Developing Skills through Gamification
We are all in a state of constant learning. Whether on the job, at school, or when keeping up with the latest technology – learning is one of the most fundamental tasks we have.
Yet learning, especially in the context of work, isn’t always that enjoyable. Learning something new, regardless of how important it is, can be an extremely difficult task. While at school, if we weren’t really in to a certain subject, we could hang low during those specific lessons and do just enough to get by. At work, it’s an entirely different story. Performance is greatly dependent on acquiring new skills, such as increased adoption of enterprise software, the use of knowledge management systems and more. It is also a factor of knowledge – emotional intelligence in dealing with customer complaints or product knowledge when offering new solutions to customers.
Bridging the desire to learn and the motivation to do it
In these situations, where learning is vital but motivation may be low, gamification technology can assist us greatly in achieving our goals. Firstly, gamification can really help with increasing motivation. Learning is always a journey, but sometimes it feels like you’re actually walking in place. By using completion game mechanics, gamification can assist in illustrating the progress that is taking place, and in giving the user a true sense of how far she has come since starting her journey towards this new body of knowledge, whatever it may be. Using mechanics such as badges, points, levels, and progress boards, users can monitor and exhibit how far they’ve come, as well as how they are doing in comparison to their coworkers and friends.
People have a natural tendency to want to improve and learn new skills, but they aren’t always sure what the best way to achieve that is. Gamification offers just that. By breaking up the learning process into manageable sections that the user can take in without feeling overwhelmed by the breath of the subject that he is attempting to learn, gamification allows for a steady improvement and learning experience.
Peer-learning, tutoring and mentoring
Learning is so much more enjoyable when it is done together with others. Gamification offers solutions that can enable the employees in your organization to connect with other learners – read this case study about Microsoft – ask questions, debate topics and motivate each other to keep on improving. Learning can be presented as a team challenge as well – people are more motivated about working to achieve team challenges than individual ones.
Gamification can also connect those who are mastering new skills with those in your organization that already have a good knowledge of that specific skill. Some organizations we’ve encountered have coaching systems, where veteran employees help newer ones to master new capabilities, tying into the fact that gamification serves as a great tool to coach performance.
Leading the way in gamified learning
Several organizations are leading the way in integrating gamification in to learning processes. One of the most veteran ones is Khan Academy, which has been using gamification mechanics more or less since its inception. Users collect energy points when they complete lessons and view videos. Students on the platform are also provided with statistics and analytics about their progress and improvement. Duolingo is another great example of how gamification is used to assist in learning a new skill (languages, in this case). The Duolingo experience is designed like a lighthearted game full with trophies, cute characters that pop up and encourage you to continue your language learning journey, and a scoreboard where you can see how you’re doing in comparison to your other friends who are using the platform. Simple elements of goal achievement and curiosity are taken advantage of, as the more advanced lessons “open up” only after you have already completed the earlier ones, and cannot be accessed otherwise.
In enterprise gamification, elearning activities are combined with general gamification, regardless of whether it is a sales, customer service or other gamification. You can read more here.
Gamification can greatly assist the learning process. Whether within an organization or for your own benefit, these simple mechanics can help those who are trying to improve and learn new skills reach their goals.