Gamified simulations can change the way organizations train up; they have the ability to make normal, day-to-day business operational teaching more compelling and interactive. Gamification is just now beginning to be taken seriously within the simulation industry making organizations sit up and take notice. By utilizing game craft techniques we are able to make simulations that encompass serious concepts and bring them to life and mirror the real-world, just without the potential hazards for a wrong decision made and thus making every day ‘average experiences’ much more compelling. The incorporation of game dynamics through simulation is an intriguing concept and one that I am sure is here to stay.
Despite only being recently introduced, gamification is one of the largest movements of our time. When you stop to think about it you’ll realize that customer loyalty programs, such as frequent flyer miles, credit card reward programs and grocery club cards all encompass what gamification is designed to do; and that is rewarding interaction with tangible benefits. This idea is also able to transfer over into other aspects of life, such as a job promotion, being awarded a diploma, receiving a year-end financial bonus, and the list goes on. Although all of these concepts offer a reward in the end, they tend to lack certain elements that create an engaging experience for the user, this is where gamified simulations come into play (pun intended).
Let’s first look at some statistics so you don’t just have to just take my word for the infinite possibilities that gamification applies to the simulation industry. A recent report produced by global research company, Markets and Markets (http://technorati.com/social-media/article/gamification-market-to-be-worth-55/), predicts that the gamification sector will be worth $5.5 billion by 2018, that’s a sharp increase from the $421 million dollar market it is today. Note that this number only encompasses the gamification sector and does not include the simulation market in addition to. Let me remind you of another report that I referenced in a past blog post… and that is the gamification market is to be worth $2.8 billion by 2016 according to a prediction made by M2Research. Gartner meanwhile forecasted that by 2014, 70% of large companies will have some application of gamification at work within their organizations, with the projects driving as much as 50% of innovation! So there you have it folks those numbers in themselves should prove that gamification coupled with simulation just makes good business sense.
But should you still have your doubts, let me illustrate some more key points of –video game elements in simulation. According to research conducted by Dr. Traci Sitzmann, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School (http://www.theesa.com/games-improving-what-matters/workplace.asp), “employees who used video games during their training had a nine percent higher retention rate, an 11 percent higher factual knowledge level and a 14 percent higher skill-based knowledge level.” Dr. Sitzmann encourages employers to provide employees with unlimited access to these training games, because playing a game multiple times further enhances their learning (this is the beauty of training through simulation, they can be repeatedly played over and over, no booking a classroom and instructor to repeat the course). According to a study by the Entertainment Software Association, 70 percent of major employers utilize interactive software and games to train employees. That’s an extremely high percentage of employers (major or not) that believe in the power of games to train. While the above statistics may center more around the use of video games, simulations could be considered as a ‘serious type of video game’ for business applications, especially when you incorporate in elements of gamification. This is just more proof that gamified simulations deliver valuable results providing an excellent business solution.
Gamification’s purpose is to make simulations more appealing (not that they aren’t appealing enough already), but gamification is able to add in another layer of interactivity making it an even more participatory experience for the user. Helping to solve problems and point the path through the sim without being a distraction. Ultimately driving meaningful results and offering a competitive advantage to companies. It’s the motivational power that gamification encapsulates that is key to adding it into a simulation program. While gamification may be an overhyped term masking a much more important trend; the concepts surrounding it are here to stay. Games and gamification seem to be infiltrating every aspect of our daily life – and everyone’s now a gamer, in one form or another. It’s the organizations that struggle to understand the gamified simulation trend that will be missing out on an opportunity to change the way that their learners train-up.
By enhancing simulation with elements of gamification your organization will get the most out of a training program, realizing a higher ROI, increased learner/trainee engagement and elevated retention of material presented as just a few of the many benefits. Gamified simulations have significant potential to change the dynamics of employee training by bringing content to life and providing an authentic experience that ultimately brings in a new level of interactivity. Although consumer gamification does have different elements involved than that of gamification for the enterprise through simulation, the two applications both encompass game mechanics to increase interaction and engagement with the user. Elements of game theory incorporated within the simulation design are for sure a big win in my mind. Employing a gamified simulation strategy can be a win-win for the learner/trainee as well as the organization.
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