For staff training and development to be effective, it needs to be two things: efficient and engaging. Not only do managing staff want to share information with employees, they also need to impress upon workers how the knowledge is important in their daily responsibilities and keep them interested in learning more.
One of the most effective new techniques for encouraging employee engagement during training is gamification. This non-traditional method involves the use of interactive game scenarios and critical thinking to approach business-related issues. The purpose is not only to make learning interesting but also to bring workers into the situations instead of letting them be passive observers. Online interactive applications are joining traditional employee training programs and trends indicate they may represent the future of corporate education.
Gamification for Global Learning
Still not sold? Although some people scoffed at the idea initially, gamification has become popular on a global scale, and is proving its very real financial value for businesses worldwide. According to Pando Daily, the latest estimates from technology research giant Gartner suggest that more than 70 percent of Global 2000 businesses will offer at least one gamified application by 2015. In terms of dollars, the total value of such programs may reach up to $2.8 billion by 2017.
The news source reported that one global company improved total profits by $8 million over the course of a mere two months, all by training employees through gamification. This enterprise recognized the need to train international sales staff on its online price book, but was challenged by the fact that the database was constantly changing and evolving. Instead of sticking with their usual routine of holding an annual training day, however, management decided on developing a training program for employees that would gamify the updates. The success was greater than even corporate management had anticipated. Not only did workers effectively learn the material, they picked it up faster and more thoroughly than ever before.
The Joy of Gaming
Of course, the human factor plays into gamification’s success. What benefited the aforementioned global company, as well as many others, is the proven fact that employees respond positively to game methods as compared to traditional training. According to Forbes, gamification has an “addictive” property—but the good kind. By encouraging people to engage and compete in online interactive activities, the techniques incentivize learning and provide tangible checkpoints and goals that employees can strive to meet. Whether the aim is to improve customer service or to teach workers how to use new technology, being motivated by an experience rather than a textbook makes all the difference.
According to the news source, another major advantage of gamification— and a factor behind its success—is that such methods appeal to people of many different ages. Gamified training is both popular and effective among employees across varying generations. This means that businesses do not need to design different programs to suit different generations—it’s one size fits all.