Gamification – applying the mechanics behind gaming to achieve behavioral goals – is everywhere at the moment. From boosting upselling in fast food restaurants to encouraging faster recovery amongst stroke patients, its appeal seems almost endless. In Gartner’s Gamification 2020 report, they predict that at least a quarter of everyday business processes incorporate elements of gamification by now. That number rises to 50% for organizations who use formal innovation management processes.
As emerging leaders in the field of game-based learning for IT professionals, the Simulcation team have been working with gamification techniques for some time. We believe it can transform education, empowering more confident, resilient professionals in a variety of roles. Let’s lift the lid on the theory behind the technology…
What is gamification?
Gaming remains as popular as ever – and it’s not just for teenagers. The average game player today is 37 years old, with 42% women. Gamification takes the key elements of gaming – play, fun and reward – and applies it to non-game settings. Progressing through achievement levels, winning points and bonuses can all be powerful incentives for behavioral change, encouraging users to improve their performance and learn new skills. Quests and missions can structure tasks so users achieve a finite goal. In business, they have been used to design solutions in everything from learning and development, to career counselling and sales techniques.
Gamification is constantly evolving as increasing investment promotes more research into theories and applications. The balance appears to be tipping further away from entertainment towards business performance, harnessing user experience design principles, powerful motivation, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving goals that have an obvious personal value.
What’s the value?
According to a Deloitte report into emerging tech trends, gamification’s benefits to organizations include:
- Enhanced employee and customer engagement
- Collaboration, interaction, learning and awareness
- Using a medium (gaming) that’s already harnessed by a significant proportion of the population. The mechanisms and tropes will be familiar and most millennials already use gaming, social media and emerging technologies as part of everyday life. Schools are also developing gamification learning technologies.
- Promote compliance, accountability and transparency by ‘playing by the rules’.
- Develop a loyal customer following and be more competitive in recruiting, retaining and training talent.
These might sound appealing, but the ‘so what?’ for today’s businesses lies in finding the right mix of gamification techniques that will resonate with your specific stakeholders to achieve the right goals.
We’ve taken popular elements of competitive gameplay, including missions, point-scoring and leaderboards, to create a virtual world where IT professionals, sales teams and students can experiment to find their optimum mix of hardware, software and services. Called Simulcation Datacenter, it applies the science that says we learn better by experiencing, by doing.