The Best of our Blogs: 2021 in Review

Corporate Trainers and Entities; Government; K12 Educators | By: Erin Patrick

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As we close the year of 2021 and take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been- to help us find direction in where we’re going- it’s important to pause and celebrate what we’ve learned, both in our work and our personal lives. So this blog is about sharing the best of those lessons and insights that we have collected in relation to using gamification in training, learning and development with the community of our clients and partners. What you choose to do with it is strictly up to you, but our open invitation is for you to entertain new ways to transform your training. And what could be more important in the age of ‘The Great Resignation’ than developing and keeping your talent in the new year and beyond?

What is gamification? A review.

It can be described as the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications. In the context of gamification for serious learning, we apply this concept to your content to meet learning outcomes and prompt behavior change. We use games as an engagement tool for content delivery to increase retention, engagement, and participation.

Play our sample game to level up your turkey trivia knowledge!

Transform Your Training with Gamification in our ‘New Normal’

Why is this Important?

The concept of using fun to transcend work into play has been around for a long time. We use games to track everything from our finances to our health and certainly our education. Now, nearly every social platform has built-in games to keep their audiences captivated and committed to their brand.

Why Games?

In a world of remote engagement, however,  we experience burn out in different and new ways while navigating the changing demands of the pandemic. Many of us are still working from home, so the distinction from our work life to personal life can be blurred. The distractions can seem endless and one-sided presentations can quickly get lost in the noise. Declining focus, engagement, and performance can be factors of the fallout of our ‘new normal’. Which can mean that adapting to different training techniques is not just a good idea now, it’s an imperative.

Games can provide a more robust experience with a less threatening learning environment. The learner is encouraged to participate, while having fun, and still learn difficult concepts if the level of engagement is high. This also makes them part of their own learning process and develops the intrinsic motivation to keep on learning. In that endeavor, games can be used to fulfill most training needs including induction and onboarding; product sales; customer service and support; soft skills training; awareness creation; and compliance, to name just a few. And gamification is beyond just a review at the end of a session. In fact, when we employ the philosophy that less is more, and a little bit can truly go a long way.

Applying Microlearning and Gamification in Virtual Training

Microlearning with Gamification: How to apply it

While there is no “official” definition of Microlearning, the concept itself is not new, even though it’s been a recent “hot topic”. It can be described as short (“micro”) learning ‘nuggets’ that are easy to consume but pack a powerful punch. These mini modules are generally focused, specific, and part of a larger learning structure. While there can be variations in the application, the common denominator is based on brevity and engagement. How we consume social media for news is a great example of this: infographics, vertical text, memes, and articles that are written to be a quick read come to mind. They are meant to be short and sweet bursts of knowledge that last no more than 3-5 minutes.

Bite-sized learning extends itself beautifully in self-paced learning, and here’s what we’ve learned from our partners at the Bob Pike Group:

* The more we repeat information, the more likely it is to wind up in our long-term memory. Studies show that short, repetitive learning increases long-term retention over spaced intervals -Bob Pike Group

* When training is relevant and personalized, it reinforces transfer of learning to the job. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, learning in bite-sized pieces makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient. -Bob Pike Group

Engineer Curiosity Using C3 SoftWorks (Case Study)

We can apply this in various ways, but we optimize the effectiveness of just-in-time learning with the power of repetition. This encourages the transfer of that knowledge from short-term memory to long-term memory, thus increasing retention. We recommend that you apply games to training before, during and after your sessions.

* Introduce the concepts before a session and conduct a knowledge check to inform your curriculum

* Interrupt lecture and present during the session for maximum engagement and ability to practice what they’ve just learned

* Repeat after a session to boost long-term retention and use as a competency check

In the virtual environment of ever shrinking attention spans, this is perhaps the most powerful tool in your arsenal for boosting retention and improving learning outcomes, and gamification as  your go-to engagement tool will help deliver just that. Try it out for yourself and Spark some ideas of your own!

Play one of our newer releases called Billionaire and review what we’ve just learned about Microlearning and how to use it with gamification.

Games that Connect: Create.
Captivate. Communicate

Whether we’re working from home or back at the workplace, effective communication is a key building block to a successful business with engaged employees. Communication and engagement are definitely one of the signs of a high-performance culture. In fact, a company’s vitality can be dependent on a good communication flow, which requires good communicators. However, keeping employees engaged in a virtual environment is a challenge, to say the least, and we understand why! Using gamification can help address that issue and bridge your gaps of engagement, which may be more important now than ever, because engaged employees tend to stay where they are and lead to better business outcomes.

