Play games, learn more


A revolution is quietly impacting the way organizations educate students and workers. Gamification is increasingly being integrated into curriculums and courses. Incorporating game play produces a better educational experience by adding realism, fostering competition and delivering quicker progress feedback.   The value for the organization and worker is compelling:  improved problem solving and collaboration skills, higher learner engagement and greater knowledge retention.  Organizations should consider how best to leverage Gamification methods into their most important training regimes.

Gamification programs blend the principles of video game play, social networking, data analytics and behavioural psychology into a formidable platform for inciting change and engagement. Organizational training and education is a natural place to include gaming.  The teaching/learning process is often dull, data starved and overly mechanical, which depresses student engagement and makes the linking of training results to business value difficult.   Gamification accelerates learning by  leveraging the power of digital technology and intrinsic motivators such as: providing instantaneous feedback (mastery), egging on the competition (social interaction), and rewarding even tiny steps of progress (recognition).

“The basic structure of video games — having to master one level before moving to another, repeating an action numerous times, and receiving feedback in the form of results about what works and what doesn’t — mirrors how skills are developed in real life,” says David Maddocks, president of WorkSmart Education.  “The added benefit for the workplace of using games is that employees practice in a safe situation and not on live customers.”

Incorporating gaming principles has helped companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Nike and Samsung foster richer consumer-brand interactions, improve operational productivity and drive higher levels of employee engagement over the past few years. Corporate training is not far behind on the curve  Few companies have done more to incorporate Gamification into learning than SAP, one of the world’s largest software firms.

It is not easy for a sales rep to keep up to date on the ever-changing mobile offerings and technical considerations of a large, dynamic company like SAP (and then effectively leverage this knowledge in front of clients). That’s where the Roadwarrior game comes in. This game instructs sales reps through a simulated customer meeting on how to respond to the buyer’s question and what information to provide. Providing information on the customer and their needs helps the sales rep design a unique technical and business solution. By properly preparing for meetings and correctly answering clients’ questions, sales reps can move up a ladder, unlocking levels and earning points and badges on a leaderboard.

Once all customer meetings in one level have been completed, the user proceeds to the next level with new customers and requirements. This allows sales reps to gather cross-technology knowledge and to practice multi-level selling. Players can also challenge other players to uncover the best answers for difficult question. Training engagement is enhanced by the use of intrinsic motivators such as team and peer-based competition, regular socializing that foster an esprit de corps and the growing confidence that comes from handling increasingly difficult client questions and situations.

New hire orientation

Rocketeer is an ingenious idea tool to convey important corporate information.  Developed in 2011, this little flash game  welcomes SAP employees when they visit their corporate landing page.  By controlling the speed and angle of the rocket, users can navigate the rocket past obstacles, which are nothing more than signs showing key SAP factoids and news. The further you can fly the rocket without hitting any of the signs, the more you learn about SAP. Rocketeer generates more engagement and information retention than merely reading off a long list of facts.

Closer to home

Some Canadian organizations are already using gamification techniques to improve their educational experience and learning outcomes.  The York School, a leading independent school in Toronto (disclosure:  my child attends the school), is integrating game playing in the teaching of Math and Science.  According to Justin Medved, head of Learning, Innovation & Technology, “These tools give teachers unprecedented insight into the learning process while at the same time engaging students in a fun and familiar way.  The data collected through game playing is allowing us to tailor our teaching to respond to individual student needs in a way previously not possible.”   At the other end of the learning spectrum is the Canadian Military. The National Post reported that they are using popular video games like Call of Duty and specialized video simulations to enhance ordinary training. In addition to creating customizable, ‘real world’ environments, games have the important benefit of being able to train more soldiers at lower cost — and much lower risk of accidents.

For more information on our services and work, please visit the Quanta Consulting Inc. web site.

 

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