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7 Benefits of integrating gamification into your training

With so much emphasis placed on superior customer service and on employees’ ability to execute their roles with high levels of problem solving skills, strategy, empathy and knowledge, effective training in the workforce is absolutely critical to the success of every company. While some businesses still rely on traditional training methods, such as presentations, lectures and formal examinations, research carried out in the United States demonstrates that learners only recall 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear.If visuals accompany an oral presentation, that number increases to 30%, and if learners observe someonecarrying out an action while explaining it, the number increases again to 50%. However, “if learners do the job themselves, even if only as a simulation”, the figure jumps to an impressive 90%.
 
It only makes sense then, that learners should have as much access as possible to actually performing their roles in an environment that replicates or simulates the one they’ll encounter in the workplace.  And this is why gamification has been the most revolutionary learning solution over the last decade.
 
What is gamification?

Positioned within eLearning, gamification describes game-based experiential environments that use the latest techniques in design, illustration and interactive video and require the learner to choose actions, work towards goals, and experience the consequences of their decisions along the way.

Mistakes can be made in a risk-free environment, and through repetition and experimentation, learners actively retain critical information. Even better, they get to practice or ‘simulate’ their real-life work tasks.  Game-based learning usually incorporates the use of ‘rewards’ - such as points, payments, leader boards, progress bars and the ability to “level up” - to drive the action and to stimulate people’s natural competitive instincts. 

Gamification has been widely used as a compelling and effective learning tool in the military and in medicine over the last two decades, but it is now emerging in various fields, such as retail, health care, banking and transport. Gamification can also be used to fulfil a variety of learning needs such as induction, sales, customer support, compliance, and even to educate learners about empathy and high-level strategic thinking.

Ross Rader, former general manager at retail domain service Hover, says, “Gamification may be the most important social and commercial development of the next fifty years. This will touch all aspects of the organization as it is applied to sales, production, management, and other areas of commercial practice.”

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How the workforce has shifted

Offices and other work environments are now filled with a tech-savvy generation of employees who have no comprehension of a world without mobile phones, the internet and video games.

Winning their attention is becoming increasingly difficult, but well-designed gamification applications have proven to be the most effective and innovative way of getting them to stay focused and remain engaged. In fact, technology consultancy Gartner claims that, “by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.”
 
The 7 benefits of integrating gamification into your training

The very real benefits of gamification are diverse, and the following reasons demonstrate why so many companies are now integrating this innovative approach into successful coaching strategies.  
 

1. It enables learners to rehearse real-life scenarios in a safe, controlled environment

Learners can practice on virtual customers and re-enact a set of realistic circumstances multiple times, make decisions and explore the consequences of different actions, without compromising customer service levels in a real scenario.

2. Gamification is fun and engaging

Studies have shown that human beings react positively to complex and interactive design elements, which generate feel-good chemical reactions. In turn, this enjoyable experience can improve engagement, participation and motivation.

3. It develops cognitive skills 

The American Psychological Association has revealed that gameplay has cognitive benefits because games have been shown to improve attention, focus and reaction time. In game-based environments, learners grasp the facts, and since every step has a consequence, they also gain valuable insights into the all-important hows and whys.

4. Gamification provides instant feedback 

Instant feedback, in the form of alerts, scores and mid-game or post-game reports, provides critical information that enables learners to practice their skills incrementally, until they master the game’s learning goals.

5. It generates healthy competition  

Human beings instinctively enjoy healthy competition, and the integration of scores and leader boards is not only motivating, but also taps into each learner’s natural instinct to improve and to better their results.

6. Gamification influences behavioural change

Integrating gamification into eLearning is not only engaging and stimulating, but it also gives the learner a deeper understanding of complex processes, promotes memory retention and provides an experience that leads to anticipated behaviour change.   

7. Knowledge is easily transferred to real-life environments

Because gamification allows learners to simulate realistic scenarios and situations, to understand the importance of each building block, and to retain this information, research has revealed that the majority of learners will successfully transfer their training into their professional roles effectively.
 
 
Summary

While it’s recommended to integrate a blended learning infrastructure that includes both traditional methods of training as well as recent digital developments, companies who utilise gamification are witnessing teams of highly engaged, motivated learners who are able to actively simulate a variety of challenges in a familiar environment that ensures their transition into their real-life roles are as seamless as possible.   


 More about learning games

 
Sources:
Jordan Shapiro, 2014  - Benefits of Gaming: What Research Shows
http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/06/13/benefits-of-gaming-what-research-shows/
 
Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels, 2014 - The Benefits of Playing Video Games

Asha Pandey, 2015 - Top 6 Benefits Of Gamification In eLearning
http://elearningindustry.com/top-6-benefits-of-gamification-in-elearning
 
Jessica Trybus, 2014 - Game-based learning: What it is, why it works, and where it’s going
http://www.newmedia.org/game-based-learning--what-it-is-why-it-works-and-where-its-going.html

Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie, 2012 - The Future of Gamification
http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/05/18/the-future-of-gamification/

John Laskaris, 2014 - 30 Facts about Gamification in eLearning
http://elearningindustry.com/30-facts-gamification-in-elearning 
Topics: Learning