Always Learning Blog

Back to All Posts
Onboarding

9 Ways to Gamify Your Company's Training

Put yourself in a new team member's shoes for a second. You are excited about your new job.

You just joined a company of smart and dynamic professionals who are working hard to change the market and really make a difference. There's so much to learn in this role, so you turn to your company's training platform.

You're met with a library of long articles, case studies, and other training materials. Some are relevant, some not so much. You scroll through what looks like an endless list content before you pick something that catches your eye and click on it. More words.

Paragraphs and paragraphs that tediously lay out what you could have summarized in 10 minutes or less. You read some, skim some, read some more. You feel like you're wasting time, and at this point your only thoughts are on the work you're not doing. Defeated, you exit the learning platform and return to your responsibilities.

How can you avoid this all-too-common scenario? By using gamification in training.

What is gamification in training?

In training, gamification is the process of applying gaming designs and concepts to learning or training sessions to make them more engaging. Instead of being taught through lesson plans, individuals learn through interactive gamification. This creates an interactive and rewarding learning environment.

Gamification is commonly used in tandem with bite-sized lessons to deliver learning in a more digestible and entertaining way.

How to implement gamification in training

1. Use gamification within existing training

2. Add avatar login features

3. Change the format of complex lessons

4. Offer feedback throughout courses

5. Elevate your learning platform

6. Create a peer setting

7. Build in awards

8. Encourage learning platform interaction

9. Communicate your training plan

Once you know the benefits gamification can have, the next step is how do you use it in training?

Chances are you already have an online learning platform in place, but what is the process for adding gamification to it?

Here are some steps to take to infuse your training with gamification.

1. Use gamification within existing training

Instead of inventing games which can be costly and time-consuming, take a look at your existing materials. Where can gaming elements be inserted? Look for places where you want employees to solve challenges and change behaviors. Then add gaming elements at these points in the training process.

2. Add avatar login features

If your learning platform has a simple login feature, consider using avatars instead. Allow teams to edit and change their profiles to fit their personalities. And consider adding a team login function. For example, human resource members would have access to a group HR activity feed. They would see notifications, news, and any updates relative to them. This creates a team mentality which fosters camaraderie and invites healthy competition.

3. Change the format of complex lessons

We touched on this a bit before, but with gamification in training, complex sessions should be broken out into sub training sessions. Think of it in terms of a video game you may play. You must complete one section of the game before advancing to the next. Once you have completed all sections of the game, you win.

With training, after someone completes a section, there is an evaluation based on that material. Once they pass a section points are accumulated and they move to the next section. These points can be used to see where each learner is within the training process. It is both rewarding to receive these points and a motivation factor if your peer is ahead of you in the process.

4. Offer feedback throughout courses

If your sessions or courses are built in a more traditional format saving feedback for the end, change this. With gamification in training, feedback is given throughout a training course. This ensures teams are learning as they progress through the course. It also helps learn more complex topics by making sure simpler concepts are learned first. Feedback on these simpler concepts is given, changes are incorporated, and then learners are ready to build on the basics.

5. Elevate your learning platform

Teams and companies know training is important. The issue is sometimes that it’s an afterthought. For example, you have a new product launch and then realize your salespeople need training on this new product. Instead of putting training on the back burner, make your online learning platform more interactive and cement it as a tool that teams need to visit often. Consider adding features like deadlines or appointments to your learning platform. That way, teams will need to access their platform periodically, which will keep training top-of-mind.

Ready for a Modern Learning Platform?

Take your learning to the next level with Continu.

6. Create a peer setting

Whether you are using a blended learning format or strictly an eLearning one, a peer-focused approach is ideal for gamification in training. Feedback is great from an instructor, but sometimes it means more coming from a co-worker. Plus, highlighting the successes of one employee can motivate others to achieve higher results.

7. Build in awards

Just like you may get points by advancing in a video game level, gamification in training offers awards. Look at your training sessions and see where you can add these in. It could be badges, recognition or an employee perk like an extra day off. This could also be taken one step further with a formal points system. For example, every level of points achieved earns a certain reward. The top point earners could be highlighted in a company-wide newsletter or Intranet motivating others to do the same.

8. Encourage learning platform interaction

Awards should be given out for professional achievements, but you can also give them out for learning achievements. Team members who help their coworkers with a training session or add comments within an online training session should be awarded. Whenever someone adds value to the platform, consider giving them a designations like a badge.

9. Communicate your training plan

Motivation is key to successful training engagement. If people don't know why they're in a training session, they won't put 100% into learning. Make sure you take time during training sessions to explain why learners are taking this particular course, what they will learn, and how it will benefit their job. Also, if a course will be broken up into subsections, explain what you'll go over next after each section. This creates anticipation and keeps teams engaged throughout complex training courses.

