The challenges in corporate training are rapidly increasing in number. Traditional training programs, whether they are classroom-based or e-learning, are simply not cutting it in the modern corporate training programs.
One in three workers said their employer’s training is out-of-date.
As millennials and Gen Y employees enter the workspace, it is safe to say that the employees are becoming increasingly apathetic and have diverse learning styles.
While this increased the opportunity for individuals to learn new ways of thinking and to develop inter-cultural skills, it has made engagement in training programs challenging.
Sadly, at many organizations, the learning goals have reduced to: “get as many employees as possible to meet professionally acceptable levels of performance” with a set of resources.
But gamification has provided some hope for the corporate sector. Several studies and surveys have proven the effectiveness of gamification in increasing motivation and productivity in training programs.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at other benefits of gamification in corporate training and how you can use this divergent technology to improve learning experiences at your organization.
1. Gamification Motivates Through Fun, Not Fear
The fear of failure and the ridicule that accompanies it prevents many employees from speaking out and asking questions in traditional training programs. This also prevents them from engaging with the training material.
In games and gamification, failure is never the reason to stop playing and participating; it is actually the reason to keep playing. Gamification engages employees in training by allowing them to fail, learn from their mistakes, and confront the challenges in better ways.
When training is made fun with the help of gamification, the ability of the employees to learn new skills increases by 40%.
2. Gamification Encourages Creative Thinking
By motivating through fun instead of fear, gamification helps foster creativity and creative thinking.
During a study at a national IT company, compared to its pre-gamification levels, the number of ideas proposed through the gamified system increased fourfold.
Two of the most important criteria for creative thinking are a big enough knowledge-base to come up with varying ideas and a criticism-free environment to try the various ideas.
By helping employees engage better with the training at hand, gamification motivates them to learn more and retain the knowledge. It also provides various scenarios in which they can implement their ideas and learn from their failures.
3. Gamification Provides Training in Real-World Context
With the help of gamification, you can recreate the real working environment in the training program. This allows employees to learn without any real damages, even though they can still make mistakes and learn from them.
Employees can re-enact a set of realistic scenarios several times, make different decisions, and explore the results of their decisions. All this can be done without comprising the customer service.
Domino’s training program is a successful example of this. They used a gamified course to train employees on how to prepare several food items while avoiding food wastage.
The staff doesn’t have to remember a monotonous, boring lesson that shows how to make a pizza. Instead, they remember what they have to do to score points and unlock badges. The progress bar moving after completing stages also delights them as they feel that they’re making real progress and getting more and more competent.
4. Friendly Competition in Gamification Leads to Better Learning Experiences
Competition is a useful intrinsic motivator. Using competition as a tool in the workplace to increase employee performance and productivity is nothing new. While competition exists in traditional training programs as well, gamification makes the competition even more interesting for the participants.
Instant feedback on individual performance with the help of leaderboards and rewarding the top performers activates the reward center in our brain. This motivates the employees to keep engaging with the gamified training in order to experience the satisfying stimulation more and more.
More than 60% of learners agree that leaderboards and friendly competition would motivate them.
5. Feedback Loop in Gamification Promotes Competence
All humans have an innate need to feel competent when they’re handling a task or assignment. This competence usually refers to feelings of efficiency or skill mastery and success. Competence is the feeling that one has developed a skill and successfully utilized it.
Traditional learning programs have no clear way of providing employees this feeling of competence. In gamification, competence can be showcased with the help of points, levels, leaderboards, or badges, all of which allow the user to track how well they’re doing and gain a better sense of their accomplishments.
74% of employees said that a point system would increase their engagement with an e-learning application.
This helps in boosting intrinsic motivation in employees as they feel satisfied with their progress and can easily set new goals for improvement.
Motivational spectrum ranging from amotivation to intrinsic motivation
6. Gamification Also Provides Correctional Performance Feedback
The effectiveness of performance feedback in organizational settings is well-known.
According to research, when feedback simply indicates that the response is correct or incorrect, it results in a lower effect than when the feedback in some way informs the learner of the correct answer.
Feedback in gamification accurately assesses the knowledge of the employee and efficiently provides advice for further study. This type of feedback can have a significant impact on learning performance as it allows for providing every employee with immediate, individualized and elaborate feedback regarding their performance.
Instead of just telling them if they’re right/wrong or how many times they’ve been right/wrong, gamification feedback gives them a learning path which helps them improve over time.
7. Gamification can Boost Employee Morale
In gamification, the training material is divided into small, digestible chunks. The level of difficulty increases as the employees progress through the training.
The smaller, simpler, early levels allow employees to breeze through as they slowly get comfortable with the interface, story, and other game mechanics and the training at hand.
This boosts their confidence as they gain momentum. This motivates them to continue through the training, collect more points for themselves, and win badges.
