Simplifying Gamification

Gamification is all around us. Nearly half of the world’s population states that they play digital games of some sort. Throughout our day, many of us engage in gamification whether we realize it or not. It could be using an app to accrue points from a brand or even logging steps into a fitness tracker. These interactions all incorporate some degree of game mechanics. 

In the learning space, there are two approaches to gamification. There is the practice of layering gamification elements onto existing learning experiences, such as awarding points for completing course elements or providing badges for achievements. The other is the approach of using actual games to engage learners in the acquisition of knowledge.

Organizations have been increasingly incorporating the latter into their learning portfolio. Not only can games be an engaging way to drive learning adoption, but the experience itself is an effective learning tool. Games provide a safe place or people to try and fail and try again. The mechanics of the game can provide immediate feedback to help learners progress. These elements are key aspects of how people learn.

The challenge companies often face with games for learning is that there are so many different types of games out there, including casual puzzles, strategy games, role-playing games, survival games, and more.  To be effective, the type of game employed should align with the desired performance objectives. Simply using a game for the sake of it being a game will seem gimmicky and pointless.

The other challenge is actually building the games. Most companies do not have that skill set within their workforce, let alone on the L&D team. It requires an understanding of not only game mechanics and learning pedagogy, but graphics and user experience as well. Having games custom-built is an option, but it can be expensive, time-consuming, and not particularly scalable.

Brandon Hall Group Preferred Provider ELB Learning has exceptional depth and breadth in leveraging games, having both The Game Agency and The Training Arcade within its portfolio. The Training Arcade specifically helps companies simplify the process of including games by providing 10 ready-to-go game templates that can be customized to meet specific needs. This includes the only available licensed versions of Jeopardy! And Wheel of Fortune.

These templates make it easy to choose the right kind of experience for the outcomes you are looking for and feature the kind of gameplay that is both familiar and engaging. Some of the templates, like the trivia game, are perfect for team play and social learning, keeping learners connected and collaborating. The games easily integrate into any learning environment and produce highly insightful data on how well people are learning. For companies that are looking to experiment with games, the Training Arcade’s templates are a great place to start.

 – David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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