Early hype surrounding Game Based Learning for business hasn’t come to fruition. In January 2013, Forbes published an article by Brian Burke (Industry Analyst) which predicted that by 2014, 80% of the existing Gamification applications would fail to meet their business objectives but that the longer term view was more positive and that by 2015, 40% of the Global 1000 organisations would be using GBL / Gamification as their primary mechanism to transform business operations.
So why the failure? Burke’s analysis was that it was primarily due to the poor design of the program. This design included defining the business objectives (Ref 2.5) as well as application definition, deployment and adoption techniques.
However, he also predicted that as these design practices improve and organizations focused on defining clear business objectives, that GBL and Gamification would have a significant business impact and become an important means for organisations to engage audiences at a deeper level.
Technology companies like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, SAP and Google, as well as retailers like GAME have used game based learning for business and also gamification in various forms within their training programs for years. They’ve discovered that both employees and retail associates show more interest in the subject of the training, are more engaged during training and have better retention of the subject than with traditional training techniques.
For example, HP and Microsoft run online reward based training schemes for their employees and retail associates whereby they receive points for completing training modules and can redeem those points for prizes or discounts. Some of these schemes also encourage continued use by introducing tiered levels (expert, specialist etc.) gained by completing more modules – and are rewarded with increased levels of discounts or access to exclusive prizes.
GAME stores allow access to their employee training portal via the screen on the tills thereby allowing employee’s access during quiet trading periods during the day.
Leaders in GBL and gamification such as Nike, Microsoft, Quirky and Khan Academy share some design characteristics, most notably player-centric design. In each of these cases, the key design point is to motivate the players to achieve their goals. The mistake many companies make is to identify the business objectives without clearly identifying the player objectives. The sweet spot for GBL is where the business objectives and player objectives
Now, based on the evidence available, more companies are adopting this style of learning as when designed correctly, gamification has proven to be very successful in engaging people and motivating them to change behaviours, develop skills or solve problems. Gamification is currently being applied to customer engagement, employee performance, training and education, innovation management, personal development, sustainability, health and wellness – and the list continues to grow.
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