Gamification: What Is It and How Can You Use It to Engage Employees
Knowledge retention and skill development are typically goals when organizations design training programs. Keeping employees engaged through the coursework is essential to achieving those objectives. Without engagement, it’s easy for learners to functionally tune out, reducing how much information they’ll recall later. Fortunately, it’s possible to boost employment by harnessing the power of gamification. Here’s a look at gamification, how it increases engagement, and what organizations can do to implement gamification in their training.

What Gamification Is

Gamification is a concept that involves introducing play aspects or game-like features into a training program or other environment that’s not typically viewed as a game. A variety of elements can be used to apply game-design principles to training. Some classic examples at the platform level are employee-created custom avatars, points accrual, leader boards, and goal achievement badges. Other types of gamification can also make their way into the training experience. Quizzes, interactive scenarios, flashcard games, narrative-style lessons, and similar elements qualify as gamification.

How Gamification Enhances Engagement

Gamification enhances learner engagement in several ways. One of the clearest is that it can add fun to an otherwise tedious activity. For participants that commonly play entertainment-oriented games, it can also provide a sense of familiarity, potentially leading to a connection between their enjoyment of playing other games and their training program. In most cases, gamification also incorporates reward or achievement mechanisms. Learners receive something for performing well. Whether it’s a point that moves them up a leaderboard or badges celebrating a job well done, they receive immediate positive feedback and can easily see their progress. At times, gamification features also bring about a sense of competitiveness. This is most apparent with features like leaderboards, which may encourage some learners to push harder to improve their position.

How to Use Gamification

Generally, gamification involves adding game-like elements to the training program. As a result, you don’t necessarily need to revamp your entire learning and development (L&D) strategy to incorporate gamification. However, you may need to update or change eLearning platforms to accommodate the features. In many cases, it’s best to start with classic forms of gamification. Employee-created avatars allow for personalization, which can strengthen their connection to the program. Achievement badges are simple rewards that monitor progress, making them a wise initial addition. After that, focus on interactive elements like virtual scenarios, quizzes with a game show-like feel, and similar features. Those add fun and enhance engagement while reinforcing learning objectives. Points-based leaderboards are an option but are more divisive or controversial than some alternatives. Some may find trying to rise the ranks motivating, but others may get discouraged and disengage if they fall too far down the list and don’t believe they can climb back up. As a result, it’s best to gauge learner sentiment before instituting the feature or making participation in the leaderboard optional. At Clarity, we have over 30 years of experience in L&D, giving us the knowledge and expertise to assist organizations that want to incorporate gamification into their training programs to boost employee engagement. If you’re trying to expand your internal L&D team, Clarity can be your candidate search ally, connecting you with top talent when needed. Contact us today.

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