Gamification in personnel development
7 ideas for playful education and training
Personnel development is about more than just conveying content. Its purpose is not merely to educate employees, but also motivate and inspire them. It should create a positive learning culture within the company, foster employee loyalty and make learning fun. With gamification, you can integrate game-like elements into your learning process and make knowledge sharing much more enjoyable for all involved.
Just imagine: Your learners start to approach learning with a positive attitude and intrinsic motivation, even when it comes to what can generally be seen as less interesting topics like compliance. They excel in their growth and explore new topics with eagerness and curiosity.
Discover the many possibilities for integrating gamification into your education and training programs, and be inspired by our top seven ideas for making personnel development more fun for everyone.
What is gamification?
Gamification is the art of integrating gaming elements and techniques into non-gaming environments to promote engagement, participation and motivation. It’s about harnessing the captivating nature of games and translating it to the work or learning context. Gamification turns what can feel like routine into an exciting and interactive experience.
The elements used come from both traditional analog games and modern computer ones. Most of us are already familiar with the elements and find them easy to understand. For example, most users intuitively know how a progress bar, points system, or power gauge works.
What is required for gamification to work?
For gamification to work in eLearning, it must be user-centric. This means that the UX (user experience) design must be tailored to the needs, skills and preferences of the learners.
They have to be able to understand all of the elements intuitively. Otherwise they will become confused and frustrated. The cognitive load of the UI (user interface) should also be as low as possible, and learners should be able to focus on the content rather than understanding the controls.
Challenges and rewards in a gamification environment must be appropriate and achievable to avoid frustration, while also providing incentives for additional effort. The feedback mechanisms, such as immediate responses or progress indicators, are also crucial, as they continuously inform the learner of their achievements and encourage self-reflection.
Get eLearning experts on board if you’re thinking about implementing gamification into your personnel development programs. Ask for detailed advice, both in terms of the appropriate software, and the didactic principles and design of the learning content. This way, you’ll avoid investing time and money in projects that will not achieve the desired goals.
The benefits of gamification in personnel development
The positive effect of gamification on learning behavior has now been scientifically proven (e.g. in this study). It significantly increases how much learners engage with the content and is therefore an effective complement to traditional personnel development.
Incorporating gamification elements into your personnel development benefits you and your employees in many different ways:
Increasing employee motivation
Gamification adds an element of fun to the learning process. Exciting challenges, competitions and rewards increase employee engagement. They learn not because they have to, but because they want to. This increased commitment leads to deeper and more sustainable knowledge acquisition.
Actively interacting with the various elements of a program encourages active learning. Instead of passively absorbing information, learners apply their knowledge in practical, game-like scenarios. This promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and gives learners a practical form of reference.
Improving learning culture
Gamification makes learning a collaborative, teambuilding experience. Shared learning objectives and challenges create a stronger sense of solidarity within the group. Employees exchange ideas, learn from each other, and support each other.
Each employee has their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Gamification tools give you the opportunity to adapt content to each learner’s level of knowledge. Increase difficulty through level progression, or let learners choose their own level with pre-tests.
Feedback and recognition
Our brains love dopamine. And few things release dopamine as quickly as positive feedback on our behavior and decisions. In a gamified learning environment, your employees receive immediate feedback on their performance. This increases learning motivation while also helping to reinforce what has been learned. Plus, achievements receive visual recognition, which promotes learner satisfaction and self-confidence.
Fostering creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation drive your business forward. Creative employees find solutions to problems faster, and are more likely to come up with new ideas. Gamification encourages creativity and opens the mind to new, innovative approaches.
7 ideas for gamification in personnel development
There are countless ways to incorporate gamification into your personnel development. Even small elements such as progress bars can have a big impact. But developing games in-house, or creatively adapting existing ones for that matter, is a great way to make learning fun in your company. Here are seven tried-and-tested methods that are guaranteed to make your personnel development more entertaining and motivating.
