Training Time: Motivation Through Gamification

by | July 5, 2016 | 261 Views

Green road sign with a blue sky gradient background.Gamification is a wonderful tool to reward and engage audiences. The idea is to encourage a particular behavior by associating it with something fun or rewarding. We’ve seen gamification work for many of our clients, and we were excited to see it work in the real world too.

Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics and host of the popular podcast “Freakonomics Radio,” took a look at behavioral economics in a recent podcast: “When Willpower Isn’t Enough.” Dubner and Katherine Milkman, an assistant professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, found that sticking to your goals and concentrating on general tasks is easier if a reward is involved.

This reward system can be applied in different scenarios. Milkman referenced exercise. “I struggle a lot with willpower,” Milkman says. “And I find it difficult at the end of a long day to get to the gym, I find it difficult to stick to my diet, I find it difficult to stick with my goals more generally.” We know that exercise is good for us and makes us feel and look good, but we don’t always make time for it. So, she came up with a “commitment device:” if she works out, she can watch her favorite TV show. The result? She worked out more and felt better too.

The same can be applied to education and training programs. When we encourage ourselves through rewards, we’re more likely to complete the task. Milkman looked at research into what motivates us; in situations with an incentive, participants were more likely to complete the task.

To drive training effectiveness, we at MarketingProfs use elements from game design—aka “gamification”—to reward and motivate our learners to complete training. To encourage marketers to get started on and progress through our learning experiences, we pair this method with behaviorally based email triggers. Both gamification and behaviorally based email triggers draw on best practices proven to motivate adult learners.

Many of us already use gamification outside of work: like Milkman, rewarding ourselves after we complete a workout, or bribing the kids to study with the promise of something fun once they finish. So bringing gamification into our work lives makes sense. We encourage you to see how our gamification method encourages workplace learning and how its use of rewards, especially when paired with friendly competition, can drive behavioral change.

Check out these short demos for three of our Explorer’s Path courses to see MarketingProfs learning experiences in action: