First days are always exciting for employees but as trainers, you would know that orientation and training processes are often met with less enthusiasm. This may be because of the conventional pedagogy, run-of-the-mill course content and simply, a poor interface.
In order to create a positive first impression and make the training sessions count for something, trainers need to make their training process more inclusive, engaging and interactive.
This is where gamification can help.
Gamification in training is a process where gaming concepts and designs are applied to training or learning sessions to make things more entertaining and engaging for employees.
In short, rather than being taught via lesson plans, people learn with the help of gamified interfaces, an environment that's more rewarding and interactive. It uses game-playing elements like creating competition, and the score system, with a hurdle of rules and boundaries that activate their grey cells and keep things interesting.
Did you know?
Now that you know what gamification is, let's understand the various benefits it offers for corporate or employee training.
Most employees find training sessions boring. In fact, a majority of them fear training sessions, questioning their validity. However, the inclusion of gamification in employee training and development gives a fun twist that has a biological reaction on the trainee's mind (dopamine release), making learning fun rather than something to be feared. In return, this boosts engagement, implementation and thus, overall ROI.
Imagine sitting before the computer for hours, watching those lecture-style training sessions. It adds to the cognitive load that fails to grab attention. Gamified learning empowers the trainee to be intuitive and independent, allowing them to make decisions based on practical thinking, rather than guess-work based on theory. This not only coerces deep knowledge of the learning materials but also provides a realistic approach towards learning.
Speaking of traditional training, participants often know their score once the session ends and are typically given advice based on that, but with gamification in employee training, employees are given instant feedback throughout their sessions.
So this continuous feedback turns to be more useful because employees know where exactly to make adjustments and to progress for the better.
With gamification in employee training, things that need to be changed can be identified easily. This is through space repetition and repeated retrieval. Say, for instance, one training session might be categorized into 4 sections, with 4 days off between every session.
This kind of format has been proven to create better knowledge retention, providing more time for self-reflection. The outcome is enhanced learning and less behavioural mistakes.
Remote learning is the future, however, engaging and training employees is easier said than done. How do you motivate employees? How do they increase their learning quotient? This calls for gamified learning.
Here's how it can help.
Whether you are a gaming aficionado or have played the simple snake game on your old Nokia phone, gaining scores and levelling up will always be gratifying. The reward portion of our brains is looking for that rush of dopamine.
Learning and development trainers can deploy this need for the rush with gamified learning for remote teams that are these days stuck between the walls and uninspiring learning content.
Gamified learning includes visual, auditory and kinesthetic experience that creates a real-life learning experience and allows trainees to create scenarios where they can drive solutions on their own.
Speaking of both learning setups, gamified training is a win-win over conventional approach, especially when it comes to remote working for the following reasons.
Now that the benefits of gamification are clear, the next question is how to use gamification in training?
Let's say you already have a LMS (Learning Management System) in place, then adding gamification to it seems like a big question.
So here are a few things to consider:
Rather than inventing games that can be time-consuming and costly, look at the existing materials. Are there places where gaming elements can be inserted? Pay more attention to spots where you want employees to change behaviors and solve challenges. Identify these and add interesting gaming elements to these training areas.
When there is a complex training session, make sure to break it down into sub-training sessions to keep things simple. Imagine it like a video game, which involves multiple levels where you cannot skip a level before advancing to the next. But once you complete all the game levels, you win.
The same concept is applied in gamified training too. When an employee finishes a training session, he/she goes through an evaluation test. When passed, he/she accumulates points and gets to move to the next training section.
As a company or trainer, these points turn out to be extremely helpful in knowing where the employee is lacking and where things need to be improved. When there are multiple employees involved, this becomes rewarding and serves as a wonderful motivational factor.
Companies and employees both know how crucial training is. The problem is that it's at times, an afterthought.
Let's understand this with a simple example. Let's say you're the marketing head who is about to launch a new product in a week. Eventually, you realize that your marketing team needs training on the new product.
Rather than putting the training at the backseat, make your Learning Management System interactive or perhaps, a tool which employees will often have the need to come to. Try adding features such as appointments or deadlines to the LMS. This way employees will have no choice left than to access the LMS periodically, putting "training" a priority.
While a software simulation and advanced animation can be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming (not to mention, rigid), you can very easily use other gamification elements - storyline, characters, voluntary exploration, rewards, challenges, leaderboards - in your core learning modules with the flexibility to modify them in a jiffy when required. This of course requires an authoring tool and an LMS that is conducive to this approach.
Perform a Google search for the term "LMS is dead" and a cursory glance at the results will give you an idea of what I am talking about. I discuss why organisations continue to hold on to an obviously underwhelming technology and how can be easily changed.
Is Instructor Led Training the only way to train your distributed workforce? How do I train my 1000 other employees? In short - if you want to find out how and want to do something about it. Let's get started!
If you are a learning manager who thinks your learning content is too theoretical, you are not alone. In fact, you are probably among the more self-aware learning managers who are regularly stepping into the learner's shoe and trying to find ways to continuously improve the way your organization learns.