The spending on game-based learning is set to reach USD 2,404.12 million by 2018, up from USD 1,739.55 million in 2013.

~ Ambient Insight

The era of gamification is here to stay. Ever since its inception in 2001, it has taken various forms and evolved massively to stimulate learners curiosity and their thirst for knowledge. With elements and techniques of game design being incorporated into training programs, gamification promises to live up to its promise of making learning fun and exciting.

There is a lot of evidence that proves that gamification is an excellent way to help engage learners in a way that information becomes easier to retain. One of the biggest advantages of gamification is that it offers a much more relaxed and informal environment of learning, which makes learners less likely to be anxious and more likely to be responsive.

Gamification is not just a fun thing to have, but it is actually very useful to solve the knowledge retention problem. It has the ability to make seemingly mundane tasks a lot of fun, that can help boost participation rates in microlearning courses. Here is a look at how using gamification in microlearning can help make courses much more engaging and effective:

1. Keeps learners involved

For traditional versions of employee trainings, there is a natural element of fear and anxiety associated. Employees might also view it as something they “have to” suffer through since it is forced on them. Such a base makes the entire training a gloomy process. The level of enthusiasm is low which spills into lower participation or knowledge retention levels.

This is where the role of gamification fits in. As per a study referenced by Gabe Zichermann, the founder of Dopamine Inc, finding a way to make work fun would increase employee’s ability to retain skills by 40%. With microlearning helping learners learn as per their own pace and preferences, gamification in such courses ensures that learners also remain productive. Making regular course material fun and including notions of play within it leads to increased willingness to participate and engage.

Because the environment is more relaxed and the learner is just with himself, “have to” gets translated to “want to.” The atmosphere inducing fear and anxiety no longer exists in a gamified environment and the learner can fail and get up, without his self esteem getting hurt in the process. Besides, gamified lessons are much more popular and help increase retention as learners feel a stronger connection to the course material.

2. Keeps learners motivated through rewards

Learner motivation is the biggest factor that matters when it comes to successful training completion. If the training does not include elements that make the learner more and more curious, chances are high that the training is not going to make sense or would be left incomplete. Traditional training programs do not keep learners motivated in this sense as the course is boring, forced upon and not at all flexible.

Human beings have a natural desire to be curious, to be able to discover and learn new things often. Gamification acts on these very senses and allows for learners to have an immersive experience which motivates to reach goals. Using online learning technology to reward learners with points, badges, certificates of completion, cash incentives etc. motivates learners to engage and work harder to reach a certain goal. Adding some level of competition by creation of badges or point leaderboards can also enable learners to set higher standards of achievement and be proud of their performance.

3. Takes care of the millennial workforce

According to TIME magazine, by 2025, 3 out of every 4 employees around the world will be millennials. This hard to please generation is creating ripples in workplaces across the globe as their preferences are completely different than their older generations. Their thirst for growth and knowledge is higher and they prefer consuming content on mobile devices.

According to a study released by Millennial Branding and on the Future of Education, 50% of college-going millennials said they are not in favor of a physical classroom form of learning and 53% showed preference for online colleges. Corporates are waking up to the millennial-centric challenges and factoring in learning strategies that suit their unique demands. Millennials appreciate the concept of learning and growing at work, but not in a traditional classroom sense that leads to time wastage or boring sessions.

95% of millennials are willing to pay for their own professional development and training.

Gamification in microlearning is a great way to keep this goal oriented and reward-hungry generation addicted to their learning. This generation has a penchant for visual aids and rich media and online training resonates with them. Group collaboration and social media sharing about achievements and progress are options gamification offers them. By integrating gamification and microlearning into the training programs, learning becomes easy, fun and also engaging.

Microlearning is gaining huge popularity at workplace as it helps cater to challenges of shorter attention spans, knowledge retention, personalized training and learner engagement. Gamification in microlearning helps make learning more entertaining and memorable. Advanced analytical tools can help get the best out of gamification and microlearning by giving employers insights into the progress of learners and identifying knowledge gaps.

Learning in today’s day and age sticks best when it is engaging and worth spending time on. Gamification can be used for effective communication and collaboration within organizations. Gamification in microlearning is one of the most influential forms for on-the job training. By applying robust game design techniques to microlearning, gamifying learning shifts the focus from curriculum to the learner. This is extremely beneficial as it not only empowers the learner to learn at their own pace, but also offers them avenues for professional and personal growth.

Offering effective learning and growth opportunities within the organization can enable companies gain competitive advantage. A genuine investment in the workforce and their career growth can help organizations hire, retain and develop their best talent.  Gamification can help organizations inspire employees to learn more and in ways that suit their evolving preferences and needs.

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