May 8, 2012
Driving Engagement & Performance: Gamification & Learning
When I was growing up, I loved to play games. My favorite was Ms. Pac Man. I would spend hours in front of the TV trying to master the game until my hand grew tired of operating the control system. So, as a learning professional, when I first heard the term gamification referred to in a learning context, it peaked my interest. Was there actually a way to incorporate my first love with my passion for learning?
Gamification refers to the use of game design techniques and game mechanics in non-game environments. Although it is used in many facets, its main purpose is to help engage and motivate employees. While it is a concept that has been met with some skepticism, Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst with Software Advice, tries to clear up some of the myths surrounding gamification and explain how it truly can benefit learning management in the article “Gamification and Learning: Two Truths and a Lie.” As Lagunas states, gamification is not just about making work fun or turning work into a game; it provides an opportunity to enhance learner engagement and re-energize learning and development programs.
I happen to agree. In one of my previous blogs, Tailoring Education to Adults: Five Principles to Consider, one of the top five adult learning principles I reference is providing the ability to learn by experiencing. It is critical in creating a comprehensive and engaging learning environment, and gamification is a perfect strategy to allow this to happen.
Furthermore, with Generation Y populating the workforce, we are continually looking for opportunities to engage these learners by appealing to their learning style – incorporating visually stimulating and multi-sensory learning whenever possible. What better way to achieve this then by incorporating gamification into our learning and development programs?
But can it improve performance? I would argue yes. An employee who has the opportunity to learn and grow, and is engaged in his or her learning, ultimately transfers that learning to the job. The result: increased productivity and profitability.
In Lagunas’ article, he indicates that as we continue to see more and more evidence supporting gamification in the workplace, he anticipates us seeing wider adoption of this as a learning tool. As an individual responsible for designing and delivering engaging learning opportunities, I am excited to see how this latest trend will develop. I say: Game on!