It’s a method that many of us might remember from school or university. In what is known as microlearning, the learning content is served in small, easily digestible chunks. The classic flashcard principle (discarding the cards you have retained and repeating the ones you haven’t), is a great way to solidify knowledge. Just a few minutes a day is enough to familiarize yourself with new topics or deepen existing knowledge.
Flashcard apps enable you to reach all of your employees, even those without their own computer workstation. The mobile-ready content can be accessed and used from anywhere. Whether in the office, on the shop floor, on the train or on the learner’s couch at home.
Scenario-based learning integrates realistic and practical scenarios into the learning process. It puts learners in simulated situations where they have to make decisions and solve problems, similar to real-life work contexts. Gamification elements such as role-playing games, storytelling and feedback loops increase immersion and interactivity.
Scenario-based learning is particularly helpful for putting theory into practice, offering a unique opportunity to do so in a protected space. It is particularly well-suited to training soft skills and communication skills.
Test out different learning scenarios
Leaderboards are rankings that visualize your learners’ achievements and progress. You can use them to display the key figures you want to promote. For example, the ten employees with the most correct answers or the 15 employees with the most learning time clocked, or the most completed modules.
Public recognition acts as a strong motivator. It fosters healthy competition by comparing performance in a playful way.
Leaderboards help learners to set and achieve goals and provide clear guidance on where each person stands in relation to others. In addition, they strengthen the sense of community and, when used correctly, can foster collaboration and commitment within the team. But a word of caution: If the competitive pressure gets too high, it can also demotivate your employees. Think carefully about which key figures give a fair picture, or whether you should display the data on the leaderboards anonymously.
Collecting tokens is a well-known and proven strategy for developing long-term motivation. Your employees receive virtual coins, points or other tokens for achieving learning objectives or completing tasks. These tokens can then be exchanged for rewards or privileges. This method not only provides gratification through immediate rewards, but also promotes long-term commitment and continuous learning. Collecting tokens creates a sense of progress and performance, which significantly increases overall motivation and engagement with the learning process.
Most knowledge tests are very standardized. Tests are often more intimidating than they are motivating. Gamified tests are therefore a welcome change. Incorporate gaming elements into your quizzes. Time limits, point systems, or even knowledge battles between learners. This approach not only increases learner engagement and motivation, but can also reduce stress and exam anxiety. The game-like nature of the tests has a positive impact on the learning experience, resulting in more effective knowledge absorption and retention. Gamified tests offer a dynamic alternative to traditional assessment methods and foster a more active and in-depth learning experience.
In the gamification world, achievements are virtual awards that employees earn for reaching specific goals or milestones in the learning process. They serve as recognition for their performance and promote a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
For example, virtual medals for one hour, 10 hours, and 100 hours of learning time. Or you could add funny or particularly tricky achievements to provide an extra incentive. How about a “Night Owl” award for a quiz completed between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., or a “Globetrotter” achievement for learners who have completed learning modules in five different countries?
Achievements motivate employees to develop and take on challenges by providing clear goals. They can also be used to create healthy competition and encourage collaboration within the team. Awards are not only motivating, but also help create a culture of recognition and positive feedback within the company.
Quests are an element that some might recognize from various computer games. Players—or, in our case, learners—are given a task to complete. This task is usually accompanied by a little adventure and a story. There is then a reward for completing the task.
Combine storytelling with game-like elements and an intelligent reward system. Send your learners on a journey and let them discover new content, solve challenging puzzles, and compete in epic knowledge battles.
Learners who generally enjoy online role-playing games or stories will love seeing this form of gamification in personnel development. Try it with a small series of quests and develop further ideas from there.
The bottom line.
Gamification offers fantastic opportunities to expand your personnel development program and make it more attractive to learners. It motivates people to learn, is interactive, entertaining and increases engagement. From flashcards to scenario-based learning to gamified tests, gamification offers a variety of ways to solidify your company’s learning culture and efficiently develop your employees’ skills.
Try out simple formats with intuitive software before you start developing your own games. Create a unique learning experience with gamification. We can help you develop and implement gamified eLearning programs.