Using Employee Training Gamification for Organizational Learning

game1Put your gamer pants on, folks, because today we’re going to talk about employee training gamification, and I don’t just mean a passive discussion of what it is. Gamification has, in a very brief time, gone from a quirky, edgy theory to a fully-explored and widely-employed method of engagement and retention for training as well as daily work.

The thing is, though, that people are afraid to embrace the actual gamer culture and logic in how to design employee training gamification into something that works as well as articles like these laud it for. Well, I’m a business guy, a training guy and a gamer so allow me to take a specific type of game, and point out how its basic model is very ideal as one to base training gamification on. The more of these details you integrate into it, the better, so be creative and let this be a fun experience to create as well as “play through” like any game. Just because it has a purpose, business people, does not excuse it from being a good game.

Raise you’re familiar, at least as far as terminology, with the gaming genre, the RPG (role playing game). Well, silly, you just raised your hand while reading at your computer and I can’t see you. But, you’ve at least heard of the RPG most likely. So let’s talk about how that system works for a moment.

RPGs are a less action packed type of game, very text heavy with story, exploration and character development. A character or characters explore the world, meeting people and seeing a story unfold as they battle through monsters and obstacles to gain levels to become stronger, wiser and more powerful. They’re like playing through a book, in a sense. There are a lot of metrics and statistics to manage such as strength, agility, defense, resistance, luck and in many, magical prowess as well.

What else has a lot of statistics to manage? Learning! So, you have a common, very intricate game model which has a lot of statistics and metrics by nature, and a professional scenario you wish to gamify which has just as much fluff to mange.

So, group your people into parties, and make each set of learning a test. As they complete tests and learn new things, each individual earns experience points. Failing loses none, but gaining advances. When all members of a party reach a certain level, then everyone gets an even greater reward, thus allowing for team work incentives.

So, we have a leveling and team system with rewards and abstracts tied to concretes. Now, system-wise, we just need to account for the famous RPG monster attack. How do you convert the random encounter into training gamification? Simple. Have a series of lotteries for extra tests and monitored tasks they, at a given level, should be able to perform. At various points, have the groups have a monster encounter, where completing one of these they draw will grant them success, giving them more experience points and privileges.

Encourage mild but civil competition between the groups to kill the most “monsters” and get to the levels faster. Now, just be creative, work out a plot, some characters, and quest premises for the various segments of learning that tie in organically. People will enjoy the story, the flight of fancy, and an actual game system that is fun, non threatening and helps them learn the material.

So, if you’re interested in employee training gamification, then look to RPG franchises like Final Fantasy, Xenoblade and Dragon Quest for inspiration on games that translate flawlessly to gamification, as well our gamification examples page.
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Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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