gamifyI have noticed that when it comes to gamification people usually fall into one of two camps:

  1. They love it and see positive effects.
  2. They hate it and think it’s a waste of time.

Interestingly, both opinions under certain circumstances are true.

Gamfication may very well be a waste of time if it is not implemented properly or the course material isn’t conducive to gamification elements (such as points and badges).

Of these two sentiments, the second one is more common in the corporate sector.

ELearning and other training events already suffer from unfortunate stereotypes. Adding “games” to work seems like it would be more of a distraction.

But this way of thinking isn’t fully supported. In fact, gamification use is growing in the corporate sector.

Reports are indicating that close to 50% of corporate processes today are going to be gamified in some capacity by the end of 2015. The gaming techniques can includes badges, points, avatars, rewards, challenges, levels, leaderboards, or some form of combination of these elements.

While it could may that this could be distracting, it has been suggested that gamification is actually conducive to a more productive workforce.

When implemented properly gamification can motivate employees, increase their engagement with the company and corporate policies, and open lines of communication for productive process feedback.

Gamification also goes a long way into helping companies create robust learning opportunities, something that is expected by employees in today’s modern workforce. Lack of personal educational opportunities in the workplace is often cited as a main reason talent will leave a company in the first place.

Gamification, like so many areas of elearning, is on the rise and with good reason!


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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


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You are SO correct that, when done poorly, gamification is a waste of time. The problem with most corporations trying to incorporate gamification is that they confuse games and gamification. Games focus on accruing points and “winning.” Gamification focuses on using GAME MECHANICS to allow learners to use exploration and discovery to solve a business problem. Many successful gamification programs don’t even use points and badges; rather, they focus on gathering and utilizing resources to fight an “enemy” (inefficiency, or whatever the learning point is) to achieve a positive outcome–or to fail.

I have also noticed another problem with most corporate folks trying to incorporate gamification is that none of them have played games such as World of Warcraft, She Knows (which is an interactive game-based movie that has no points or badges, but rather asks the player to user deductive logic to solve the mystery), or myriad other true gamified experiences. If you don’t play those types of games, it’s difficult to know what an effective gamified solution looks like.

@Vicki, you’re right on the money, to be able to effectively utilize games you must PLAY games, for without it you do not understand “flow” and what it is about a particular genre of game experience that bring that type of immersive engagement. Having done the WoW thing (Level 70 Warlock) a few years ago, and I routinely watch my now adult Children play on a regular basis, that’s my research lab….grin. I do ask them questions, and I’ve gotten some surprising answers I didn’t expect sometimes. So much of it depends on the prevailing corporate culture you’re dealing with, what the demographics of the employee base is, etc. as to whether these approaches would be accepted and lead to effective learning experiences. But, it IS good to see the innovation that is taking place within the e-learning community, the last five years in particular has brought about tremendous change, and Instructional Designers struggle to keep up and keep experiences relevant. Being a Graphic Artist as well as an ISD I have the luxury of being able to create all types of environments for courses, everything from a 1940’s Art Noir film, to campy Sci-fi/Horror movies of the 1950’s to comic book art and pulp fiction novels – it’s not only more fun designing these experiences, it really grabs peoples attention for they are different. The storyline has to be relevant, fit the environment, and seamlessly blend in those gaming elements, not always easy to do, so I think that is why so many go for the easier “low hanging fruit” instead of creating a really effective “gamified” solution. But I wholeheartedly agree with your observations and viewpoint.

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