Are people really using gaming in the workplace?

7.24.17 in Articles

Gamification in instructional design has been rapidly evolving  for the past few years, gaining more traction with corporate learning and performance support each year.

“What type of gamification do you offer?”

Consider the following “gamification” options/definitions:

True Gamification

  • Stresses critical thinking and practical application
  • Experiential learning design places the user in a real-world environment
  • Situational problem-solving enhances on-the-job performance

Learning Games

  • Reinforcement of prior active learning
  • Trivia is a core design element
  • Utilizes friendly competition to drive adoption and engagement

“Gamification” is a learning and development term originally coined by Nick Pelling, according to Andrzej Marczewski in the book Gamification: A Simple Introduction.  Over the past seven years, the term has come to describe the idea of using game-elements to transfer knowledge in traditionally non-game environments – i.e. corporate learning and development training and continuing education.

However, the term “gamification” is, by definition, too broad for the applications that we see today.  With more clients asking specifically for gamified content, it’s important to drill down further into what can be offered as a solution – leading to sub-definitions of “true gamification” and “learning games.”

“True gamification” fully develops content into gamified learning.  Learning in today’s business environment stresses critical thinking skills and practical application.  True gamification encompasses these two aspects of today’s learning needs by placing the user into real-life situations in an environment parallel to their job setting.  It is one step short of virtual reality – a topic for another time.  Think of your favorite first-person video game.  At their most basic level, these types of video games use an avatar (character) to represent the player who is put into situations where they have to solve a problem.  Gamification takes this same approach, but with real-life situational learning and application at the forefront of design.

“Learning games” are focused more on reinforcement than active learning.  Active learning occurs via knowledge transfer using a range of learning activities, including simple interactive reading/audio narration, case studies, video simulation, etc.  Learning games aim to reinforce this initial knowledge transfer through gaming activities.  Popular learning games include variations on classics like Jeopardy, hangman, crossword puzzles, Pictionary, etc.  The core design of learning games is based on a broad use of trivia.  Trivia can be designed in countless innovative and fun ways – utilizing our inherent enjoyment of friendly competition with our peers to drive adoption and engagement.

New Level Partners has been building both true gamification applications and learning games for years.  We offer both off-the-shelf and custom-designed options.  Contact us today for a demo!


Author: Bill Vitale, Senior Developer