Gamification in eLearning has become incredibly popular for good reason. There are a wide range of benefits to learners that elevate learning outcomes and help organizations reach their training goals. It also has a broad range of possible applications. The limits to how it can be used in corporate training is limited only by an organization’s creativity. But with all the hype, is it possible that too much gamification can miss the mark and become wasteful of time and resources instead?
Gamification works because of its ability to activate the human brain’s natural inclination toward competition and achievement. We innately enjoy games. Participation in them, just like exercise, releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. Advancement, rewards, and achievement are naturally engaging and when our engagement is increased, so too is our knowledge retention and absorption.
But gamification is not always necessary, or even smart, to use. In some cases could potentially be a waste of resources.
One way in which gamification can become a waste is when it’s poorly designed and becomes overwhelming and distracting. When there are two many game elements combined at once, what would typically be engaging and fun simply becomes noise and distraction. When there are too many rewards or achievements too easily accumulated, their importance diminishes and notifications simply become an unwelcome distraction from the pertinent material a learning is trying to absorb.
Another less obvious way it can become a waste is if the content and culture is not actually conducive to the methodology in the first place. Though gamification can be used on a broad scope, the most important aspect to its success is to first understand the context and audience it’s being designed for. Forcing gamification into situations or onto employees will be a waste of time if it doesn’t make sense or they don’t understand how it fits into the larger context of their learning experience or job responsibilities. It will be a waste of time and money to force gamification into an environment where it’s inappropriate.
Gamification can be an effective tool to boost learning outcomes and workforce performance, if it’s well designed and deployed appropriately. Too many elements are distracting instead of engaging. Additionally the audience, culture, organizational goals, available resources and content must be considered before attempting to use it. When done poorly or without the proper planning, it can truly be detrimental to achieving learning goals. Instead of boosting performance and productivity, it can wind up costing organizations valuable time and resources.
Interested in learning how to effectively integrate gamification into your learning strategy? We can help. Contact us today!