Gamification adds game-like elements, adding excitement to experiences such as training and education. For live online training, or VILT (Virtual Instructor Led Training), gamification creates the stickiness that keeps learners attentive and engaged from the beginning to the end of training.
Fun and entertainment is more important than ever in training, because learners are assaulted by a variety of mobile distractions and notifications. According to one survey, the average American checks their phone an extraordinary 344 times per day! Remember that you are competing for attention with the likes of Facebook, text messages, YouTube, and TikTok.
Why Gamification is Effective for Training
- Gamification taps into our natural desire for competition and achievement.
- It makes learning more fun and engaging.
- It increases motivation and participation.
- It provides immediate feedback on performance.
- It helps create a sense of community among learners.
Examples of Gamification in VILT
Quizzes and competitions
Incorporating quizzes and competitions into live training adds a layer of excitement and competition to the learning experience. This can be done through on-the-spot quizzes or through more elaborate competitions that span multiple training sessions.
Points and leaderboards
Giving learners points for completing tasks or achieving milestones can add a sense of accomplishment and competition. Leaderboards display the top performers, which can further increase motivation and team spirit. It’s common for good natured banter and trash talk directed at the leader at any given point in live training.
Our own virtual team had a hot competition between the CEO and CTO, cheered on by the rest of the group. Only a point separated the two with a spirited back and forth until the last challenge, when the CTO prevailed. The whole team was laughing while they learned.
Badges and rewards
Similar to points, badges and rewards can be used to recognize learners for their achievements. These can range from virtual badges that can be displayed on a personal profile, to physical rewards such as gift cards or certificates. It’s a matter of pride to acquire as many badges as possible.
One of our customers has a “Hump Day Lunch” contest. The two top scorers in a 10 minute Wednesday event win a gift certificate for lunch at a leading restaurant.
Role-playing and simulations
Role-playing and simulations during live training can make the learning experience more realistic and engaging. For example, sales training is more effective when real-life sales scenarios are presented, allowing learners to practice their pitches, and overcome objections. This works best when the scenarios are pulled directly from rep experiences the prior week, providing immediate methods for winning in the competition reps face every day.
An escape room is an interactive game where players are locked in a room and must solve puzzles to escape. This type of gamification can be adapted for live training by creating a scenario where learners must work together to solve a problem or complete a task. Escape rooms ratchet up the adrenaline levels and are wonderful team builders.
Benefits of Gamification for Live Training
Increased engagement and motivation.
By adding game-like elements to live training, learners are more likely to stay engaged and motivated throughout the training session.
Interactive and engaging training experiences reinforce learning points, making them more likely to be retained and recalled by learners. Neuroscience research shows a high correlation between gamified learning and better outcomes.
Gamification increases participation by making learning more fun and interactive. Our data shows that gamification extends live training attention by 11-12x.
Better assessment of learning
Game-like elements such as quizzes and competitions can provide immediate feedback on learners’ performance, which can help trainers to assess learning progress.
Well-designed gamification promotes teamwork and collaboration among learners. Participants get to know their team and polish communication skills in simulated circumstances where pressure is low and encouragement is high.
Implementing Gamification in Live Training
Identify the training goals
Before incorporating gamification into live training, map out training goals and plan how gamification can help reach them.
Choose the right gamification types
The best training platforms have a large gamification toolbox. For example, quizzes and competitions might work well for factual training, while role-playing and simulations might be more effective for skills-based training.
Consider that different types of activity have higher engagement value, related to how great the cognitive challenge, and how much physical manipulation is required of the participant.
Here’s how activities rank, from least to most engaging:
- True/False Questions
- Multiple Choice Question with Single Answer
- Fill in the blank
- Multiple Choice with Compound Answer
- Interactive Video Quiz
- Rank Order
- Flash Cards
- Drag to Categories
For each of these activities, engagement is lifted exponentially by:
- Using a countdown timer
- Scoring based on response speed
- Leaderboards showing participant rank
Consider the timing and spacing of games
Games are best spaced evenly throughout a training session, following the principles of micro-learning. The ideal pattern is:
- 6 minutes of content with one key learning point
- A 45-60 second game testing and reinforcing that learning
- Next learning point
It’s proven that the attention falloff in online meetings happens within 8-10 minutes. Consequently, it’s best to deliver learning content in increments of 8 minutes or less, followed by a game that snaps learners back to full attention by providing activities that demand participation.
Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the training
Once gamification has been implemented, it is easy to monitor and evaluate training effectiveness using real-time reports. It’s quick and easy to see if the information is reaching its intended targets.
The first time a training is delivered, it’s normal for some of the learning points to not get through to everyone. It’s easy to spot those problems and rectify them in live meetings. Managers can provide immediate clarification when required so that the whole group is up-to-speed by the end of the session.
Anyone half paying attention can get a “correct” result on a pop quiz that appears right after the message is delivered. The crucial test of learning is two week message recall. This is where gamification shines, lifting passing results by 38% over non-gamified content.
Gamification Platform Niceties
In order to get the most mileage from gamified activities, they should be quick and easy to create, reuse, and modify.
“It took less than an hour to create the gamified activities that kept the whole class alive and buzzing for 3 hours.”– Brianna Florovito, Lecturer for the School of Business and Global Innovation at Marywood University
When the platform is integrated with an LMS, both on-demand and live training work in concert to provide managers and learners with optimal results.