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Why Not Try A Gamification Strategy For Your New Learning Initiative

President Of TrainSmart, Inc.

If the experts have it right, by 2014 Millennials will make up 36% of the corporate workplace. With this cultural shift, organizations are spending time re-evaluating the current way things are done, and asking themselves, “How will Millennials respond to this?”

Training is one of the corporate activities under the microscope— organizations are evaluating their current programs and tasking designers to deliver immersive training.  The belief is that a generation raised on playing video games will not respond well to the standard corporate training format of lecture, discuss at your table, and share on a flip chart.

That raises another question, “Just what is immersive learning?” Depends on whom you ask. The IEI, Immersive Education Initiative, says immersive education gives participants a sense of “being there” even when attending a class or training session in person isn’t possible, practical, or desirable, which in turn provides educators and students with the ability to connect and communicate in a way that greatly enhances the learning experience.

In an 2011 interview with Stephen Colbert,  game expert Jane McGonigal said that games are important for learning because they tap our best qualities to collaborate, be optimistic, feel motivated and achieve resilience in the face of failure.  All characteristics that businesses hope their employees exhibit

Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, predicts that by 2015,  40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations  Another research organization, M2 Research, believes by 2016 corporate spending on gamification will jump to $2.8 billion.

In May 2013, Walmart announced it had retained  an immersive learning organization to  help create a program to  increase employee engagement. And, when Groupon used a gamification strategy in its learning, it  reduced agent training time by 50%.

Playing games in training situations is nothing new. What is new is the realization by many organizations that playing games may offer the best learning experience for participants. To learn more about gamification, here is a recommended reading list.

For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business, Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter

Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal

The Gamification Revolution: How leaders leverage Game Mechanics to crush the competition, Gabe Zichermann