How Games Can Make Us Learn More

Gamification improves learning and retention.

The world today is evolving quickly, technologies that were once only imagined are quickly becoming commonplace. Although these technologies, which range from cellular phones to the newest robot, help us become more connected to each other they also pose the risk of being a hindrance to doing productive work.

According to a Sancy Suraj, CEO of Knowles Training Institute, our digitalized lifestyle has decreased our attention span.

Another survey conducted by Microsoft discovered that because the employees feel dethatched and distracted from their work around 8–10 hours a week is lost in total productivity.

This is a problem that causes companies billions.

In a generation that loses interest quickly, companies find it difficult to find a way to inspire their workers.

To try and improve productivity, companies try strategies such as points and leaderboards but it has been found out that these have more chances of failing since it only satisfies the external needs of an employee.

However, there is a technique that is quickly getting recognition in businesses because of the likelihood it holds to solve this dilemma. This is gamification.

Gamification is a concept of applying game mechanics and design techniques to something outside the game world in order to engage, motivate and empower people to achieve their goal.

It differs from other engagement techniques in terms that it uses game-based thinking which has been proven to attract its players and uses it in a non-game environment such as the office in the hopes that it will satisfy the intrinsic or internal needs of the workers like autonomy, mastery and social interaction to name a few.

According to an American technology and services company, “organizations who employ gamification improve engagement by 48% and turnover by 36%”.

However, it must be handled with because although gamification produces positive results, if not planned properly it will fail.

A good example of this is the healthcare service company, Omnicare. The first time this company aimed to reduce wait times at their health desk, they tried implementing a gamification-styled leaderboard which offered cash prizes to the quickest employee but instead of motivating their workers, they had instead made them feel pressured and dissatisfied because they felt they could not meet the standard.

Another case wherein gamification was not handled properly is in the case of Foursquare, a mobile application which allows its users to rate, rank and review restaurants. In order to encourage its users, it “gamified” the way they offered badges and merits, but lost its thrill in the repetitiveness and lack of growth.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” in gamification, every solution has to be custom-made for a particular company in order to work and they have to consider very carefully the factors that affect the result they aim for.

Since gamification focuses heavily on the relationship of employer and employee, the former needs to consider the true factors that affect its workers’ ability to do their job more efficiently and produce a solution that will not just give something to the company but will allow the workers to enjoy.

True success in gamification will not just allow the employer to know the true state of the company but allow the employees to grow and improve in their job, provide constant productive communication between the employer and employee, and will motivate all workers and provide them with a real sense of purpose.