Why Gamify? 

The short answer is, most training is boring. Add that to the fact that attention spans are at an all-time low and a general sense that there just isn't enough time, and you need a solution that meets people where they are. Training videos were an early antidote, but now even they're considered too long and too boring.

However: Short, fun, and interactive lessons are the name of the gamified learning trend, which can increase understanding and retention. However, gamification also speaks to kinesthetic learners and can offer a refreshing mix-up to the status quo.

Makes learning fun

Teams can have negative associations with traditional training. People are constantly asking themselves, “Why is this necessary?” and “What am I taking away from this?” With gamification in training, teams can actually having fun while learning. This keeps everyone more engaged and more likely to recall what they have learned on the job.

More interactive

Instead of sitting in front of a computer watching a lesson or attending a lecture-style class, gamification in training is more interactive. Learners are given real-life scenarios and situations and asked how to respond. This forces a deeper knowledge of the materials and a more realistic approach to learning. Plus, this can be done on an individual level or as a team.

Feedback throughout sessions

With more traditional training, you learn your score or are given advice once your session is completed, with gamification in training, teams get feedback as they go. This ongoing feedback is more helpful because it allows teams to make adjustments and improve along the way.

Changes habits

We all have habits and often do not recognize these unless they are pointed out to us. With gamification in training, these habits can be changed through repeated retrieval and space repetition. Basically repeated retrieval and space repetition is spacing out the same learning session over time. For example, one learning session may be broken into four sections with one week off in between each session. It has been proven that this format creates more knowledge retention and more time for self-reflection. The end result is more information learned and less behavioral mistakes made.

Ideal for all training

When you onboard a new hire, your hope is they will stay on and become a valuable member of the team for years to come. Plus, since you hire all types of people, one team member may require different training than the next. That’s why gamification in training works: You can incorporate it into training of all types, from sales, to customer support or compliance training.

Benefits the bottom line

This may be a given, but sometimes organizations lose sight of the ultimate goal which is to a successful and profitable company. Why? Because they forget about the details in order to achieve this. By using gamification in training, employees retain more and enjoy the learning process. In return, they utilize more of these skills on the job and make the company stronger. Plus, they invest in their own success and that of the company’s, which can make them more likely to stay long-term.

Gamification in action

Now that you know how to infuse your learning platform with gamification, let’s take a look at how companies put it into action. Here are some real-life examples of companies gamifying their training programs.

Manager training

Siemens used gamification in training to help its operations managers successfully run its plants. They used a game called PlantVille. It mimics the popular Zynga game, FarmVille. Basically, the game is a simulation experience of the roles a plant manager typically has. Players need to navigate these daily job responsibilities and make decisions based on the best plan for their plant.

This game’s goal is to teach team members about Siemens' products and solutions while building important behavioral changes for success on the job.  Players are assessed on quality, satisfaction, safety, and timeliness. This game is fun, but also teaches valuable lessons that strengthen job performance and the company as a whole.

Sales training

Sales training is crucial for any company. In order to make your teams most effective in selling, add gamification in training. Take SAP for example. They have a large sales force with constant new product rollouts. The sales team needs to master each of these new offerings in order to effectively sell them.

So SAP added a gamification tool called Roadwarrior. This is an app that offers a multiple choice-style game where the sales team members compete to become the leading product expert. The game is designed to teach the latest technology products and also simulates a typical sales meeting with a potential customer. The end result is a healthy dose of competition while getting sales team members to memorize new product offerings. And then to effectively sell these new products and gain new customers.

New software training

Companies are constantly looking for ways to improve workflow. One of these ways companies help their employees is through new software rollouts. The issues managers ask themselves are:

• Was the money spent on the new software worth it?

• Will people use it?

• Will it be effective? 

One way to quickly answer these questions is to use gamification in training for a new software program rollout.

Take MessageOps who started using Office 365 Adoption as a way to manage day to day operations in a cloud-based setting. To motivate its employees to learn and use this new software, they gamified it. Some of the ways they accomplished this is by giving team members missions to learn. Once an employee learned a section of the new software, they earned badges, received prizes, and got recognition from the company. There is also a leaderboard displaying top performers creating competition between employees. This example of gamification in training motivates employees to learn the new software and more importantly start using it on a daily basis.

Where does gamification fit into your training?

We’ve touched upon some of the ways gamification in training can help companies of any size. The benefits like making learning fun, building a team environment, and making employees more engaged are all important. Plus, team members will retain more of what’s being taught making the entire company more competitive and profitable.

If you use gamification in your training, we’d love to hear what works well for you. How do you use it? What are some examples of your company gamified? Let us know your thoughts.

Related Posts

Bring Continu to your organization today.

Let us know what you need
Get a personalized demo of Continu
Say hello to your new Learning Amplification Platform™