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Illustration by Felic Art

E-Learning With Gamification Elements Is Perfect Way to Train Your Staff

With the advancement of technology and social network development, it has become more difficult to maintain your staff’s loyalty and keep it focused on their direct responsibilities. That is exactly the moment where you have to offer your employees non-monetary benefits and rewards, and one of them is educational or wellbeing events and workshops like e-learning.

Still, professional development and training sound rather boring than inspiring. The first thing that probably comes to your mind when you are tasked with completing a job-related course or professional reorientation is spending more hours on work. Will it make your employees happy when they “don’t have enough time?” That’s doubtful.

But here is a tip: instead of forcing team members to do what you want, make them hungry for knowledge and self-improvement. You can simply do it by incorporating a game-like approach to education.

In fact, gamification has made its way into classrooms making learning more interactive and engaging and students — more motivated even when they encounter difficult tasks. The same is most certainly true in the case of applying e-learning techniques to corporate education when a company needs to train a great many people at once.

When social media platforms don’t do you any favor 

This is especially relevant to professionals who work in creative fields such as design and illustration, content creation, art, video production, VFX, music business, game development, and others.

For instance, the professional social platform LinkedIn allows users to share their content on their profile, link to their portfolio, and participate in discussions with employees and managers from other projects. But most importantly, it makes them visible to recruiters and talent hunters. 

Although statistically, users spend only 17 minutes on LinkedIn per month, the impact of such interaction is huge:

  • more than 1 billion interactions per month;
  • 44% of LinkedIn users earn more than $75,000 per year;
  • 176 million users are from the United States;
  • 75% of users are from outside of the U.S.;
  • 11 million of the 87 million millennials are in decision-making positions;
  • 79% of marketers consider LinkedIn a very good source of leads;
  • LinkedIn drives 46% of social traffic to B2B websites.

Add to the mix other people bragging about the work-life balance they have, an opportunity to work remotely or freelance having several clients, more flexibility, and potentially higher revenue. Now, you’ve got to the point where your best employees may start thinking about changing their job.

E-learning as a way to appreciate employees

The impetus behind the idea of non-monetary benefits is motivating team members and retaining them in the long run, unlike the so-called extrinsic motivation backed by cold hard cash.

This approach has been recognized by the world’s leading companies, including Google which made rewards and recognition part of its corporate culture. No wonder that 66% of employees say they would quit the job if they do not feel appreciated. The number is even greater when it comes to millennials, who currently dominate the labor market.

E-learning illustration by Pixel True

E-learning illustration by Pixel True

Any ambitious person values the time and effort they have spent on their education, personal growth, and self-development. This type of people makes perfect managers capable of bringing the business to a new level. So offering them experiences will likely be appreciated more than monetary rewards, given that a compensation increase is expected by default as long as they grow professionally.

Non-cash rewards may be even more efficient when it comes to young aspiring team members and post-graduates who only start their careers. The more the company invests in them, the more loyal they become. Plus you can control the knowledge and skills they obtain if you want to unleash their potential in a certain field or for a certain position in the future.

Play to learn is the next step in corporate training

Now, let’s imagine you are planning to develop an e-learning app or select one among those which already exists, to make your staff stay ahead of the curve in the new era of employee experience. 

Incorporated into e-learning platforms and apps, gamification uses game mechanics and elements to increase engagement. It also helps your staff achieve better results throughout the training process.

While many consider gamification revolutionary, it’s not a new approach to education. Back in 2010, Jane McGonigal wrote in her book “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World”:

“Game developers know better than anyone else how to inspire extreme effort and reward hard work. They know how to facilitate cooperation and collaboration at previously unimaginable scales. And they are continuously innovating new ways to motivate players to stick with harder challenges, for longer, and in much bigger groups. These crucial twenty-first-century skills can help all of us find new ways to make a deep and lasting impact on the world around us.”

To drive people’s motivation and willingness to continue learning, e-learning platforms with gamification techniques use virtual rewards such as:

  • badges;
  • points;
  • payments;
  • discounts;
  • “free” gifts;
  • status indicators;
  • achievement data;
  • progress bars;
  • level up, and many others.

Basically, such a method calls into play both your instincts and the rational part of the brain. It causes feel-good chemical reactions, thus, making the person want to complete more gamified lessons.

