3 Ways to Leverage Gamification in Learning and Development

3 Ways to Leverage Gamification in Learning and Development (without hiring game developers)
Gamification has been a trending topic in L&D for years, but it continues to slip down the “trend” charts as new concepts and buzzwords arise to steal the mindshare of the industry. Additionally, it is challenging to find impactful (improving performance) examples of reasonable  (cost effective) gamification solutions that we can embrace as blueprints for success.
One of the reasons we’ve seen interest in gamification waning is that too many companies think of it as an all or nothing proposition. So they imagine finding vendors or hiring experts to build state of the art, customized games to simulate real world situations. While we at STCCG put a heavy importance on making training compelling and interesting, we’ve seen great results by infusing gaming elements into the learning of many of our engagements.
How powerful is gaming in terms of user engagement? In pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca found that gamified medicine training gets 97% of their large network of agents to participate, with a 99% completion rate. Compare that with voluntary participation in corporate learning programs typically ranging from 10-30% and you’ll see the ROI quickly. Galderma uses gamification to train their sales division on new products. This training is completely voluntary, but nearly 92% of targeted employees ended up playing. And those stats are very similar with reports from other industries/sectors.
Here are 3 ways to incorporate gamification into your L&D offerings without hiring a host of developers:

  1. Embrace Competition
  2. Deploy Testing
  3. Employ Collaboration and Teamwork

Embrace Competition
Competition is the main driver of using gamification in learning and training in the first place. Simply put, learners will become more engaged when they know they are competing with someone or for something (or both).
Many modern LMS systems allow points based on completion of activities, courses or curricula — learn how to utilize your existing tools and communicate the details of your ‘Contest/Competition’ via email channels within your company.
*Bonus tip – make the reward tangible. 1,000 points on a leaderboard or ninja status for peers to see can be a great incentive, but winning an actual prize helps your gamification of learning work even harder. We’ve worked with companies that have deployed gaming elements and leaderboards for simple activities to thousands of personnel with high participation rates . . . for the incentive of a $599 iPad giveaway.
Deploy Testing
The second way to leverage gamification is to build-in testing into your learning. As succinctly put by Karl Kapp, author and TEDx speaker, “Look for gamification that asks the learner to recall content and act on that recall”.
From a learner perspective, testing is validation that they have a level of mastery in a particular competency. This can lead to rewards, certifications and high-level status/recognition to peers within a platform.
From an organization perspective, the amount of data available through game-based assessments is significantly greater than that gathered by traditional assessments. Not only can you get a more accurate view of a learner’s abilities and behavioral traits by posing personalized situations and collecting a rich variety of data points, you can more effectively test for soft skills like creativity, time management or appetite for risk. Additionally, in a recruiting scenario, candidates can be measured for their potential to ramp up quickly to the particular job/role because gamified scenarios can be leveraged to assess that candidates abilities to deal with authentic, on the job scenarios.
Employ Collaboration and Teamwork
What better way to get your workforce to practice alignment, enjoy working together constructively and aiming towards a common goal than through gamification? As the saying goes “no single person can whistle a symphony, it takes an entire orchestra to play it”, teamwork is that important.
Here are a few examples of how easy this could be to implement into your own programs:

  • Have individual points for each team member add up to a cumulative score for the entire team – and have those teams compete.
  • Create scenarios where learners all have a separate piece of the solution and will collaborate on a discussion board or Skype conference to come up with the answer (remember the game Clue?). Even in a brainstorming session, SAP Streamwork found that gamification in brainstorming groups increased the volume of generated ideas by 58%.

The next step is up to you. See how many gaming elements you can add to your course and content designs starting today and tell us about it below!