If applications that are actually known from the field of games are used in another context, we speak of gamification.

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Definition: what is Gamification?

Gamification: If applications that are actually known from the field of games are used in another context, we speak of gamification.

The aim of this approach is to enable people to approach certain issues in a more playful way and thus to access new knowledge more easily. The gamification approach is being used more and more frequently in continuing vocational training.

The principle can be used in many ways in further education. For example, management simulations offer one way of imparting company-specific knowledge. In these, established or prospective managers can deepen their management skills in virtual business games.

In this digital scenario, you take on the role of the management and make decisions with a promising future. The advantage is that interdependencies become transparent and the consequences of decisions become very close to reality. Gamification can also be successfully used in many other areas to train employees.

The advantages

It is a well-known fact that today and in the future nothing can be done in the working world without lifelong learning. Especially in industries with an above-average speed of change, this fact does not always conjure up a radiant glow on the faces of employees. The reason: learning is generally considered to be exhausting. Especially when it comes to understanding complex issues that are on the agenda. The contents of new studies, for example, legal changes and, and, and.

With the gamification principle, employers bring more momentum to in-company training. For the following reasons:

  • The transfer of game elements into a non-game context can help to motivate learners. The entertainment factor serves to increase motivation and promotes the learning effect.
  • To complete a game, gamers need to make numerous attempts, and with each new attempt they learn something new. So, thanks to gamification, even a perceived failure is turned into a learning experience.
  • On the other hand, successes become immediately visible and the possible comparison with other learners strengthens motivation.
  • Just like gamers, learners have different prior knowledge and skills. However, learning goals can be broken down into specific tasks with increasing difficulty. Learners can complete these tasks at their own pace and repeat them as often as necessary.
  • Players can take on different roles, for example in simulation games or role-plays. A change of perspective helps to understand complex situations in the working world.
  • Gamers are emotionally involved because games arouse many emotions – positive and negative, curiosity and ambition, pride and frustration. And emotions are like glue for our grey cells. Learning content that was acquired under conditions in which we had fun or that challenged us remains in our memory longer.

And: Since companies can implement the gamification principle with an employee app, the company training can be carried out independently of time and place. This is particularly exciting for areas in which employees do not always have a fixed computer workstation and can move around the company flexibly. Even under these conditions, the gamification approach via app allows them to continue their training. No matter where they are and whenever they have the time.

The Current State

The trend study Gamification by OSCAR GmbH (in german) shows that Gamification is not too widespread across all sectors within the field of continuing vocational training. For example, because resentments exist regarding the relationship between benefit and expenditure.

The study concludes, however, that gamification offers many potentials “which, if applied correctly, can open up new ways of entrepreneurial learning and working.”

The trend still has to overcome some structural obstacles, which result, among other things, from a hitherto persistent identity conflict of the concept. In the future, companies must be clear about what they want to achieve with the gamification of their processes and make sure to focus on their employees and their needs.

When people are at the centre of the concept, gamification can have a major impact on our everyday work – perhaps even revolutionise it.

Challenges and requirements

For this to happen, however, a number of preconditions must be met. These can also be found in the trend study Gamification by OSCAR GmbH. Here it says:

  • In order to convince your own employees of a gamified system, it is essential to individualise the offer and adapt it optimally to the company, its culture and structures.
  • Gamification must be user-oriented. It is important that the user is introduced to the system in such a way that he does not perceive it as additional work. To do this, the advantage of the application must not only be there, but also clearly recognisable and clearly communicated.
  • Gamification systems should be fully configurable in order to pick up as many employees as possible and convince them of the concept. For example, users should be able to decide which aspects they want to use and which they want to disable.
  • At best, the user can directly access customized content that corresponds to his role in the company via the system used – without having to search for a long time.
  • The gamification sequences should also not take too long, so that they can be completed in shorter pauses if the opportunity arises.
  • Since mobile employees work quite autonomously and do not always have access to a computer, it is recommended to provide the gamification tool via an employee app.

The risks

The principle of increasing motivation by using typical elements of the game in in-company training has many good aspects. But it also involves risks. Particularly with regard to data protection, there can be problems when using gamification tools.

If, for example, apps are used in the operational area that are not intended for the corporate environment, personal data may be queried that may not be stored on servers outside the EU in compliance with data protection regulations. This exposes the user company to considerable risks of being warned.

Gamification applications should therefore comply with the applicable data protection requirements. These points must also be observed:

  • The employer may only obtain knowledge of such data via the applications that he is allowed to process.
  • When registering the application, only data already known to the employer must be provided.
  • All other information must be given voluntarily and must be erasable at any time.
  • Sometimes applications access other apps or functionalities of the employee’s end devices. Such links may only be made with consent.

Closing words

We live in a time in which work content is constantly changing. The tools we use are also changing rapidly. One update chases the next.

This makes lifelong learning indispensable. But for many employees it is a real horror scenario. Because learning is generally associated less with fun than with effort and hardship.

With the gamification approach, employers can get professional development out of this dark corner.

The whole thing is not only fun.

Employees can also control their own learning progress – in a results-oriented and visually appealing digital environment.

The use of gamification elements in modern learning management systems involves learners cognitively, socially and emotionally, providing an individual, motivating learning experience.