Engagement is the key ingredient when putting together a recipe for a successful professional learning or training program. As a growing number of studies highlight, looking to the world of video gaming is helping trainers get their students the next level.
“Within professional training and development, a much needed move away from content and toward how individuals interact with that content is underway,” explains Philippe Riveron, CEO of Learning Tribes and Chief Ventures Officer for Sitel Group. “And it is within this transformational environment that gamification has proven to be an important element in how we engage with learners.”
This week, the Los Angeles Convention Center has been playing host to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (also known as E3). Billed as the world’s biggest event for all things computer- and video-game related, it attracts thousands of leading brands – from console makers like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, to the biggest studios such as Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Valve and Ubisoft.
However, E3 is now a mecca for educators and researchers demonstrating how they’re leveraging the latest technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for classroom use, or looking for the next big gaming concept that could have a disruptive effect on how people attain and retain knowledge.
“Anyone with first-hand experience of a VR or AR headset should have an idea of how potent the force of technology is going to be in the future of learning,” comments Riveron. “But gamification is about much more than headsets. It’s about bringing elements of the gaming world – such as rewards, leaderboards and power-ups – into a non-gaming context.”
A loyalty card for a restaurant that yields a free meal after 10 stamps is a simple and very effective form of gamification. As is an employee-of-the-month program. But as digital becomes the new normal, opportunities for innovation are growing by the day.
“The smartphone is ubiquitous. Practically every adult has direct access to a connected classroom in his or her pocket, any time, day or night,” says Riveron. “And, familiarity with the smartphone interface means that a big barrier to delivering learning has been removed – understanding how to navigate and engage with the unit.”
Apps and casual mobile gaming have disappeared into normal behavior meaning that there is a ready template for presenting content easier to engage with as users don’t need to figure out how it works.
“This combination of mobility and familiarity – thanks to mobile gaming – makes it easier for companies like Learning Tribes to maximize the benefits of training by breaking up complex subjects or areas into digestible pieces,” explains Riveron. “Following a gaming style approach also makes users more receptive and engaged with repetition – completing tasks multiple times until the training become second nature.”
The final benefit of leveraging gamification and delivering lessons via mobile is that the best forms of gaming are ‘sticky.’ They hold users’ attention and encourage them to improve and to come back for more.
“A mobile device means that employees can learn at their own pace, dipping in and out, when they have time and are free of other distractions,” says Riveron. “The engaging nature of a game, sparking a user’s competitive streak, or joy of applying logic to problem solving, ensures that he or she will make time to continue completing their professional development.”
Further adding to the stickiness is that mobile puts the learner in control. He or she is accessing the content when they want it. Lessons are not being pushed to them, instead it’s the learner that’s actively demanding more content. This element brings the added benefit of changing existing conceptions of professional training and development. Oftentimes an employee may have developed a negative attitude toward learning due to the way it was pushed to them in traditional forms – as a one-way module.
However, one should never forget that gamification is just one element of delivering successful training.
“Each client has different needs and in order to meet those objectives, Learning Tribes always develops a made-to-measure solution,” explains Riveron. “We offer a solution that will leverage the optimum use of traditional and cutting-edge approaches and methods to fit with what needs to be achieved form a learners’ perspective.”
From face-to-face training to harnessing the latest technological innovations from VR to MOOCs and mobile, Learning Tribes has firmly established itself over the past 15 years as a world leader in the provision of training solutions that meet the challenges of customer experience.