Gamification is a trend that has recently received a lot of attention, however many have questioned its validity when it comes to an organization’s compliance training. While the criticisms are important to highlight, the breadth and depth of how gamification is being used is encouraging for its importance in the future. Organisations from hospitals, governments, NGOs and large corporates are all utilising gamification to motivate users, engage employees and solve a variety of challenges.
Employee compliance training is considered to be one of the most critical training activities for any organization, it certainly keeps the content development team at Enovation busy!
While always up for a challenge and wanting to keep abreast of new and emerging trends, a recent course of study afforded me the opportunity to do a deep-dive into the world of Gamification. I wanted to test first-hand if Gamification could be applied in a real-world context and support a training need. This deep-dive into the area of Gamification whereby the focus of my research was to understand how employee engagement, motivation and interest for compliance-related training activities could be influenced and improved through the use of gamification and serious game methodologies.
This research focused on applying structural gamification to the Moodle LMS as a tool for employee behavior change towards Health and Safety in Smyth’s Toys. Structural gamification is the application of game elements to propel a learner through content with no alteration or changes to the existing content. The content does not become game-like, only the structure around the content.
The research also involved the design, development and trial of a hazard identification serious game, which offered an engaging and entertaining way of delivering safety training for the retail toy store. Through a third person perspective, the goal of the game is to identify and control workplace hazards. This game is based on an actual Smyth’s Toy store. The game is an exercise that allowed players (employees) to test their knowledge and also to reinforce previous learning after they had completed their eLearning Health and Safety induction course. The game was designed to map the learning objectives from the Health and Safety module on which each of the three game levels is based. Within the gameplay, the player practices contextualised tasks, which involves learning by making mistakes. This games-based learning approach has a high efficiency of knowledge transfer, due to the fact that engaging with the content and being assessed occurs concurrently.
When designed correctly, research has indicated that gamification has proven to be very successful in engaging people and motivating them to change behaviors, develop skills and solve real world problems. Leveraging features used in real games, gamification can turn many types of activities into games. The results of the trials with Smyth’s Toys support this research, in that usage patterns obtained from Moodle data logs identifying access to course resources demonstrated that employees were attracted to the game elements and the serious game. Overall, this research has demonstrated that gamification can be successfully implemented in an organizational context.
I am currently working on publishing a whitepaper based on the implementation of Gamification of compliance training within the Smyth’s Toys Group. This paper will focus on the game mechanics used and the implications for using Serious Games within an organizational setting. In addition to this, the paper will demonstrate how this research has broadened our understanding of the use of serious games and gamification as an engagement and motivational tool. It is clear from the results of the study that serious games and gamification can serve as supportive tools for the challenges that compliance training activities are facing. The survey results indicate that this is the case with the majority of employees, who claim that they learnt about the topic while playing the game.
In the meantime, should you wish to discuss any aspect of this research and if Gamification could work for your business, please reach out to me and let’s start a fun conversation!