Have you ever been gamified? My guess is that it’s happened
on many occasions without you ever even knowing it. Allow me prove my point. If you are a member of LinkedIn and have strived to achieve a level of completeness on your profile… you have been gamified! If you are a member of a Frequent Flyer Program (FFP)… you have been gamified! If you are a cardholder to a grocery rewards program…you have been gamified! These are just a few of many examples that come to mind that prove that gamification is all around us in a vast majority of things we do and see on a daily basis. By definition gamified elements take advantage of our human psychological predisposition to engage and strive to attain a higher level (or compete against one another). But how are we actually able to measure the effectiveness of gamification?

According to Gabe Zicherman on a recent Huffington Post entry he wrote “Since the beginning of the gamification industry in 2010, over 350 companies have launched major gamification projects. These include consumer brands like MLB, Adobe, NBC, Walgreens, Ford, Southwest, eBay, Panera and Threadless among others. For B2B companies Oracle, SAP, Jive, Cisco, Pearson and Salesforce, gamification has emerged as a key element in their consumerization of the enterprise strategy. And in 2012-2013 alone, consulting behemoths Deloitte, Accenture, NTTData and Capgemini began practices targeting gamification of Fortune 500 companies.”

Furthermore, “One global community site, for example, raised Facebook engagement by 92 percent, discussions/comments by nearly 300 percent and social network traffic by 90 percent through a badge and challenge-centric gamified system. And it’s not just engagement — gamification’s revenue effects are equally astounding. Autodesk raised its trial usage by 40 percent and conversion rates by 15 percent while Extraco Bank raised their customer acquisitions by 700 percent, and IBM’s gamified Innov8 platform has become the company’s biggest lead generator.”

As you can see by the above examples, turning applications into games is a trend that is here to stay and one that is being widely accepted by big brand names and proving the concept of gamification extremely effective. Compelling and addictive gamification generates excitement that only adds to the player’s experience.

Jeff Jarvis on Business Insider recently stated the following: (http://www.businessinsider.com/content-vs-service-in-media-and-education-2012-11) “Education at least has some aptitude for thinking in outcomes, as that’s how we’re supposed to measure the success of programs: What should students learn and did they learn it? Still, to be honest, some of this process of determining outcomes is reverse-engineered, starting with the course and its content and backing into the results. (And one unfortunate side-effect of outcomes-thinking, I should add, is the teaching-to-the-test that now corrupts primary and high schools).” What a great concept…thinking in outcomes! What did they learn versus what should they have learned and do these two match up?

So you’ve been thinking about employing gamification techniques through simulation but you have some concerns over the relatively new term of ‘gamification’ and its effectiveness. Simulations have been around forever so there is less worry there, but when tying gamification elements into simulation could it be a set up for disaster or one for success? Most would probably agree with my adamant statement of “It would be a huge success!” With the wide acceptance of gaming we are now seeing a cross-over of acceptance into the use and effectiveness of gamification. When tackling the topic of measuring effectiveness of gamification techniques there is a wide array of measurements that we can calculate. By nature we are interactive, we yearn to reap rewards for our efforts and that’s why gamification just makes sense. It is applied in a way that is measurable unlike other methods employed within a simulation.

When gamification is not effective… In some instances gamification may not be applied in the correct method. By this I mean that the game designer may not have thoroughly tested their gamification elements to make certain that the behavioral change that is intended takes place. Although this may be done unintentionally it can lead to negative ramifications from a gamified program.

Learning professionals are jumping onto the bandwagon of gamification, citing that results from users are extremely valuable. By leveraging unique elements of the game to encompass a sense of accomplishment by the user and to provide an outcome of feeling like he/she has mastered a topic. Gamification techniques act as building blocks throughout a simulation primarily being used to increase engagement levels, but they do have other implications as well. If you want to drive continuous and extended participation with your audience then gamification is right for you. By giving motivation to play more, the experience becomes more interesting and the ability to reach new goals is given. So that’s the magic ticket or the golden prize if you will. If we start with what outcomes we expect by putting a training program in place than many may be far more successful, not only as a gamified simulation but from the prospective of  as a trainee completing the learning process and taking away the expected learning outcomes.

By definition games challenge us to innovate and gamification is changing the learning outcomes of simulation. While simulation programs tend to be very successful by adding the extra element of gamification in, the user is fully engaged and actively participating in the experience. Gamification is one of the most exciting tools of late, the beauty of it is that it appeals to a wide range of age groups and is easily implemented. All told, gamification can provide your organization with invaluable results. What is effectiveness and success? How can we measure it with regards to the platform that gamification provides? By clearly setting business goals you can easily determine a way for the application of gamification empowered by simulation to help in achieving them. By utilizing game mechanics (aka gamification) in simulation it’s a win-win situation. While gamification efficacy tends to vary from application to application, the measure of success that it employs has been proven across countless gamification projects. “Gamification by Design” co-author Gabe Zichermann states: “Gamification is 75% Psychology and 25% Technology.” Gamification- It’s sticky, effective, addictive and has gone viral. By using the concepts that gamification offers you are sure to create a winning solution.

Copyright  Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.


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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.