Gamification: The Power of Playing Around

Fad or For Real?

Do you wonder if instructional designers are just jumping on the latest fad when they bring up games and gamification? You may be asking yourself, “How can playing a game teach my important business task? Change my employees’ perspectives? Increase our revenue? Ensure we meet standards?”

It’s statistically proven that games provide better results than traditional learning. Why is that? Well, one component is the power of failure.

At last week’s Learning Solutions conference, I attended various sessions, and one of my favorites focused on using games in e-learning. During the session, the presenter shared this quote:

No one likes to fail. So how is it that gamers can spend 80% of their time failing, and still love what they’re doing?  — Nicole Lazzaro

Failure is instructive and when combined with a well-designed game, you actually CAN teach an important task, change a perspective, or build skills to increase revenue or meet standards. By immersing your learner in the game, setting parameters that are similar to the real-life parameters, and creating a challenging quest or task, you are tapping into a natural desire to conquer and win. We know we can fail safely in the game which is not as true in real life or at our jobs.


We Won!

Learning Solutions Best of DemoFest 2018

At the conference, I saw further evidence of the power of gamification and immersive learning when our peers voted two of our courses as winners during DemoFest. Our two winners were very different yet very effective. Voted Best of Show (Vendor), one project included games on a variety of business skills including learning Excel shortcuts. These games were part of a larger project that included building 30 Micro-Courses for Pryor Learning Solutions. The conference attendees loved spending a few minutes playing these games and found themselves quickly learning and applying information in a fun and engaging way.

Our other winner, voted Best Immersive/Simulation Solution came from a very different angle and focused on a much more serious topic – how to survive an active shooter situation. We couldn’t show any violence, guns, or blood. The learner would not be applying the information after the course (and hopefully ever), and if the learner did need it, it could be months or years later. How could we help learners remember what to do? The answer, instead of building a habit, we tried to “build” a memory. Through clever, first-person videos and asking the user to make choices during the event, the user was immersed in an emotional and urgent situation yet still safe to fail. While not a strict game, it had a video-game-like feel and was quite powerful. Our peers thought so, too, and we appreciate their votes.

A Solid Trend with Solid Results

Gamification isn’t always the answer, and it’s also not a fad; it’s a solid trend that delivers solid results. So, play on, and don’t be afraid to fail while you’re doing it.

Cherie Simmons
Cherie has 25+ years of industry experience in training, strategic planning, coaching, and curriculum development. Organizations have turned to Cherie to determine and build full curriculums and facilitate tailored workshops. Cherie has designed and led entire school districts and companies through high-level strategic planning. While each strategic process is unique, she crafts them all to deliver creative approaches, strong ownership, realistic plans, and effective outcomes. Her approach to instructional design and writing e-learning content is no different. Cherie joined Artisan E-Learning as a Storyboard Project Manager who oversees the writing and direction of storyboards being developed for Artisan’s clients. She also contributes to business development.