Nowadays we hear a lot about gamification, and nearly 99% of the time it is in the context of online courses.
And why shouldn’t it be?
Technology has made it possible to incorporate some really neat gamification elements inside digital courses.
You can have badges flying on the screen, points being awarded, leaderboards, unlocked achievements, and more. It can really make for an enjoyable learning experience (not to mention it has been proven to be quite effective).
But what about live training events? Can these benefit from similar gamification principles?
I say: “Yes!”
The simple concepts of “rewards” has been around in instructor-led training for a long time. Heck, since grade school. I remember being in fifth grade and our teacher used to give us points (via stamps) for good behavior, doing well on assignments, helping other students, and so on. We could then “cash in” these points for candy or other fringe benefits. We loved it.
While something similar is possible in live training events it isn’t very practical to go person-to-person giving them a stamp. It takes time to cultivate that level of gaming culture.
However, if you have a large audience you could start off by putting them into teams. This makes the leaderboard and award process that much easier.
You know how badges pop-up on a screen in an online course? You could copy this same behavior by creating really big badges and awarding them to a group of learners. If you have a multi-day event consider letting any earned points and badges be cashed in for benefits… like a ticket for a free drink. 😉
Of course you will need to assess the best way to leverage gamification for your live event. My examples were to some degree silly but that doesn’t make them impractical. In the right context it can work.
The most important part is making sure that everyone knows the rules of the game and to establish buy-in from the very beginning.
Here’s a tip to establish buy-in: create a one-hour introductory (online) course that attendees must take prior to the event. In the course, incorporate the point and badge system and make a point to explain it. Then, when people arrive you can tell them that these same elements are going to be applicable over the course of training!
I promise that using gamification in a live event will bring about a positive disposition to the training. Sure, some people won’t really be into it. That’s fine. The important thing is that they remember the content anyhow so as long as that is happening then you are accomplishing your goals.