Gamification can be used in live sessions, whether that’s in person or via a webinar, to interrupt a presentation or lecture and introduce some interactivity and provide an opportunity for the audience to apply what they have just learned. This is essential for not just captivating their attention, but also to keep them engaged. Here are some ideas for how games can connect:

* Icebreakers for onboarding or staff meetings
* Boost your brand awareness on your website or social media
* Continued education in all areas
* Team building exercises

And of course, it’s perfect as a review tool or to completely repurpose your PowerPoint with more interactive elements as a presentation tool. Our newest release allows you to do just that! TALLY takes audience engagement to a whole new level. Create a presentation and embedded questions, to have each participant interact with your content LIVE via their mobile device. Play in teams or as individuals, interacting with a variety of question types (open ended, polling, multiple choice and image-markers, to name a few). The Presenter sees real-time responses for meaningful knowledge gap awareness. Try it free today!

How (and When) to Apply Gamification

Reach your learners where they are, with their learning style.

This may be the most obvious, and perhaps most important facet: games motivate and challenge people, which evokes friendly competition. Let’s face it- we all have either experienced (or facilitated!) presentations that were so boring that we would have opted to watch paint dry, instead, if that saved us from staying in it...and those presentations are always with the best of intentions. Or, maybe we just have very dry content that is required for compliance guidelines but so hard to make exciting. Games can encourage learners to progress through the content, inspire action, and reach their individual learning style.

While it is not feasible to try to teach or train to each individual learning style in a group session, it is important for our delivery to embrace a variety of ways to access and engage these. Experiential learning also needs to be balanced with classroom sessions so there is the ability to apply the knowledge, which is what leads to long-term retention. This may also incorporate peer-to-peer learning that is project based in nature and in small teams, which also fosters social learning with opportunities to develop soft skills.

The following are a few technical tips and tricks that work directly in our templates in the BravoZone:

* Use images, graphs, infographics, memes, gifs, etc in your preview slides, your questions, and your summary slides to reach your visual learners.

* Include MP3 or MP4 files of an auditory clip to engage your auditory learners.

* Upload a video showing a situational concept, technique, or issue and then have your learners answer with the correct process or identify it through a hotspot on an image marker for your kinesthetic learners.

* Offer open-ended polling questions for your participants to write their assessment or recall their learning of the session for your reading/writing learners.

Back to Class? How to Merge Remote Training with In-person Sessions

Try our Catapult game as an example of how to deliver fun and engaging content and explore what you may know about bridging the age gaps, or request the webinar here.

Ultimately, we want to create an environment where our participants feel empowered in their own learning style and have ownership of their learning process and career development. Whether that is through self-directed learning modules, team building exercises, or group lectures and discussions, offering a participant-centered experience that actively involves all learning styles is key. Gamification can help you achieve this by seamlessly becoming part of that training method that creates a bridge between the different learning styles- and having fun that your participants will want to come back for- while delivering some serious learning.

Reach Your Learners Where They Are: How to Use Games to Teach Different Learning Styles

Ready to Get in the Game?

Game dynamics motivate students, increasing their efforts and developing their knowledge, thanks to practice and repetitive reinforcement.

* Increases student confidence by 20%

* Improves learning retention by 90%

* Improves the conceptual knowledge of the student by 11%

* Increases task completion by 300%

Source: The Federation of American Scientists “A Meta-Analytical Examination of the Instructional Effectiveness of Computer-Based Simulation Games” (2001, Tracy Sitzman

Whether you use gamification with us or not, the time is now to evaluate whether your training is ready for the next step. If you are looking to transform your learning program with a powerful tool set of interactive ways to engage your learners, we can help. Our BravoZone platform is everywhere you need to be, with customizable game templates for content delivery for wherever it takes place: classroom, webinar, or mobile learning. Contact us for more information, or follow us on social media.

The C3 SoftWorks team wishes you a
very warm, safe, and happy holiday season!

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About C3 SoftWorks

With over 35 years of involvement in education and training, we bring a deep understanding of the instructional challenges you face. Whether you’re teaching in the classroom, or over the web, our customizable training game software will help you present your content in the most engaging way. We offer free consultations and demos to anyone who is interested in adding gamification to their training program to quickly evaluate if it’s the right fit. Have more questions?

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