Level Up: Use gamification to amp up your training

If you’re looking for creative ways to boost the success of your learning strategy, have you considered gamification? Who doesn’t love the opportunity to play to win – it’s a learner-centric approach that can both drive behavioral change and make the process much more memorable, if done right.

Instructional gaming can be a real draw, but it is a technique that can quickly become misunderstood or muddled if not approached carefully. Consider all of your options before making the jump.

Elements – Light competition, risk and reward, amassing ‘treasure’, unlocking ‘secret’ features, and working to beat a timer can all be great tools for motivating learners to actively participate in their learning experience. Consider, for example, that a timed component can be a great gaming strategy when timing is also a part of the learner’s job skills. Need to identify all of the elements in a task in 60 seconds or less? Aiming to triage customer support call issues in a set timeframe? Gamification is a great way to reinforce those skills! Likewise, a learner is much more likely to carefully consider all of the options and outcomes in a scenario if they know there is a risk/reward to choosing wisely.

Motivation – Learners who participate in gamified courses are often left so motivated and engaged that they’ll repeat elements of the training to improve their ‘score’ or nail the right answer before progressing. Many learners will give extra effort to unlock extras or beat their best score. And, spaced repetition is a motivating learning technique that can be easily incorporated into gaming elements to give your learners an excellent chance of transferring knowledge and skills to long-term memory.

Audience – Millennials who have grown up immersed in a gaming culture are quick to embrace gamified elements in e-learning. Workers in older generations may also enjoy gamification, but may not be as quick to adapt to these elements. Get to know your unique audience and their preferences. Try a pilot course or focus group to see how well the new training is received before rolling out a fully gamified strategy. You can work out the kinks and find the right balance for your audience.

Strategy – If this is your first foray into instructional gaming, don’t be afraid test the water. Before diving in on a fully gamified course, consider adding gaming elements to portions of a course instead. Gamify an assessment instead of a ho-hum multiple choice test. Add some life to a dull module by turning the content into a challenge. Incorporate a ‘bonus round’ to unlock access to an extra job aid or feature. If the training is well received, you’ll have a creative new technique to incorporate as you roll out additional learning opportunities.

What is your favorite way to incorporate gaming into e-learning? Connect with us on Twitter: @oe_learning.

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