Often gamification in e-learning is mistaken for games-based learning. In fact, it involves the addition of game design elements, an important distinction.
Gamification can be defined as the application of gaming design elements, such as conversations, activities, scores, badges, and non-linear pathways to an existing training intervention to improve engagement and retention.
Gaming elements drive engagement
Much of corporate e-learning is focused on dry regulatory topics such as bribery and corruption or GDPR. These aren't as naturally engaging as training programmes that help people learn new skills, advance their career, or make more money! Many companies are seeing a backlash against the endless slideshows and assessments. This leaves them in a tough situation since the regulations require companies to repeat training to maintain staff awareness levels and compliance.
If gamification can help engage staff and improve their knowledge retention, it is attractive. However, its true value comes from aiding the behavioural change that such learning interventions are intended for.
How to add gaming elements to your training
1. Do the easy bits before the more complex stuff
Simple features like using a progress bar in place of page numbering can make the course less mechanical and formulaic and more visual and intuitive.
2. Add a human touch to make it real
Instead of using wordy explanations of problems and situations, get an onscreen character to say it aloud. Take it further by asking the learner to DO something about the situation and see the consequences of their actions, rather than just telling them how it's done.
3. Add scoring & show progress
Score user interactions and periodically show learners how they are faring, preferably on a visual scale or a leader board.
4. Make learners efforts count
Tell them that they don't have to sit the post-course assessment if they demonstrate competence through their interactions in the course.
5. Use audio & visual element to signpost success
Add in badges, sounds and other bonuses and challenges at key milestones to make it more visual and get buy-in.
6. Don't overdo it!
Don't load all the gamification elements in a single e-learning module. Hold on to them to delight your audience in future training interventions.
The benefits of gamified learning
Gamification is a powerful way of tying training to the real world, making it more meaningful for people. It gets people to think for themselves, retain the information they have learned, and feel the impact of their choices.
Ultimately the goal of compliance training is not just to help people understand regulations but also to help them behave in a compliant manner.
That means that compliance training can only be considered effective if those completing courses then comply with associated policies and regulations.
If gamification is done right, not only will you find prompt completion rates go up, you will create a buzz that drives awareness levels and compliance effectiveness - which is the whole point of the training.
But be careful. It can be all too tempting to go for the ‘bells and whistles’ training option, but while adding games and fun elements can make compliance training more enjoyable, if the quality of the content isn’t right, people won’t learn the necessary behaviours. In this case, a game or simulation becomes more of a gimmick than an effective training programme.
Ensure your gamification is effective
For gamification to be effective, it needs to be based on practical examples that show employees from a personal perspective what their responsibilities are. Games and simulations need to be personalised to both your organisation and each employee's role.
That means using your company name, the names of your policies, internal terminology and even names of specific individuals within the business.
This helps to put your training into context for staff and give it meaning. And it’s this that makes people take in the content so that they can put it into practice.
While games and interactive elements can make training more interesting for your staff, the real benefit is that they help to drive behavioural change in your organisation. With a gamified approach, you can create awareness of key risks and build a culture of compliance.
What is gamified learning?
Gamified learning has helped many of our customers to identify strengths, weaknesses and a clear focus for future initiatives. If you'd like to learn more, we have a series of gamification blogs, case studies explaining how we helped Barclays, Société Générale and Royal Mail or and a gaming hub where you can try out one of our themed games.
Skillcast games present your employees with challenging propositions in a realistic context. Learners accept or reject each proposition with a click or swipe, losing lives for each incorrect answer and completing the game within a time limit.
They are a fun and engaging learning tool with a serious purpose
How games improve learning outcomes
- Driving behavioural change
- Boosting knowledge retention
- Improving employee assessments
- Highlighting competency gaps
Isn't it time you added gamified learning to your compliance learning toolkit?