These days, more organizations are ditching “traditional” training methods in favor of more engaging training content that appeals to the retention needs of the modern worker. Specifically, microlearning has become an extremely popular concept—focusing on the presentation of short, easily digestible “bits” of information for increased engagement, retention, and versatility across different learning styles. In fact, one recent study found that about 92% of organizations plan on increasing their usage of microlearning within the next year.
One relatively new and innovative application of microlearning that will likely see increased adaptation in the coming years is that of gamification, which aims to make training not just effective, but fun and motivating for learners.
Specifically, gamification focuses on the application of gaming concepts and elements to foster an engaging learning experience. Just as in a “regular” video game or online game, gamification-based courses and modules generally have components like badges, a points system, rewards, different “levels”, and perhaps even a leader board to motivate players/learners. For organizations developing safety training, for example, a gamification-based course may give learners the opportunity to play out real-life safety scenarios in a safe and controlled environment.
While gamification-based learning is still relatively new to the world of company training, its potential applications are becoming increasingly clear. Organizations can use gamification to address a wide range of training needs, including:
Many organizations could stand to benefit from gamification-based learning as part of their training. In fact, there are many ways in which this unique type of microlearning can improve training outcomes at organizations of any size—and in just about any industry.
In a “traditional” classroom training scenario, information is delivered to learners, but they may never have an opportunity to practice their application of this information in the real-world. Gamification scenarios make it easy for learners to play out what they’ve learned and receive instant feedback on their performance, thus improving recall and retention when a real-world application does come into play.
One of the best ways to increase retention of training information is to get learners feeling truly engaged in the material—and gamification makes it easier than ever to foster that crucial engagement. Those who learn through gamification-based training courses are able to have fun while they’re discovering new concepts and picking up new skills.
In the world of safety training especially, it can be difficult to provide learners with “practice” scenarios. However, gamification makes it possible for learners to play out literally any training scenario without any real risk. And when learners make mistakes in these scenarios, they’re able to see first-hand the potential consequences of their actions, which may make them less likely to make the same kinds of safety mistakes on-the-job.
For safety and training managers, gamification is also a great resource for obtaining objective data on learner progress and performance. That’s because a big part of many gamification platforms is the automatic collection of data for each user. This information can then be generated into reports that are sent out to safety managers and other higher-ups for an unbiased synopsis of employee performance. From there, it is easier to determine which workers are perhaps in greater need of additional training or supplemental resources.
When gamification is done right, learners are truly engaged in the material and feel motivated to do better. Whether they set out to beat a personal benchmark or want to see themselves rank higher in the overall leaderboard, applying gaming concepts to organizational training is a great way to foster a little friendly competition that is self-motivating for many.
Gamification-based learning can also help to create a sense of autonomy in an organization’s workers. Rather than feeling as though they’re being forced to sit in a conference room for a training lecture, gamification allows learners to explore and discover at their own pace while putting them in a scenario that give them to power to make their own choices. This, in turn, encourages a sense of agency and engagement that other forms of training simply cannot.
In the world of safety training, it’s important to look at every dollar spent on training as a worthwhile investment—and money spent on gamification-based training is no exception. When learners are more engaged and retaining more of the information presented to them in a gamification-based training course, they’re less likely to make safety mistakes on-the-job. This, in turn, can reduce instances of workplace injury and save your organization money overall. In fact, one study found that for every dollar spent on safety training in the workplace, injury prevention returns can range from $2 to $6. So, while it may cost some money to develop and implement this and other types of microlearning within your organization, the payoff can be more than worth the initial investment.
As you can see, organizations stand to benefit greatly from the implementation of gamification-based training modules. In addition to saving money and creating safer workspaces for employees, this unique type of training engages and motivates workers in ways that other forms of training simply cannot. Those interested in incorporating this type of training should be focused on implementing gamification that not only captures the attention of learners, but challenges them, engages them, and (above all else) teaches them. Of course, this is a task that can be easier said than done for many safety managers.
To learn more about gamification options or to explore the many ways in which microlearning can help maximize your organization’s safety training efforts, contact our team at IMPROV Learning today. We specialize in putting these innovating training practices to use in organizations of all scopes and sizes.