At first, this headline might seem curious; after all, corporate training is a serious business, how would games come into it? Gamification is used, in many forms, in the school system to help motivate and engage students. How does this translate to corporate training and professional development? The same aspects that engage children also help motivate adults. Games make work feel like play, provide instant feedback and an element of competition.
Games exercise the same skills that are valued in the corporate world: rapid decision-making, planning, teamwork, strategizing and competing with others. Turning a desired learning outcome into a quest, giving rewards and earning points are just a few ways in which games can enrich the learning process. "Gamification uses game mechanics and game design techniques in [a] non-gaming context — it's a powerful tool to engage employees, customers and the public to change behaviors, develop skills and drive innovation." — Gartner Research.
Benefits of gamifying corporate training and professional development include:
Engaging students intrinsically in the learning process
Allowing students to see lack of knowledge/skills as challenges and obstacles to be overcome, learning as they go
Reinforcing student-centered learning — already in place in organizations committed to outcome-based curricula and competency-based training
Leveraging students’ natural competitiveness and desire for achievements to be recognized
Allowing learners to practice repeatedly until they achieve perfection
Enabling differentiated instruction so learners can progress at their own rate until mastery is achieved
Providing constant and rapid feedback
Using behavior-motivating techniques that transfer to management strategy
Introducing real-world tasks and projects in a controlled, virtual environment
For gamifying to be successful it must have high-level, challenging content that is informative and useful. Games must be well designed and seamlessly integrated with content. Leaderboards and virtual rewards are just two ways to encourage competition and offer rapid feedback. This can be highly motivational in an industry where feedback may only be given at an annual performance appraisal.
CEO of Dopamine Inc., Gabe Zichermann, claims that employers who have implemented gamification techniques internally have increased the productivity of their employees by 40%. Many major corporations already use gaming to recruit and motivate their employees; Marriott, for example, has developed My Marriott Hotel, a Farmville-style social game for use in recruitment. The game, available in multiple languages, puts users in various parts of a hotel; players earn points to move to harder levels or other locations in the property.
Gartner predicts that over 70% of Global 2000 companies will have incorporated some form of gamification by 2017; uses include employee engagement in corporate training, recruitment, marketing and customer retention. Games have become serious business!
Shift iQ offers an integrated suite of applications that provide an intuitive, cost-effective way to deliver online learning, including competency-based training, and performance management.