Learning Gamification: The Next Wave of Learning

The most recent question doing the rounds in the learning industry is whether Learning Gamification is going to be a potential game changer and change the way individuals learn in enterprises. The recent trends indicate in that direction, with a handful of learning service providers already acquiring the skills, capabilities, and technologies to start winning new ground. Is your organization ready to leverage this trend and compete in this new environment?

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The reality is that most organizations, today, focus on two primary learning objectives: improving engagement and improving retention. While it is not difficult to see how they can easily integrate into Learning Gamification formats, organizations are often reluctant to experiment with new approaches. A part of this reluctance arises from the fact that Learning Gamification has traditionally been viewed as frivolous and not suitable for serious training. A significant portion of Learning Gamification involves experimentation and learning from failure. There may be times when organizations may need to ensure a degree of business alignment to identify the most suitable purpose for Learning Gamification.

Gamification acts as a positive disruption, a game changer that has the potential to level up the digital learning process. Gamification, at the heart, has four key components:

  • Challenge/Goal: that establishes what a person needs to accomplish to win
  • Obstacles: which need to be overcome to achieve the goal
  • Collectibles/rewards: that you receive as you overcome obstacles
  • Game rules: that define your interaction with the game

Creative learning professionals and instructional designers could look at a variety of ways in implementing these Gamification principles into standard learning modules. The core elements of Gamification enable learning organizations to improve engagement and increase retention.

Improving engagement: An efficient Learning Gamification solution presents us with challenges and obstacles, allowing us to interact with the environment in a controlled set up. To a learner, this is hugely beneficial because they can both understand and assess the connection that makes up this environment. The engagement is enhanced by collectibles and rewards creating an external motivation for employees, which can further be aligned with the learner’s organizational role.  An increased awareness and alignment with their roles help employees become more creative and, at the same time, encourages on-job performance.

Improving retention: An efficient goal-directed game coupled with targeted feedback, enhances not just the quality of learning but also helps to reinforce retention. The goals set for each game can be controlled for learning enhancement. If goals are tied to the intrinsic motivational framework of an average learner, they ensure that the learners get enough practice using scores, levels, post-game reports, etc. Some games also have an alert for mistakes or failures to identify immediate areas of improvement and encourage learners to practice until they master all or most of the learning objectives.

Learning Gamification enhances the cognitive processes, ensuring that the time spent playing the game is not only effective for learners but also, gives them an enhanced understanding of the role they are expected to play in the organization. The growing affordability of smartphones and other mobility devices has helped in the adoption of Learning Gamification the world over. Organizations that stay ahead of the league have successfully adopted Learning Gamification and have made a significant impact to the way individuals learn, perform and excel. In the coming decade, Learning Gamification will become critical for leaders who are keen to improve learning outcomes. If there ever is a right time to make the move toward Learning Gamification, that time is now.


-Saurabh Ganguli, Co-founder of DelphianLogic Technologies

Saurabh Ganguli, a guest blogger on the Brandon Hall Group site, has co-founded DelphianLogic, one of the most successful learning and performance management companies in recent years and is credited with organic and inorganic growth of the organization by building some of the most profitable customer and partner relationships for the company. His vision and strategic thinking is backed by over 15 years of experience in various business functions such as P&L Management, Business Development and Marketing, Account Management, Consulting, and Program Management.

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.