You walk into a training room. You see a sparsely filled room with a few members, sitting together in clumps. Some are tapping away furiously at their laptops. Others are surreptitiously glancing at their mobile phones, politely waiting for the next break.
At the front of the room, you see a facilitator, armed with beautiful slides and mastery over her content, trying her best to keep the attendees engaged.
And yet, you know what is going to happen.
The training will be completed satsifactorily. The trainer will leave and the participants will return to everyday routines – and the intervention you planned? Another item in the checklist that can be crossed off.
But what about the impact? What about being an agent of change? What about making a difference?
A Satisfactory Experience
This situation is not uncommon. It seems to be a hopeless and inevitable destiny of training interventions across the board – irrespective of the sector, the participants or the type of intervention.
L&D teams, training companies and participants – everyone is working together to deliver a satisfactory experience. So, where can we improve?
We believe a clue to this experience lies in the word ‘satisfactory’.
A satisfactory experience ticks all the boxes.
A satisfactory experience just what the doctor ordered. It’s the mass produced, lowest common denominator, stay in the middle lane, keep everyone happy kind of experience.
When we design experiences to be satisfactory, we design it to do its job well.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, satisfactory is not enough. We need ‘satisfying‘.
In Pursuit of Engagement
To go from satisfactory to satisfying is not a straightforward or easy transformation, but the results are worth it.
At The Painted Sky, we believe the way forward lies in building upon our existing, state of the art programs – and multiply their effectiveness by harnessing the science behind games.
That is, gamification.
Say Hello to Gamification
Gamification is transformation of ordinary experiences into game-like experiences to boost engagement and influence behaviour.
Gamification draws from game design, biology, technology, UI, UX, motivational psychology and behavioural psychology to boost engagement and influence behaviour.
Experience or Efficiency?
A gamification based approach favours experience over efficiency. We design to optimize the experience of the user, not the runtime of the intervention. Efficiency vs. Experience is the same as need vs. want. It’s the answer to why people are doing things.
However, implementing gamification is an art. It’s quite common to see many well meaning efforts to gamify experiences fail. That’s mainly because amateurs address the symptoms instead of the root cause.
In essence, it’s bad design.
Good Design vs. Bad Design
Gamification can bridge the gap between what you ‘need’ to do and what you ‘want’ to. However, shoddy attempts at gamification result in the superficial layering of points, badges and leaderboards. This causes people to dismiss the value gamification can bring to the table.
Points, badges & leaderboards (PBL) do have their place in gamification because they work. But, they’re not the alpha and omega of experience design and relying solely on these three components results in a shallow experience. Shallow gamification experiences can disengage, repel, insult and even offend the users.
Fun doesn’t come from using game terms, elements and mechanics. It comes from motivation. It’s not the what or the how. It’s the why.
Foundations of Gamification
Gamification is growing as a trend across the business world. It’s picking up in India, and as innovators, we feel that it is our responsibility to set up the foundations the right way.
What is the right way?
Remember that the game elements are not the game. The mechanics are not the experience.
The Process Behind Gamified Experiences
Keeping that in mind, we build up from the “feeling” of the experience we want to create to decide which elements and mechanics to use in our gamified experiences.
We start off our research with the question: “How do I want my players to feel?” and design the experience using the appropriate mechanics to deliver that experience, using an iterative approach.
Statistics about Gamification in L&D
We are not alone. Worldwide, gamification has proved its benefits and made its mark in a number of different fields. Particularly with respect to learning, development and people management, here are some numbers to corroborate our claim:
- The corporate sector worldwide will be the biggest buyer of game-based learning solutions with an expected CAGR of 54% from 2018 to 2023. (Metaari 2018-2023 Global Game-based Learning Market Report)
- In a 2018 – 2023 forecast of game-based learning growth rates for seven regions, Africa emerged with the highest growth rate of 60.1%, North America followed at 46.1%, Eastern Europe 42.8%, Western Europe 40.2%, Latin America 40%, the Middle East 32.3%, and Asia-Pacific 27.0%. (Metaari)
- Company gamification training features are said to increase by 60% the level of employee engagement and enhance productivity by up to 50%. (eLearning Learning)
- 50% of business transformation programs fail because of poor employee engagement. (European CEO)
- 35% – 60% recall performance by employees who undertook gamified training using retrieval practice combined with quizzes or course content. (EHSToday)
- 67% of students reported that a gamified course was more motivating than a traditional course. (Taylor & Francis Online)
- Most preferred gamification strategies by adult learners are progressing to different levels (30%), points/scores (27%), real-time feedback on performance (26%), progress bars (25%), activity feeds (24%), competition with friends (13%), being part of a story (11%), avatars (3%), and virtual currencies (2%). (Bravon)
- Gamification affects the willingness of students to study enjoyably, with preferences for certain gamification elements: profile updates (53%), getting points (27.2%), receiving badges (14.1%), and other awards (5.4%). (IIAKM)
Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight
Needless to say, gamification is a powerful tool in the repertoire of the modern day learning, development and people professional. By tapping into the human psyche, behavioural design and the learnings from games and gamification, we can create and deliver compelling experiences that go beyond satisfactory – and are satisfying.
Get in touch with me today at email@example.com to explore how gamified experiences can help you transform your learning interventions from a checklist into a powerful agent of change.