Of the 330+ million people in the United States, almost 200 million play video games; approximately 40% of whom play on a regular basis. This staggering statistic represents an extraordinary opportunity for organizations looking to take their training and development to a new level.
One of the truest indicators of a learning and development program’s efficacy has been, and always will be, engagement. How, and to what degree, an individual interacts with content is as important as the content itself. As educational content delivery continues to shift from instructor-led training (ILT) to blended learning (utilizing both ILT and digital modalities), those who overlook the impact of gamification are missing a huge opportunity to meaningfully engage learners.
What gamification is, and what it is not
Among other gaming elements, gamification can encompass badging, point-based systems, interactivity, learner immersion, leaderboards, competition and real-time results. The aforementioned tenets of gamification, as well as countless others, can be seamlessly embedded within an eLearning module to support the acquisition of new knowledge and/or reinforce previously learned information.
Contrary to popular belief, gamification does not mean “gaming” or “games,” per se, nor is it, necessarily, game-based learning. Rather, gamification is the utilization of gaming elements, principles, components, features and/or mechanisms to further support and ensure learner engagement, retention and outcomes. The overarching, intended outcome of gamification is to meaningfully augment, not to supplant the learning process. Therefore, the popularity of video games and the proliferation of the gaming industry, serve as strong indicators of learner’s receptivity to gamification within eLearning, but do not necessarily directly correlate. However, eLearning experts who track the trends of gaming and gamification and adjust accordingly will stay ahead of the curve.
Everyone is game
A new, in-depth report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), published December 2019, highlights the fact that gaming is now a mainstream pastime for U.S. adults and children alike. The 2019 Future of Gaming survey – which polled respondents ages 13 to 64 – shows that 192 million Americans currently play games, either on a dedicated console, via smartphone or on a PC, on a regular basis.
While the majority of gamers (92 million) play via Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo, 66 million are smartphone gamers. Furthermore, for the majority of gamers across all devices, casual and puzzle games are their preferred gaming experience – i.e., the types of games where learning and memory are of greater importance than simple enjoyment or escapism.
A rewarding approach
Gamification, within the eLearning space, can take many forms. To reiterate, it’s not about recreating a video game experience – it’s about taking the stickiest, most effective elements of game-play (rewards, leaderboards, challenges and problem-solving, among others) and placing them into a digital learning environment.
When quizzed about preferences and game-playing habits, 44% of gamers consider rewards, such as points or virtual currency, as one of the top game elements adding to their experience and when asked to say why they play games, a sense of achievement was one of the top answers; an important consideration when building out badging/certification elements within eLearning ecosystems.
In addition to providing an experiential blueprint for curriculum creation, the growing popularity of gaming, particularly on mobile devices is also aiding learning professionals in reaching more learners, more quickly, with content that sticks.
Gamification and Mobile Learning
While carefully leveraging mobile and social learning, we have the ability to put a classroom in each learner’s pocket. This means that every person can train at his or her own pace, at the most convenient time(s). Learning, as a result, has very much become on-demand – ATAWAD (Anytime, Anywhere and on any Device). Between the ever-increasing reliance on smartphones and the efficacy and increasing popularity of gamification as a means to impact engagement, educational development barriers continue to fall.
Mobile learning puts the learner in control. When the learner is deciding when, where and how to learn, we are addressing the perceptions of students who have developed an aversion to learning – perhaps due, at least in part, to previous and less-effective methods of content delivery.
Contrary to past methods, modules are not being pushed to learners, instead it’s the learner who’s actively demanding content; this fundamental inversion brings with it the added benefit of changing existing perceptions of learning, training and development.
This consequential and impactful combination of mobile learning and gamification allows Sitel Group to maximize the positive impact our learning and talent development services have on learners. We are actively unlocking learners’ competitive spirit while breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized modules.
With that being said, gamification is just one element, of many, needed to successfully develop and deliver training. Each organization has unique learners who have unique needs; this is why we develop customized learning and development solutions.
From ILT to harnessing the latest technological innovations (AR/VR/MR, adaptive learning, AI, learner assistance, etc.) and mobile learning, Sitel Group’s learning and development services experts, Learning Tribes, has firmly established itself over the past 15 years as a global leader in the provisioning of customized training solutions and platforms aimed at expertly addressing present-day customer experience (CX) challenges.
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