Gamification in Action: SEVEN Seductive Ideas for Gamifying Your Classroom Training

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J3Looking for a way to use gamification in training sessions? Why wouldn’t you be -gamification works – there’s simply no denying it. The evidence is all around us. Look in your wallet. Rifle past all the receipts and you’ll probably find a loyalty card for your local coffee shop. Check your wrist. Do you have a Fitbit or a Nike Fuel Band? Do you have an app on your phone that counts your steps? Have a think. Do you collect Air Miles?

Game mechanics are all the rage. That’s not set to change any time soon. And yet, a large number of Learning Management Systems (LMSs) remain ungamified. This, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a devastating state of affairs.

In some cases, you may not have the budget to introduce a Gamified LMS (or you may be locked into contract elsewhere). But fear not. This doesn’t mean that you are doomed to live a bleak ungamified existence. In fact, we’ve created the following list of tips to help you gamify your training (even if you don’t have a Gamified LMS, or some other slick new-age piece of technology, straight out of Blade Runner or Minority Report).

1. Adventurers, Assemble!

If you plan properly, you can structure your training in a meaningful way. Indeed, if you theme the training from the get go, you’re more likely to produce the results you’re striving for. Don’t invite your learners to ‘Sales 101’. Invite them to a ‘Sales Boot Camp: where only the strong survive’. This sets the tone, drives expectation and helps motivate your team. If they go in believing that there’s something special about this training, they’re likely to be considerably more engaged and ready to learn.

You should also shape the invite and the communications that go out to your delegates around your designated theme. Don’t be afraid to utilise your design team and any word wizards within your organisation. If you do it properly, you’ll help your delegates form an emotional attachment to your course that goes above and beyond the actual course materials. Think of it this way: you’re not sending your team to a compliance course in Milton Keynes, you’re setting them up for a learning adventure of epic proportions.

2. Collaborate to Compete!

There are few more powerful motivational forces than competition. Competing against other people (whether they happen to be our best buddy, or our arch nemesis), tends to bring the best out of us. What would Tom be without Jerry? Why not draw on this impulse by creating a Learning Battle Royale? Let your learners embark on the 2015 Learning Hunger Games.

To do this, you’ll need to divide your classroom into different teams. To help team-members feel a sense of ownership, you should ask them to name their team or even create their own team flag!  If each team knows the learning outcome(s) they are attempting to achieve, they’ll be motivated to work together to overcome any challenges that await them.

3. Badge Bonanza!

Before you embark on a training experience, take the time to consider what’s important to your audience. What can you draw on to help engage them? Once you’ve established this, you can start creating badges or stickers that reflect this activity. For instance, if collaboration is an important element of your programme, you should create a ‘Collaboration’ badge and award it to the social butterflies within your group. But don’t stop there. Why not hand out badges throughout the day to those who ask the best questions, deliver the best presentations or those who perform well when called upon?

Podium4. Leverage Leaderboards!

are powerful motivators in and of themselves, but you can take things to the next level by introducing a leaderboard. At breaks throughout the day, you could ask team-members to add their badges to the board. The team with the most badges is the team who’s in the lead. Don’t forget to use this opportunity to comment on how the teams are doing and to encourage those poor souls who have fallen behind.

5. Learning Levels!

The best learning experiences are those that never end. Don’t let your delegates think that their learning experience ends the moment they leave the classroom. You’ll need to make it clear that there will be further challenges available to their teams once the course is over. You could even set up a level structure, where new training content is made available once they reach a certain threshold of engagement during the course.

6. Challenge Your Champions!

Your brightest and boldest learners may need extra pushing in order to get the most out of them. To achieve this, you could set up unique challenges with special rewards. For instance, you could ask team-leaders to create a case study on the transformative effect of your training content. If they do a good job, you could reward them with a badge, a gift voucher, or even a mention on the company intranet or social media profile.

7. Recognise & Reward!

Turn your badges into this season’s must-have fashion accessory. No, we’re not talking about making them look like a vintage Dior brooch (though they should look pleasing to the eye). We’re talking about imbuing them with meaning so that your learners are willing to fight tooth-and-claw to earn them. A great way to build significance into these badges is to offer recognition to those who receive them. Why not invite your top badge collectors to lunch with your organisation’s CEO? After all, the importance of your learning is only as good as the impact it has and the recognition that your organisation gives to those who are utilising it.

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So, there you have it – Seven spectacular tips for using gamification in training scenarios, whether you happen to have a Gamified Learning Platform or not. Have you tried some of these out yourself? Do you have any more tips? Then please let me know on Twitter, @JulietteDenny!

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