Gamification: Putting Play into Learning & Development

Just about every adult has a memory of childhood competition. From the playground to the sports field to the arcade, we enjoyed besting our friends or boasting about our accomplishments.

Now as adults, we are faced with the challenges of our careers, trying to keep pace with an ever changing informational world and completing required training to meet those challenges. We attend seminars, watch webinars, sit in classes, or use online learning portals to take courses. But who says this has to be boring? Why not make the learning process fun?

Introducing gamification to the corporate learning process…just what our inner child needs.

For the uninitiated, gamification is the application of game-design elements to non-game contexts. You’ve probably already seen this all around you. After all, gamification elements work their way into our lives every day, ranging from achieving new levels on your Fitbit to earning Starbucks Stars for free drinks. The goal is to add elements of fun and reward by recognizing achievements and driving engagement and participation.

And that’s where gamification has the potential to make a significant impact on online training – because if we make it fun and offer elements that make learning more interesting, we encourage learners to be more engaged with the course content. And more importantly, the outcome that we can achieve is to meet our organizations’ strategic goals of having a well-trained workforce that meets our compliance requirements.

So, what are some ways that gamification can support your goals? Let’s take a look at a few learning and developing goals and some examples to demonstrate how we can apply gamification elements to them to improve learner engagement:

Goal: Motivate learners to be engaged and complete a curriculum
Gamification Opportunity: Provide rewards, badges or other incentives for completing the curriculum within a specific timeframe.

Goal: Measuring a learner’s understanding of a specific procedure
Gamification Opportunity: Create a mapping activity around the procedure and award points towards completing correctly in a certain timeframe.

Goal: Make content more engaging
Gamification Opportunity: Create gaming elements such as levels or challenges to encourage learners to move through the content to completion.

Goal: Encourage certification and skill qualification
Gamification Opportunity: Tie certifications to rewards, post individual and group results, make the process competitive with leaderboards and visible comparisons.

Goal: Encourage timely course completion
Gamification Opportunity: Award points for completing the course within certain timeline and points for correctly answering timed questions inside the course.

The key is to rethink both the structure and content of your learning and build these elements into your online learning and training programs. Gamification does not have to mean a full overhaul of a course, rather adding gaming elements to existing content to achieve higher levels of engagement. As these examples demonstrate, it can be as simple as adding a time element to a quiz or knowledge check!

And while we may no longer be running around our childhood playgrounds, we will be creating a fun environment that engages learners and helps them achieve their goals.

For more about Gamification and its potential for learning and development, download our white paper “Gamification – Does it have a place in your L&D Content Development.”

LMS: EVOLUTION OR EXTINCTION: 8 TRENDS THAT CHANGE EVERYTHING

Trend #2: Extended Enterprise

While most companies (71%) still use their learning management system (LMS) mainly for employee training (see chart below), the globalization and increased competition have led to the rise in the number of partner relationships, distributor and reseller networks, franchises, and contractors, and consequently the need for a centralized learning solution for the whole extended enterprise.

LMS-user-community-chart-BHG

Centralized training and certification management allows companies to keep product and service quality consistent across the whole value chain.

At the same time the increasingly strict and continually changing regulatory environment has created a need for compliance management across the whole value chain, especially in highly regulated industries.

The delivery of training, licensing, and certification programs to external channels increases partner, customer, and end-user engagement, satisfaction and product usage. It is the most cost-efficient way to bring external stakeholders to the same level of competency and product knowledge as the internal employees.

By creating customized and branded learning portals, companies can provide engaging learning experiences for different audiences across the extended enterprise. Mobile solutions also allow the contractors, such as sales agents, to take training in a flexible way, at the point of need, even when not connected to the Internet.

High-quality training, certification management, and the ability to measure KPIs across the whole value chain can have a direct impact on an organization’s business performance. Learning in the extended enterprise should also be an interactive process. For example, the dealership network is able to give valuable insights from buyers and market when the LMS supports such collaboration.

To measure performance against defined KPIs using advanced analytics tools, reports can be segmented by learner group, whether they consist of internal employees, partners, suppliers, or dealers.

When thinking about using an LMS for the extended enterprise, security management needs to be taken into account. A compliance-focused LMS can support central management of security with features such as access and password control, version control, workflow management, e-signatures, as well as audit trails of all activities.

What to consider for your LMS in terms of the extended enterprise:

  • Portals, branding, and personalization
  • E-commerce capabilities
  • Security
  • A new role of the LMS
    • Revenue generation
    • Quality management
    • Documentation distribution
    • Partner certifications
    • Analytics

Given these considerations, can you leverage the same LMS investment for both internal & external audiences?

This is the second of a seven-part series on LMS: Evolution or Extinction — 8 Trends that Change Everything.

Big Data, EBT adoption, eBooks, and the need for new talent get airplay at APATS and EATS 2015 (Part 2)

In this two-part blog post, we share the insights and experiences of Steve Young and Rory Stewart at the recent airline training symposiums hosted by Halldale in Asia Pacific and Europe. The 12th Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium (APATS) was held in Thailand in September with representatives from more than 50 airlines were in attendance. Meanwhile, the 14th European Airline Training Symposium (EATS) was hosted for the first time in Poland where delegates from more than 70 airlines and 40 countries attended last month.

 

EATS 2015 Conference Review by Rory Stewart

Some really good initiatives worth noting were the number of vendors using Apple iBooks to bring content to tablets. Both Boeing and Airbus are now talking about reducing content size by creating eBooks for Operators (Emirates Airlines being one example).

Big Data, EBT adoption, eBooks, and the need for new talent get airplay at APATS and EATS 2015 (Part 1)

In this two-part blog post, we share the insights and experiences of Steve Young and Rory Stewart at the recent airline training symposiums hosted by Halldale in Asia Pacific and Europe. The 12th Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium (APATS) was held in Thailand in September with representatives from more than 50 airlines were in attendance. Meanwhile, the 14th European Airline Training Symposium (EATS) was hosted for the first time in Poland where delegates from more than 70 airlines and 40 countries attended last month.

 

APATS 2015 Conference Review by Steve Young

Attending the sessions on Day 1 of the recent APATS Conference here in Bangkok, I learned a few things about some threads that were common in many of the conference sessions. Although there were no samples shown, big data and analytics received its fair share of comments throughout the day.

Learning “On the Move” – Key Strategies for a Mobile Learning Program

The mobile devices in our pockets have officially taken over. As of October 2014, there are now more mobile devices than people. Mobile devices have now become the primary internet device for many web users. In fact, the 2015 Internet Trends Report found U.S. web users turn to their mobile device for almost 3 hours of internet time each day.

As usage becomes ubiquitous, we expect these devices to never be out of reach. They have also become an effective learning tool. Hence, the rise of learning now being pushed to the mobile experience.

Just like we learned that taking a classroom experience and putting it online does not make an effective web based training or online learning experience – neither will simply scaling down existing content so it fits on a smaller screen.

Learning Solutions Magazine said it best:

“Being able to view eLearning content on a smartphone doesn’t make it mLearning in just the same way that throwing slides meant for use in instructor-led training onto a web page doesn’t make them eLearning. Redesign is always the best option.”

An effective, strategic mobile learning or performance support program requires new thinking and new approaches. Here are three strategies we have learned building mobile programs for NetDimensions’ clients.