Making Learning Gamification More Effective

Games are serious business. Nearly half of the companies in Brandon Hall Group’s Learning Strategy Study say that exploring gamification is either an important or critical priority for helping the business achieve its goals. As companies continue to expand their digital learning footprint in the wake of the pandemic, games, and gamification will continue to play a larger role, and with good reason.

First, games provide a safe place to fail, learn and try again. Secondly, they give learning a boost when it comes to motivation, engagement, and retention — three traditionally challenging areas for learning. Games can also include elements of collaboration and rewards that have not often existed in other types of learning engagements.

The challenge games have faced from the business as they are often seen as frivolous or gimmicky. However, that is only true if they aren’t leveraged properly. To make it work, L&D teams need to be purposeful with the kind of games they select. A program will not benefit from a game that is inserted simply as a fun engagement tool. The game needs to be aligned with the outcomes expected from the learning, otherwise, the opportunity for motivation is missed. 

It is also important to understand your learning audience. Some audiences are more driven by competition than others. In these environments, points and leaderboards can be effective. For others, the focus may need to be more around leveling up or some kind of reward. It is important to provide the correct incentives to achieve the desired outcomes.

Brandon Hall Group Preferred Provider ELB Learning recognizes the power of games for learning – so much so that they acquired The Game Agency in 2021. The Game Agency provides out-of-the-box games to fit just about any learning scenario, as well as tools to allow companies to build their own games. The possibilities range from the only licensed version of Jeopardy that is available, to a fully customized VR experience and anything in-between.

Games are a way to give learners ownership of their learning, as well as the freedom to fail without negative repercussions. It can expand the existing palette of learning modalities by adding a new dimension. Gamification can also take engagement with learning a step deeper by inspiring learners to discover their own intrinsic motivators for learning.

– David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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David Wentworth



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David Wentworth