For the first time in history, employers are facing a unique human capital phenomenon:
Five different generations are currently active in the workplace.
Both HR and Learning and Development (L&D) teams have to consider that each generation is marked by its own unique life experiences, traits, and beliefs. All of these factors influence how they communicate, work and respond to change.
Technology is on an upward turn, steadily shaping the future of the workplace.
Today’s employees must frequently refresh their skills to remain highly productive and competitive. Each learning and development approach an organization considers must reflect these changes.
This historical occurrence of a multigenerational workforce need not be a source of concern for HR teams.
To fully realize their business potential, employers have to understand that it’s no longer effective to use a blanket approach for learning and development.
For maximum engagement, employers looking to build the skills for the workforce of the future will need to approach learning from an entirely different perspective.
Learning is The Key to Employee Engagement
Employees want more workplace development.
Most existing training programs have crucial content, but there remains a disconnection. Participants are often uninspired by content that doesn’t relate to their reality.
L&D professionals are now seeking to develop programs that:
- Encourage growth and development, however ‘dry’ the content may be.
- Entertain and engage participants throughout all stages of learning.
Not only is this approach more effective, but it also translates into fewer resources allocated to re-training programs.
The outcome is an increased probability of application and retention, as well as a more lucrative bottom line.
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What Is Gamification?
Gamification is the practice of incorporating consumer gaming elements into eLearning settings. The goal of this is to nurture a highly effective, fun, and engaging learner experience.
Gamification features today’s biggest consumer requirement: instant feedback and gratification.
Games are the only force in the known universe that can get people to take action against their self-interest, in a predictable way, without using force. — Gabe Zimmermann
In recent years, gamification has increased in popularity as a key HR development tool, preferred for its ability to boost:
- Training engagement
- Learning enjoyment
- Knowledge retention and application
Although gamification strategies are still developing, most mainstream companies are looking for a sophisticated gamified approach that focuses on each individual learner.
A World Manager system encapsulates the benefits of a learning management system that customizes employees’ e-learning experiences.
The above objective is achieved by catering specifically to their strongest individual motivators – i.e.
- Healthy competition amongst co-workers
- Accruing recognition, rewards, badges, etc.
- Career progression
Gamified courses generally use eight basic elements:
Story Line – There to guide, engage and keep participants connected throughout the learning process.
Challenges – Which are designed according to the learning objectives.
Levels – Stages of learning advancements such as a completed induction course, increased knowledge or skill set.
Rewards – The rewards are achieved as learners grow and develop new skill sets.
Feedback – Constant and empathic sessions to gauge learner progress.
Scores/Points – Used to inspire a feeling of accomplishment in the learner.
Leaderboards – To promote competition while showing overall team progress.
Analytics – For both the learners and the L&D team to access performance and effectiveness.
Benefits of using gamification over other training methods:
- Makes learning fun
- Changes habits easier and faster
- Cost-effective in the long term
- More interactive: real-life scenarios and situations
- Encourages feedback throughout learning sessions
- Conveys a sense of achievement in learners
- Influences desired behavioral changes
- Ideal for all levels of training: from onboarding, succession, compliance, general training, etc.
A Guide to Using Gamification in Training and Development
To effect change in an organization the L&D team cannot treat training as an afterthought. The LMS has to be an attractive, more interactive tool that employees naturally and constantly gravitate to.
Adding core features such as deadlines or fixed appointments to an LMS makes training top of mind for both trainers and employees.
Combine gamification within existing material.
The L&D team’s priority is time and cost practicality.
Rather than spending a disproportionate amount of time developing new games in learning, the team should access existing company materials.
Gaming elements should be inserted into the training or learning process after looking at which employee behavioral areas need to change, and which departments need upskilling.
Make login features more aesthetic.
L&D teams should consider using the following tools as part of their LMS:
- Avatar login features
- Team login functions
To support engagement, employees should be allowed to customize their avatars to suit their personalities.
The specific human resource team may be granted access to a group HR activity feed consisting of any updates or news relative to their roles.
These two simple features create a team mentality.
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Communicate Training Plan
Motivation can be a challenge for employees who do not know why they have been signed up for training.
To make the most of online learning and development programs, most employees could use some guidance.
By developing and implementing a strategic communications plan, both the HR and L&D teams can meaningfully increase program participation as well as course completion.
The L&D team should ensure that the employees are informed on:
- What the training is about
- Why the specific employee has been drafted
- How the training will impact the employee’s job
Next, simplify the lesson formats
With gamification in training, the key is to break learning down into bite-sized portions.
Successfully communicating about learning programs begins with content that brings opportunities to life for employees. The following tips can be applied to various channels:
Diversity: include different types of content appealing to a varied audience. Incorporate visuals such as graphs, photos and charts, and audio-visual materials in addition to bullets, text paragraphs, and quotes.
Storytelling: Personalize the learning program by including learner success stories and testimonials.
Customization: for various audiences, e.g., employees in different roles or at different levels.
Interactive Modules: To summon interaction with the content rather than passive absorption.
Potentially complex material needs to be simplified and spread across a few sub-training sessions. This calls back to video games, where one can only advance to the next level after completing the current one.
There should be an evaluation set up as soon as an employee completes a section, based on that set of learning material. For each section, employees accrue points, which can be used to see where each person is within a given training process.
This feature is both rewarding and motivating if well executed.
If a course needs to be broken up into subsections, the L&D team should explain what happens after each section and what will be learned next.
This creates anticipation throughout complex training courses.
Make Learning Social
Gamification in training can only be effective with constant feedback throughout a course.
An analysis is the only way to assess whether the employees are learning, engaged, and excited about the development.
Feedback is also beneficial for learning more complex topics. This is done by breaking down the material as discussed earlier. Feedback on simpler concepts learned first is given, prompting adjustments to the material, which can then be used to build on the learned concepts.
A peer setting environment can also encourage social learning.
While positive feedback from a trainer or instructor is great, a coworker’s stamp of encouragement is even more powerful and highly motivating.
Encourage Frequent LMS Interaction
Organizations that enjoy the most success with LMSs are those that have made learning part of their corporate culture.
HR teams keen on reaping the full benefits of an LMS cannot simply implement one and hope that people will learn. There must be a culture that supports and encourages its use.
Awards should be given out for all learning achievements, but an effective method of encouraging interaction with an LMS is by giving out awards specifically related to LMS achievements such as:
- Employees with the most helpful online comments
- Employees who assist co-workers during training sessions
A companion to gamification and learning is the notion of social networking.
The LMS can be customized with a built-in social media integration to help drive instant interaction among the users and the system.
Creating achievements throughout the course is a fantastic way to boost productivity, but social media comes in handy for bragging rights – a key feature in gaming.
The more social an experience becomes, the more valuable [things like] lead access and reputation are,’ — Scott Schnaars, Sales Director, Badgeville.
If someone wins employee of the month, or a “top sales” award, but nobody else knows about it, there isn’t much of an incentive for one to work hard to get that distinction.
Gamification in training can help companies of any size become more competitive and profitable and the benefits outlined in this article are all important and worth looking into.
World Manager is ready to get you started on your customized training experience.
Book a demo today.