The boost in confidence doesn’t disappear when a challenging problem is encountered either. The challenge is considered a more rewarding experience and employees give their best.
Psychological needs matching with game-design elements
8. Gamification Enhances Employee Autonomy and Curiosity
Traditional e-learning is usually composed of modules that are linear in nature. Not only is the progress set from start to finish but the problem-solving is also rigid.
Autonomy here means that the employees are free to explore the training material as they want. Studies have shown that if:
- there is a room for choice,
- rewards are used as informational feedback rather than to control behavior, and
- non-controlling instructions are used
employee autonomy and, in turn, intrinsic motivation are enhanced.
Gamification promotes this decision freedom and curiosity with the help of avatars and characters. Avatars and characters influence the gameplay and can change how the employee interacts with the training material.
Avatars and characters don’t refer to just aesthetics, which is superficial. They refer to the different features, advantages, and qualities that your virtual identity has. These allow the employees to complete the training according to their preference, improving the perception of autonomy and learning outcomes.
9. Gamification Improves Employee Willingness to Participate in Training
Traditional training programs are usually something employees “have to” do. Most of the time employees reluctantly participate in training and voluntary participation rates are abysmal.
When activities are done for interest or personal value, perceived willingness to participate is high. If the task is considered meaningful and worthy of attention, employees are more motivated to engage with it.
Such intrinsic motivation (45%) helps employees participate better in training programs than any other external incentive (37%).
The gamification mechanics responsible for this are narratives, meaningful stories, dialogues, and themes. Stories can help players experience their own actions as meaningful and volitionally engaging, regardless of whether or not choices are really available.
10. Gamification Increases Training Completion Rate
In traditional instructional methods, the employees earn their grades or scores based on their performance as they demonstrate achievement. But in gamification, the effort is rewarded, with badges or points even when the objective is not completed.
This is because the aim is to motivate the employees to exert effort in tackling different learning challenges. But this indirectly leads to better completion rates than training methodologies that are focused on getting employees to complete the training at hand.
In a 2013 study, gamification increased task completion rates from 73% to 97%.
11. Gamification of Training Helps with Knowledge Retention
The aim of all training programs is a sustained increase in knowledge. The substantive content should be fully understood and retained by the employees for as long as possible after the training event is complete.
According to the forgetting curve in learning and training, 58% knowledge is retained 20 minutes after training ends and 25% is retained after 2 weeks are over.
Hermann Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
Studies with gamification suggest that gamification can trigger emotions which in turn exert positive effects on knowledge retention. Increased engagement due gamification leads to better knowledge retention as compared to non-gamified training, at least in the short-term.
12. Gamification Makes it Easy to Adopt New Processes and Technology
As we discussed earlier, gamification helps employees fulfill certain psychological needs. This completely transforms the training. Instead of motivating employees to achieve the organization’s goals, gamification motivates them to set and achieve their own, personal goals inside the training framework.
Gamification allows the gradual rollout of training material, which isn’t possible in traditional training programs. The gamification program can also be divided into levels of increasing difficulty or training time or both.
This allows employees to set their own pace, explore the training material, and interact with it without being explicitly told what to do. This increase in self-motivation leads to higher adoption rates when it comes to new processes and technology.
13. Gamification Satisfies our Need for Social Relatedness
It’s difficult to achieve this in a traditional instructional setting but gamification makes it very easy.
In gamification, a meaningful story can create a sense of social relatedness if it offers a narrative frame in which the employee is given a meaningful role. Together with teammates, employees can get a sense of relevance if the importance of their actions for the team’s performance is emphasized.
A meaningful story can also convey the sense of a shared goal, which can, in turn, foster experiences of social relatedness.
14. Gamification Increases Collaboration and Team Spirit
In corporate training, essential collaboration activities include:
- members sharing information and knowledge with each other,
- coordinating dependent activities,
- communicating in a timely fashion, and
- building trust
By designing a corporate gamification training program that requires employees to work in teams and achieve a goal together, you can increase collaboration and knowledge sharing. This will foster trust in the team and improve their communication.
The effect of this training will carry on to the daily lives of the employees where they will retain the increase in trust and better communication with each other.
15. Gamification Improves the Emotional Resilience of Employees
When employees are happy and feel good, the productivity will increase and they will take fewer leaves or sick days.
But, as you can imagine, doing this in a traditional training scenario is next to impossible. How do you even start to make employees feel happy about themselves?
It turns out that gamified training program can help employers achieve company-wide health goals by building psychological resilience. In gamification, you can break goals into smaller achievable tasks and wrap these into layers of narrative and social support.
As you can see, gamification can be a real boon when it comes to training and development of employees. Several learning challenges can be overcome by the long list of game mechanics that gamification comes with.
Are you using gamification at your organization? What kind of benefits have you seen with it?