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Webinar Recap: Using Gamification, Threaded Microlearning and Measurement to Get from Learning to Performance

April 20, 2017 • gal

Gamification, Threaded microlearning and measurementHere’s a recap of our April 4th webinar with Dr. Will Thalheimer and Gameffective’s Roni Floman. You can access a recording of the webinar here

Initially, Will began by introducing work-learning research – where he compiles research from the world’s preeminent refereed journals on learning, memory, and instruction and translates it into practical wisdom that’s applicable to learning professionals.

The Learning Landscape

Will introduced the learning landscape model and discussed how learners build understanding through learning interventions, remember and apply what they’ve learned through working memory, remembering and prompting. He then discussed how learning outcomes are the result of learning and using what was learned on the job.

He then discussed two types of gamification, and micro-learning:

  • Gamification for learning – to drive learning completion and knowledge retention
  • Gamificaiton for performance – to drive employee engagement and focus on better job performance metrics

As to micro-learning, Thalheimer mentioned that microlearning can be used as part of a gamification deployment in several contexts:

  • As a main learning event
  • As a refresher for a main learning event
  • To support moment-of-need, just-in-time learning
  • As a prompt to support certain behaviors – moving from learning into performance

Gamification and Learning

Will then moved to define gamification, per Karl Kapp’s definition:

“Using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems”

He then discussed three different types of “games” involved in learning:

  • Serious games – games designed specifically to support learning
  • Game-based learning – using established games to support learning
  • Gamification – Using Game Elements and Aesthetics in Non-Game Contexts

Reviewing research led him to the following conclusions:

  • Games have been shown to provide benefits over non-game interventions.
  • Gamification research is too limited to draw conclusions.
  • Gamification does not guarantee learning benefits.
  • Success depends on the learning design.

Looking at the learning maximizers model, he then suggested the following, as a “checklist” to consider when working with gamification of learning:


Thalheimer’s definition of microlearning is as follows:

“Relatively short engagements in learning-related activities—typically ranging from a few seconds up to 20 minutes (or up to an hour in some cases)—that may provide any combination of content presentation, review, practice, reflection, behavioral prompting, performance support, goal reminding, persuasive messaging, task assignments, social interaction, diagnosis, coaching, management interaction, or other learning-related methodologies.”

Microlearning is especially potent when:

  • Engaging learners in small chunks with push notifications
  • Providing practice/feedback so learners know if they’ve got it
  • Providing challenging realistic decisions
  • Providing retrieval practice, spaced repetitions, and reminders
  • Providing on-the-job tasks, behavioral prompting, and coaching
  • Providing support for furthering on-the-job learning

He then moved on to discuss subscription learning as a way of using the benefits of spaced repetitions and microlearning. You can read more about subscription learning here.

Learning measurement

Thalhaimer reviewed the research on learning measurement and evaluation, showing the smile sheets don’t give valuable feedback on actual learning.

Learning measurement must be fixed to avoid using Likert-like scales and instead:

  • Encourage learners to give more attention to the questions
  • Support learner decision-making by getting rid of Likert and numeric responses
  • Focus on factors that impact learning effectiveness – Not just learner satisfaction
  • Focus on factors that impact learning effectiveness – Not just learner satisfaction

Here an example of a better smile sheet question:

How able you are to put what you’ve learned into practice on the job? Choose One.

  1. I am Not at all ready to use the skills taught.
  2. I have General awareness but will need more guidance to put the skills into practice.
  3. I need more hands-on experience to be good at using these skills.
  4. I am fully competent in using these skills.
  5. I am capable at an expert level in using these skills.

Learning AND Performance

At this point, Gameffective began discussing how to implement subscription learning through the use of gamification.

We then moved to discussing the fact that when gamification measures BOTH learning and performance, we enter into a new period, where instead of measuring learning alone, we can actually measure the impact of learning on performance, since both are measured with a gamification system.

This means that gamification allows you to measure across ALL levels of the Kirkpatrick model, since you can measure learner reactions, assess learning (repeat it…) and then actual performance changes.

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