Joe: Now, many of my listeners and myself have been running simulations and board games as trainers for a long time. Do we need to be upgrading our skills? I mean, have you converted any of these old simulations, let’s say, to present-day gamification methods?
Karl: Yeah, two things about that. One, gamification doesn’t always necessarily have to mean technology. Technology certainly enables it to happen, so creating it like a just?in?time board game, for example, is a great example of gamification. Creating a simulation to teach a buyer how to buy a product or how to place a product, I think that’s an element of gamification.
What is really happening now is that a lot of times we felt those were good ways to go, and we thought they worked well, but now we have some empirical evidence that shows that gamification actually does drive engagement. To be on the front end of what’s happening and understanding how that works, we really need to upgrade our skills. We also need to understand there are a lot of people out there that do not like gamification. In fact, there’s visceral response is negative to the term gamification.
I think one game designer famously wrote a blog post, Gamification is BS. Nobody should do gamification; I can’t believe anybody’s doing that. I think what he missed was the fact that it really translates into engagement. A lot of training and development folks have been creating engagement, but now the engagement is going to a different level. For example, we’re completing a workflow on order entry or on the shop floor, or you’re trying to get people to enter their hours.
Are there engagement techniques that you can use to help these people focus on what they already should be doing? Are there ways to help them see the value of what they’re doing in a different perspective, framing it differently? I think there is a need to upgrade the skills and think about how gamification is. Some of the things we’ve done before, some of the new things that we’re doing, and also new combinations of what we’re doing, which really makes this a very powerful tool for encouraging learners to be involved, engaged and activated.
What I like most about it, is the thought process. Game developers go through such a different thought process than people designing instruction. If we get instructional designers to go through that thought process, I think they can make some really powerful instructional elements and interactions. That’s the concept behind the book.
Karl M. Kapp, Ed.D., CFPIM, CIRM, is a consultant, scholar, and expert on the convergence of learning, technology and business operations.
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