Gamification and Learning

Oh boy, here comes that Gamification thing again…this time for learning.  If you are like me, you have been reading about Gamification for the last 4 years but see little of it in the enterprise.  For me, I always look to see if I can find examples and apply them to my work (learning) and my company.  And, without getting to in deep about Gamification (you can see some articles of Gamification in this little used community), I finally came across one that relates to our company.  But first, a little bit about gamification for those who are not that familiar:

Wikipedia defines it as the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.  If we dive a little deeper, the Gamification of Learning is an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments.[1] The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. 

Ok, now that is out of the way, let me share an example I came across on-line for an insurance company call center.  This is from Vicki Kunkel, CEO/Director of Digital Content & eLearning in her article What are the most effective uses of Gamification in Learning? (bolding is mine)

For example, last year I designed a gamification platform for an insurance call center where the business challenge was customer retention, the goal was one-call resolution, and the desired behavior changes were to have call center agents stop putting customers on hold, stop transferring calls, and strategically question and actively listen to customers. (Surveys showed hold times and transfers were the top hot buttons for customers.) Agents were split into teams, and team members earned points for each time they did not transfer a call or place a customer on hold. Double points were given if a customer complaint was resolved with one call.

The company used data to track the performance of each agent and a leaderboard was automatically updated daily. Teams received “super powers” attached to each level they achieved on the leaderboard. One super power was “Super Speed”, where they could go right to the front of any line (such as the cafeteria line). Another was “Force Field,” where winners could park in the executive-only, temperature-controlled underground garage. (This was a coveted power in both the cold winter months and the hot summer months!) The top super power was “Invisibility” – which was a day off with pay for the ultimate top performers.

For agents who found themselves on the bottom of the leaderboard, the platform would automatically populate short, two-minute “Power Boosters” (video eLearning modules), which gave tips on strategic questioning and listening skills to help agents better identify and solve customer issues on one call.

Three months after the gamification project was implemented, call hold times decreased by 17%; transfers were reduced by 52%, and customer retention increased 31% over pre-gamification levels.

As you can see, the results after three months were impressive…though I would be interested in how this sustained after, say 12 months or more.  I also thought it was an interesting point of having the “bottom agents” take short 2 minute video eLearning modules instead of the traditional classroom refresher.   Anyway, this was a quick blog to talk about Gamification and learning.  Hope to have more in the near future.


The 6 Hottest Training Technologies

OK, just off the top here, I want to apologize for the title.  I am not a fan of click-bait but I was just copying and pasting an article I wanted to comment on in this blog titled:  The 6 Hottest Training Technologies That You Can’t Overlook.  But, to spare you actually clicking on the links, let me list the 6 below:

  1. Mobile learning
  2. Video-based training
  3. Virtual environments and avatars
  4. HTML 5 and responsive design
  5. Automation and adaptive learning
  6. Big Data

There you go.  Now, don’t you agree those are the hottest?    Good, now that is done, I want to talk a bit more about mobile learning.

Mobile learning – it seems like we have been hearing this for years that mobile learning is coming.  But, I think it is still further out then many may expect.  Here is reasoning.  I believe we are repeating history of back when “e-learning” became the new buzzword.  It was going to revolutionize training it was.  But it took a bit of time.  What happened at first is that everyone just picked up their paper manuals and training material and digitized them.  Boom, e-learning delivered!!!  But, the learners were ‘less than thrilled’ with the new revolution.  It took years for the training area to change not only how they delivered the content, but how they thought about developing the content while utilizing new technology.  As the technology matured, so did e-learning with more engaging content and programs.  I feel that we are the early stages with mobile learning. Sometimes the solution is take the current content and make it accessible on mobile.  Wait, the module is too long for mobile.  OK then, let’s take the 30 minute module and chunk it up to 6 five-minute modules.  There you go, mobile learning delivered!!!!


And hey, that is all fine and dandy for now, but I think it is still early.  I think we need to forget about how we do “e-learning” now and think more about the mobile device and how users consume content.  Here is an example using two large social networks, you may have heard of them; called Facebook and Twitter.  Yes, those ones.  Well, it seems like almost everyone in the free world uses one or both of those services. And what do they both have in common from a content consumption point of view?  They both deliver content in a timeline.  Here is a definition of a Twitter timeline and a Facebook timeline.   I also included an image of the Twitter timeline in this blog.  Basically, content is delivered in a stream that views scroll down to see the latest updates on top.  And it seems that users are ‘OK’ with getting content in a timeline.  So, why do we not have mobile learning in a timeline?  Makes sense, doesn’t it.  It is a format that both users and designers are already familiar with and navigation is easy to understand (hint, scroll down on your phone).  So, why aren’t developers using the most common content delivery user experience?  Well, for one Mr Smart Guy, I am not sure if Code of Conduct is going to be too interesting in a timeline (sorry, that was me talking to me…and now I am going to answer me).  Well, maybe, and maybe not.  But if I locked a bunch of e-learning designers in a room for a week, and said they had to deliver a course in a timeline, I think they might come up with something.  And maybe being in that locked room will help people start to think differently.  Of course, it may not be a timeline at all.  Maybe it’s an interface like What’s App or Instagram or Snapchat.  Or maybe no-one has thought about it yet.

Anyway, I believe that mobile learning will continue to continue to grow and evolve (hopefully).