Mastering gamification is a next-generation eLearning priority

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Mastering gamification is a next-generation eLearning priority

Aptara Editorial | Posted on 26th Oct 2015

Today, technology has changed attitudes toward processes that were once done grudgingly. Now, it's possible to inject fun, interest and general enjoyment into nearly every kind of internal and external program. This has huge implications for training. Through the power of gamification, learning can be made into an activity that professionals will return to willingly. One risk, however, is that managers won't give such programs the focus they deserve because an injection of fun makes the activities seem less relevant or important. As long as gamified eLearning solutions are given their due as keystone parts of a modern employee training approach, they can help.

"Competitive elements help appeal to the employee base on an emotional level."

Getting it right
There's more to launching a great gamified learning environment than just resolving to treat it seriously. ELearning Industry contributor Christie Wroten recently set out a list of priorities for leaders attempting to ensure their departments' transitions to this new methodology go smoothly. She specified, for instance, that if there is no connection between learners and the material they are being taught, programs may fail to work to their potential. The best gamified programs include features that appeal to the employee base on an emotional level, and Wroten specified that competitive elements help in this regard.

Rote memorization is nothing next to a course that makes individuals care. Wroten gave an example of this kind of appeal in action, specifying that emotional competition and the desire to excel were part of a very successful Walmart safety training course. She stated that the retail giant reduced problems by 54 percent across the participating locations, following deployment of modules that made pupils think hard about the impact workplace accidents have. By shining a new light on behaviors, policies and more, the organization affected the way 5,000 employees did their jobs. The results show that gamification can scale up to a corporate size.

"When gamified content is a choice, professionals can decide on their own terms that they are up for the challenge."

As for other important content creation priorities, Wroten also noted that one of the most important elements of gamification may include giving workers the option to not participate in the point-earning or competitive elements of the program. Adding fun and interest back into training is a noble goal, but if these programs are mandatory and inflexible, there will likely be a segment of the workforce not enjoying the experience. When gamified content is a choice, professionals can decide on their own terms that they are up for the challenge. If everyone has to follow the same steps, it could become just another form of training.

Preferences will vary
Another eLearning Industry contributor, Christopher Pappas, added some materials that may be hugely important for leaders planning the careful shift into gamified eLearning. Namely, he pointed out that in the latest TalentLMS data, gamified programs that use levels to denote success are the most popular type, with those that are based around virtual currency being the least favorite. That said, Pappas also explained that none of the concepts in the survey won the support of more than 30 percent of respondents - opinions are very split on which systems are preferred, and learning individual opinions will probably be an important part of early gamification development.

Corporate Learning & Performance, Information Technology, Educational Publishing