How Does Gamification Work?
Although it is difficult to give a clear definition of gamification, gamification is usually referred to as the integration of so-called typical elements and game processes in a non-gambling context.
One way to understand gamification is to break down into unique components and elements, each of which is not only motivating and interesting to perform, but also to repeat and to improve upon.
Often the motivating factor is accumulating points, sometimes it's the visual return and sometimes it can also be attributed to curiosity as well as the aspect of taking on a new and interesting task.
The Application of Gamification In Corporate Learning and Personal Development
In business simulations, players can learn what is required of them by performing virtual tasks under simulations of their real-life roles - be it a CEO, chief financial officer, managing director, accounts office, etc, of the virtual enterprise that they must manage.
These simulations work on the principle of action-based learning so that players can bring their ideas and visions together in the context of virtual simulation and see (within the confines of a secure environment) how this environment reacts to their actions.
Gamification in corporate learning and personal development environment directly use the five elements that are detailed below to facilitate learning in the quickest and most efficient manner possible.
1. A Powerful Narrative
Gamification entails building a narrative that engages people to participate and to achieve clearly defined goals. An appropriate and compelling narrative provides training for a motivating context.
In corporate learning environments, in particular, employees manage a replica of their roles in both unfamiliar and familiar circumstances. Employees are the central part of the story, as they are on their own, with specific missions to accomplish.
Building a powerful and compelling narrative encourages the employee’s commitment to achieving the objectives set (for example, managing disruptive events, keeping up with increased workloads, interacting with customers, etc).
2. Setting Challenging But Achievable Tasks
Gamification provides many small, short-term goals to maintain prolonged participant engagement for whatever duration required. These challenging, but achievable tasks must be used to motivate employees to begin and sustain learning.
Challenging simulations provide a realistic and secure environment in which employees can test different strategic options without fear of making mistakes. This is one of the keys to encouraging a lifelong learning process - setting up achievable short-term goals to test out the employee’s ability to try out their problem-solving techniques. When left to their own devices, employees are more likely to start and keep learning.
With short-term goals for each period, employees become increasingly familiar with new business models and dare to make innovative strategic choices as well as steadily learn how to adapt to extraordinary circumstances, along the way.
3. Setting Up Clear Interdependencies and Rules
Gamification provides well-defined rules for employees in corporate learning environments, to make them feel empowered to achieve their goals and accomplish set tasks.
Employees follow a clearly defined process, including goals to be achieved at each stage, in accordance with deadlines, and earn rewards accordingly.
The entire cycle of information analysis, decision-making, and reporting of results is repeated over each task and the best performers are identified utilizing cumulative success criteria. This regulation allows a direct understanding of an employee’s aptitude and skill level under specific situations.
Thanks to tailor-made simulations, a number of corporations today are able to quickly assimilate their employees to their new strategic directions.
In these structured environments, employees feel more empowered to achieve the set objectives, by improving their understanding of the business model in play as well as the challenges of their respective roles within the organization.
4. Facilitating Collaboration
Working together towards a common purpose motivates employees to establish mutual contacts and be more productive and creative in finding new solutions.
A collaborative environment allows employees to acquire knowledge and put it into action much faster. In the context of gamification, the element of social interaction always prevails, as employees are able to share information within their team as well as publish their discoveries and achievements on the gaming platform or social media.
Such simulations are traditionally carried out with teams of three to five employees each, who compete to improve the team's performance and decision making. Employees must work together and rely on each other's knowledge and skills to make joint decisions within the stipulated time frame.
Under such circumstances, employees can experience the impact of their team’s collective strategic decision making capability, thus placing them in better positions to find solutions that drastically improve collaboration within the company.
While working towards a common goal, employees are likely to be more emotionally vested in the task, which in turn encourages positive team behavior and creative ideas. Any new initiatives developed during these simulations could also be implemented into future corporate strategy.
5. Ranking and Skill Level
By incorporating gamification into corporate learning and personal development systems, the employees of an organization can identify their learning progress through attributes such as smart badges or display percentages.
Rankings also mean that employees can keep track of their skill level and progress against others. This keeps employees engaged and motivates them to continue their efforts in bettering their fellow employees.
This leads to improved transparency in achieving goals, as well as competition with other teams, which is a key element of motivation. As a result, the teams work harder to be identified as the most productive and efficient!
Gamification in corporate learning and personal development environments can help to transform in-company learning processes into more fun, captivating and experiential facilities that aid employees tremendously in getting used to performing at peak efficiency, under pressure, and in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, thus benefiting the company in the long-run.