By: Erin Patrick
(Corporate Training; K-12 Education; Small Business Owners)
A year and a half ago, the world became shuttered and we adjusted to new ways of life very quickly, especially in the realms of training and education. All of a sudden, in-person exchanges were replaced with virtual meeting rooms and we were scrambling for tools and techniques to deliver what used to be shared organically in a Face-2-Face environment. And now, as we start to emerge from this remote landscape, what does it look like to return to our post-pandemic classroom or office? In this blog, we will discuss how to merge your techniques developed (while working remotely) with your in-person sessions through the power of gamification to engage your audience and improve retention.
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What is Gamification, and Why Does it Matter?
“Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. It can also be defined as a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements.” - Gamify.com
Gamification encourages participation, fuels engagement, and improves learner retention by large margins. In addition to being a fantastic teaching tool, it is also used as a mitigation measure and solution to common business problems, such as:
★ Sales skills
★ Safety and compliance
★ Products and Processes
★ Interpersonal Skills
★ Team building
When we can relate to our workforce and audience with fun and purpose, we start to transform our learning environments and realize significant positive impact with both behavior changes and bottom lines because games make the hard stuff in life more fun. It’s really that simple. Games speak to a number of our universal human core drivers including (but now limited to): challenge, accomplishment, meaning, and gratification. And that can be very important when facing the daunting task of managing expectations and performance while returning to the ‘real world’.
In some ways, remote work is here to stay for the long haul and possibly indefinitely. Companies worldwide are faced with the question of how and if they should be inviting people back into the office, and what that transition should look like. A recent survey done by Morning Consult, on behalf of Prudential, Polled 2,000 adults working full-time. “It found that 87% of US workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue working remotely at least one day a week, post-pandemic. Among all workers, 68% say a hybrid workplace model is best. Importantly, 42% of current remote workers say if their employer doesn’t continue to offer remote work options long-term, they’ll look for a job at a company that does.” - June, 2021; CNBC; Hess, Abigail Johnson
At any rate, there is probably no going back to the ‘status quo’, so there’s no better time to align what you want most out of your training and education programs.
How to Merge Remote Sessions with Live Sessions
All that is well and good...but how do we apply it, right? Well, we’re here to help! With over 35 years involvement in training or education, we bring the service mentality along with the understanding of the modern challenges you’re facing. First, we’ll take a look at the remote training tools we’ve become accustomed to over the last 18 months, and provide some ideas around continuing and expanding those into your regimen. Next, we’ll look at the live tools you can use for in-person sessions or webinars, all while offering some tips and tricks that current clients have used with great success. So, let’s dive in!
Self-Paced or Asynchronous Learning
We’ve all become much more familiar with mobile learning, or eLearning, or self-paced learning at this point, whether it’s through your role at your job or your children’s school work. It’s everywhere, and for good reason; it’s incredibly effective at boosting retention rates by working with the concepts of microlearning and repetition. It also delivers us from the clutches of ‘death by Powerpoint’. Self-paced learning minimizes the “Forgetting Curve” by offering manageable chunks of information that’s easily digestible. In small doses of repetition, we can transfer that knowledge from short-term to long-term memory.
When we can use this as a supplement to our larger infrastructure and live sessions, it’s a game changer. Here are tried-and-true traditional ways to use self-paced games:
★ Pre & Post assessments
★ Knowledge Boosters
Check out this self-paced quiz using our SPARK! template, developed as a “Work Safety Quiz” from one of our current users:
These alone are powerful ways to apply fun with purpose while delivering your customized content and getting results. But what if I told you that’s not the only way you can use them? Many times, necessity breeds innovation, and we have some ideas for you to consider that are ‘outside the box’ thinking, but maybe just what your learners want or need. These are directly from our current clients who have used our BravoZone software to deliver some brilliant results:
• “Homework” to your new hires before an onboarding session with a fun quiz
Credit: Kansas City Southern Railroad
• Screen potential new hire candidates for qualifications and/or a culture fit Credit: HHHunt
• Monthly Newsletter with fun company trivia to keep your remote team connected Credit: Ventura County
Or, maybe you come up with your own unique ways to engage your audience because the only limitation is your own imagination! In the meantime, check out this SPARK! quiz that helps leaders determine their ‘Management IQ” from one of our clients.
Instructor-led or Synchronous Learning
Whether we’ve been producing webinars for Instructor-led training, or might be looking at returning to Face-2-Face learning again, we’re familiar with the concept. You may have found some really great tools and platforms to use in the virtual classroom, and will be able to continue using them moving forward. Ideally, we find our ‘new normal’ with more integrated approaches to learning. Before we talk about that, let’s explore a few questions:
How engaged were your learners during your instructor-led presentations?
Did you use a deck presentation via a virtual meeting site? Or, was it an in-person lecture? Did you often hear cyberspace crickets? Did you notice signs of disengagement? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions (or you’re unsure how to even gauge your participation level from your students) you may need to consider upping your game with an engagement tool. These applications are ideal for interrupting presentations to introduce interactive content review that solidifies their learning; gives them a chance to apply their knowledge; and provides fun while doing so. As the instructor, you get real-time feedback to truly meet them where they’re at so you can remediate or adjust accordingly. Here are some tried-and-true traditional ways to use Instructor-led games:
★ Pre & Post Assessment
★ Situational Learning
★ Performance Management
★ Team Building
★ Progressive Game Format
How about an ‘outside the box’ idea with Instructor-led training, too? You betcha! This, again, is directly from one of our current users that had an amazing idea to incorporate a game for an onboarding event:
“Getting to Know You” Virtual Icebreaker:
They collected information from each person before their first onboarding session- pieces of ‘clues’ that were personal, along with a picture of them doing their favorite hobby/activity. Then they filled the entire Quiz Show board with that information and the student’s task was to ‘connect the dots’ about each other. They had a blast and actually learned about each other, sharing a team building experience even though they were remote.
Credit: Reliance Technology Solutions
For additional successful client stories, read more here.
Here is a quick reference guide of the templates in the BravoZone platform and how to use them.
Gamified learning, like remote learning, is here to stay because sustainable engagement requires a whole set of tools to make it work. The great thing about these tools is that they can be quickly combined and included in your existing programs and easily transform your training into an engagement machine that creates more and more teachable moments. In fact, the most successful practice for our clients is the holistic approach with both Self-paced and Instructor-led activities because you’re inviting the transfer of ownership [of teaching] to your participants and they’re actively involved in their own learning process. Games provide a non-threatening environment that allows your participants to do just that, and relax and enjoy themselves while absorbing active learning that they will happily come back for more.
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