A successful example of an e-learning application with gamification elements is Duolingo, an American language-learning mobile app. Launched in 2011, the app has evolved into a solid language assistant platform. All thanks to a combination of fun and learning through artificial intelligence algorithms, animations, sound effects, a community of students, push notifications, chatbots, and other techniques.

With the average attention span of an adult of just eight seconds, such an approach eliminates the drawbacks of traditional education like becoming bored to tears or having to explore dry information for hours.

The play-to-learn method has been gaining traction, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic raised the popularity of remote work and pushed online education development even further.

Gamified e-learning app: best practices

When developing an e-learning app or buying a subscription to it, pay attention to these important features:

Customization

Creating an individual profile is essential for building emotional connections with the e-learning platform and training process. It is just great if the app allows for the creation of a user picture, or avatar, based on your age, gender, photo, hair and eye color, and other features.

Localization

It is undeniable that the English language has become a global language and plays a crucial role in the career growth of a person. However, when managing an international team, you can demonstrate your care by providing training in the individual’s mother tongue. So do not ignore the importance of allowing users to switch languages in your app — it will also bring you more kudos on the App Store and Google’s Play Store.

Setting objectives

Everybody is aware of the ultimate objective of their professional training. But adding your day-by-day goals or choosing a non-linear path on your learning journey will add some spice to the overall experience and increase engagement. Moreover, it helps define the time you spend on learning per day.

PBL elements

When the management recognizes and celebrates your progress, it makes a positive impact on your performance. Give off good vibes by gamifying the metrics by using points, badges, and leaderboards. You can do it by rewarding people for the goals met, tracking their engagement (such as user logins or the time spent on a task completion), giving feedback, introducing contests, displaying scores and rankings in real time to create friendly competition, giving achievement badges, and a slew of other features.

Animation and sound effects

By incorporating animation and sounds into your app, you can add humor and entertainment to it making the training environment more enjoyable. It also makes learning more easy-to-digest: users can manage activities, pause their video or audio recordings or watch and listen to them once again, have a visual representation of certain tasks, and so on.

If you introduce an animated mascot that is always here to help, give advice, or even share an interesting fact out of the blue, users will be feeling supported throughout the training process. 

Building a community

Let your employees create vivid communities, hold discussions around their activities, compete with each other, or instead, form a team to solve complex tasks and find the best approach possible. That said, team members who have strong social bonds with their colleagues are more motivated. 

Save your company money through e-learning

Having fun with your colleagues during a professional training is good, but work is work and productivity improvements here are a priority. Gamification enables companies to collect performance data and gain useful insights so that it becomes clearer where further training is needed.

Here are some telling facts. Tech giant IBM saved nearly $200 million by abandoning traditional training in favor of e-learning. More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies deploy technology to train their staff. Over 60% of companies, in general, use educational apps and programs to close the skill gap, according to the e-learning platform Udemy.

E-learning illustration for language courses

E-learning illustration by Niloufar Jamali

What’s more is that 42% of companies say their revenue increased once they implemented e-learning, with the revenue generated per employee rose by 26%. The average price for an online course is $177, while the development of an online course costs between $144 and $11,000.

Researchers project that by 2026, the online course industry will be worth $374 billion. While this figure may seem huge, it is hardly surprising, given that once people were allowed to work from home, most of them do not want to get back to the office.

With a myriad of tools available in the market today, companies can easily onboard, support, train, and manage teams. By simulating the working environment and specific activities, you can help employees hone their skills, before encountering an actual client.

Prepare for the future

Interestingly, digital natives are enjoying the virtual workplace, with more and more of them moving to virtual reality (VR) workplace environments.

If it sounds mindblowing, here is South Korean company Zigbang which has opened a 30-floor virtual-reality office dubbed Metapolis and eliminated its headquarters in Seoul. The building can accommodate up to 300 people at a time on each floor. That being said, working in a metaverse office makes the communication between teammates more efficient. 

Virtual reality opens limitless opportunities for businesses, including those developing e-learning solutions. Since it incorporates both VR and augmented reality (AR), it can transform the learning or training format by providing a better illustration of real-life objects, better understanding of scientific experiments, supporting educational materials with animated videos, 3D visualizations, or using holographic apps.

Getting back to McGonigal, “The real world just doesn’t offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures, the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by virtual environments. Reality doesn’t motivate us as effectively. Reality isn’t engineered to maximize our potential. The reality wasn’t designed from the bottom up to make us happy.”

if you have an idea about an e-learning platform for your company.

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Written by Sergio Santino

June 06, 2022