder it is to measure and assess each employee’s training progress and performance. By incorporating gamification elements (point systems, levels, progress bars), you have a built-in system to measure performance. If an employee flies through every level with a perfect score, it’s likely they’ve mastered the material. In contrast, if an employee has a low point score or is stuck on a level and can’t progress, this may indicate an area where additional training is needed. 

  1. Makes Companies More Desirable to Employees
    You may think of gamified training as something that happens after an employee is hired, not before. However, gamification in the recruitment process is quickly gaining momentum. This process known as “recrutainment” helps companies stand apart from the rest and attract the best talent. In fact, 78% of employees say that gamification in the hiring process increases their desire to work for that company. So not only is gamification storming the onboarding process, but the recruitment process as well.

Gamification’s Return on Investment (ROI)

Gamification is here to stay. In fact, we’re in the midst of a gamification boom. Experts forecast that the gamification market will grow from $9.1 billion in 2020 to $30.7 billion by 2025—a 24.7% increase. As such, many companies are jumping at the opportunity to boost their employee training while investing in an innovative emerging technology. 

So is gamification actually worth it? Ultimately, gamification has proven itself to be a powerful learning tool. While some companies might break into a sweat imagining the cost of gamifying their training, gamification doesn’t need to be the next Skyrim or Assassin’s Creed. In fact, you’re probably being gamified every day and don’t even notice it. Earning cash back rewards on your credit card or a green light on your password strength meter are all types of gamification techniques. Making low-level changes can be an affordable way to gamify without completely re-doing your current training program. 

Level-Up Your Training Program

If you’re considering investing in gamification, don’t be intimidated! Gamifying your training doesn’t have to be overly complicated or costly. Ask yourself a few questions about your employees, business goals, and budget to see if gamification is the right fit for your company. 

If you do decide to take the plunge and invest in gamification, make sure you have a plan in place. The last thing you want is to invest your money in gamification training that’s not aligned with your employees, values, or business strategy. Do a little digging to find out what resources you have available and how you want your training to be played. Mapping out a timeline of how often and how long employees will engage with your training will provide the essential foundation for developing your training. For more detailed tips on how to gamify your training, contact us or check out this blog post on getting started with gamification.

By Chloe Nelson
| April 7, 2022
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