Gamified learning is
just in time

Retail reality 

Developments in the field of learning have followed each other at a rapid pace

What motivates employees
Let's first consider the three most important things that motivate people, according to Dan Pink - autonomy, purpose and mastery - and how they can be applied to motivating employees.
As far as 'autonomy' is concerned, Pink believes that we all want a certain degree of independence in our work. A good example of a company where this motivation factor is also formalised is Google. To motivate their employees, Google has introduced 20% time. This rule allows you to spend 20% of your time on a project that you find interesting, or are passionate about. This is a project that you describe yourself, in which you set the goals yourself, and is not part of your normal daily work. It allows you to express your creativity and come up with new ideas that are also useful for the company, such as Gmail and Google Maps. In addition, you work with colleagues from very different departments, because you share the same interests. That makes the 20% time even more motivational.

Quote: Most people seek a sense of autonomy in their work, and a sense of authenticity. – Dan Pink

The two other factors that motivate people are 'purpose', in which we all wish to do something meaningful, and 'mastery', the desire to get better at what we do. When we consider these factors in the development of e-learning, they amount to a good method of assessing the e-learning results.

Gaming makes better Happy Meals
Gamified learning mainly addresses the 'mastery' factor that motivates us. The reason why people are sensitive to gaming elements is because every time you challenge yourself to achieve something and then achieve it, the substance dopamine is released in your brain. Since this gives you a nice feeling, you will want to repeat the experience. This makes gamified learning ideal when employees are faced with a new way of working, or when they need to master a certain skill. If the 'game' is fun, people will automatically want to do it more often.
Back in 2011, McDonald's developed the 'till game' to introduce employees to the new cash register system. And although not mandatory, games like 'Three on the Bounce' (get three correct orders in a row), 'Beat the Clock' and 'Happy Camper' turned out to be addictive, and were played over and over again to improve the score. This enabled McDonald’s to save on direct training costs and it shortened checkout times by 7.9 seconds per order. Moreover, 85% of employees reported that the game had helped them to quickly master the new POS system.

After the success of the till game, in 2016 McDonald's introduced a gamified training course for managers in the UK. They had switched to a 'just in time' process, in which the food was only prepared after it was ordered, and this required a completely different, more flexible approach from the managers. In the 3D virtual reality game, the manager can virtually walk through the restaurant and respond to the different scenarios. And if the manager makes a wrong decision, he will not be quick to repeat it in 'real' life.

Quote: The most powerful way to learn is by doing and by making mistakes. Mark Reilly, McDonald’s, UK

What really matters
If you do not want to use gamified learning to improve skills, but more for employee engagement, you can also apply other gamification strategies. Examples might include a quiz, in which you must have read or viewed certain content (on the website or the employee app). Or you could hold a competition, ask employees to take part in a survey, or encourage them to share certain content. Bear in mind that the employee is not just interested in extrinsic rewards such as money, points and prizes, but that intrinsic rewards such as appreciation, status and pleasure are sometimes more important. So it is a good idea to not only measure the use of gamification in terms of KPIs such as points and badges, but also to look at comments, the number of downloads, shares, etc.  

The game is on!
Finally, it is also a good idea to look ahead to the emerging trend in e-learning: just in time learning. This obviously has everything to do with the entry of Gen Z into the workforce. This group is used to getting the desired information with one or two clicks, and only when they need it. This 'content on demand' attitude also has an impact on learning pathways and we will have to base learning and employee tools on that. Consider, for example, a good search function in such a tool (also for video!), so that you can immediately look up the information you need whenever questions are asked in the shop. Or you could consider developing appealing pre-boarding content. There is a lot of just in time content possible, and it does not need to be used reactively, but can also be used 'predictively' thanks to developments such as big data, AI and machine learning. And then we will know how to strike the right chord with new employees!
If we are still looking for a new challenge in gamification... just in time is one!

Do you want to know more about this trend? Then you should contact Erica Twigt,  or +31 (0)252 750275.

21 August, 2019

Happy employees lead to happy customers