Not All Fun and Games: Gamification Obstacles

Training News
by Training Daily Advisor Staff

Yesterday’s Advisor highlighted how corporate universities are evolving alongside new technologies. Today, we’re taking a look at some obstacles surrounding gamification, which is becoming a popular technological training solution in the workforce.

Gamification is an effective tool to make training engaging and fun, because it uses the “dynamics of games,” such as collaboration, chance, and progression, to tap learners’ intrinsic desire to master and complete tasks, says Monica Cornetti, founder and CEO of Sententia Games.

When done well, gamification makes training more engaging because it requires participants to complete a challenge, helps them see their progression, and gives them instant feedback and reinforcement, she says.

However, it is important to recognize and address common obstacles that can crop up when using gamification in training. The obstacles include failing to identify why gamification is being used and not knowing whom you are designing for, Cornetti says. Most trainers “don’t do assessments of who the players are and what motivates them.”

However, this is key to success with gamification, since the concept relies on triggering a reaction in learners, she explains. “We have to really know what makes our people tick. Most designs don’t take the time to do that.”

When using gamification, Cornetti advises against relying solely on the earning of points and badges and on earning status on leaderboards. Those elements are “just the tip of the iceberg” and appeal only to a small segment of learners. “A lot of people are not motivated by that.” Plus, if the earning of points and badges is not tied to something else, learners will get bored with the process, she says.

Cornetti also cautions against trying to add gamification to an ineffective process or training program. “You can’t put gamification on top of something that is broken and expect gamification to fix it.”

If you want to add gamification to your training, Cornetti recommends “starting small. Start with a program that you’ve already vetted,” and add gamification to make the training more interesting.

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