Top eLearning trends: using gamification in the workplace

Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

One of the biggest eLearning trends of the moment is gamification – the application of gaming design, psychology, principles and mechanics to learning content. That’s because gamification is a great way to engage and motivate learners, encouraging them to hit learning goals faster.

Even if you think you haven’t heard of gamification before, you’re probably already aware of education tools that use learning points, badges and leaderboard systems as a part of their content. In doing this, learners can be rewarded for executing tasks, reaching targets and retaining knowledge – making the learning experience that much richer and more effective.

To help you understand more about this learning trend, we’ll look at some of the exciting ways in which gamification is being used in the workplace.

Incorporating Gamification into Staff Training

You can use gamification to encourage employees to do one of three things: learn something, take an action, or achieve a goal.

In this way, it can be used very successfully for a range of employee training needs, including induction processes, onboarding, compliance, professional development and behavioural change. And when used as a component of staff training, games can also help employees to stay motivated, retain knowledge, learn new skills and improve existing skills.

Jeanne Meister, writing for Forbes, explains gamification as “taking the essence of games – attributes such as fun, play, transparency, design, competition and yes, addiction – and applying these to a range of real-world processes.” And these real-world processes include learning and development.

Think about how you can use game play to educate staff on employee procedures, HR policies, and other work-related knowledge. One company, for example, designed a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” type of game, to help improve their sales reps’ product knowledge and motivation.

You can also incorporate elements of game play into online training courses, to allow staff to practice situations and challenges in an online environment, helping them to hone their new skills before putting them to use in the workplace.

Using Gamification to Boost Employee Performance

As we said, gamification can be used very effectively for professional development.

That’s because gamification works through “exploiting the natural human love of competition, trivia challenges, status building, sense of pride, and desire for rewards.”

For staff who are motivated by (hopefully friendly!) competition in the workplace, using things like badges, rankings and leaderboards can help spur them to higher performance levels.

It’s like “providing bonuses to employees,” says Aaron Orrendorf in Entrepreneur. “But instead of more money, in most cases, it is the concept of esteem and pride. The more badges, recognition, and challenges an employee achieves, the better their output will be in their work efforts.

Gamification for Virtual Teams and Remote Workers

Gamification could also have huge impacts on everyday work life for remote teams. With the rise of virtual reality, multi-user environments, and real-time gameplay, remote workers would be able to feel far more connected and collaborative.

As Katy Tynan, in the Harvard Business Review, says, “while most bosses would frown on playing Halo at the office, it’s video games that are driving much of the innovation in video, virtual reality, and collaboration technologies today.” And this emphasis on collaboration could have a large impact on how we work.

Tynan paints the scene of a 3D meeting simulation, complete with “chairs, a table, a whiteboard, and coffee” and avatars of each team member.

“Imagine joining a meeting that exists in virtual space … As your colleagues join, you see their avatars enter the room and sit around the table. The meeting is an immersive simulation of an in-person meeting, created with the help of motion sensors that track physical movement or gloves equipped to capture hand movements and body language. Audio is a live feed from each participant.”

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