It's Monday and your willing employees sit through a training session all morning to learn about your company’s newest service. When they leave for lunch, you feel confident that they’ll all be ready to communicate this new information to your clients the next day.
But will they?
A Forbes.com article points out that it’s likely your employees will have forgotten most of the training session details by Tuesday, despite their full cooperation and a lively discussion.
Scientists have studied the “new normal” of our ability to concentrate, and have found that the average human attention span has fallen from twelve seconds in 2000 to eight seconds. Employees consume media nearly eleven hours each day and shift their attention between their smartphone, tablet and computer twenty-one times every hour. Employees no longer consider what they are looking at but rather what else they should be looking at. As a result, companies are asking how to get and keep their employees’ attention.
Games are one possible solution; they engage audiences with social and competitive elements, driving heightened attention, sustained focus, and more action. In a game-based learning case study, Karl Kapp reveals data that shows a 17% higher retention rate in curriculum involving gaming over lectures. Games are extremely malleable and can be applied throughout a wide range of fields and industries.
Here are five ways turning your training into a game will improve your staff’s retention and productivity:
- Tell a story with your subject matter. Create a reason for your employees to interact with your content within an appropriate context. Have them search for treasures or characters along the way to add incentives to engage in the storyline. For example, a pharmaceutical company helped physicians better understand their patients with HIV by providing a customized online e-learning course that focuses on communication, patient engagement and quality care.
- Actively engage. Let employees know that they are controlling the action of the story rather than merely reading through a storybook. Let them know it’s acceptable to be wrong by simply correcting them as they go along, thereby promoting strong decision-making. For example, another pharmaceutical company launched a role-playing video game that took place in a James Bond-like atmosphere in which players chose and personalized characters, got behind the wheel of a sleek, high-tech vehicle, received sales directions from headquarters, and focused on overcoming healthcare professional objections.
- Use levels and badges. Game levels will allow you to guide employees through segments of linear content. Let the learner know at the beginning how many levels they need to achieve, and tie each one to a learning objective.
- Encourage collaboration. Playing together allows employees to mutually invest in the outcome of the game. Your team can then hone skills, define roles, provide constructive criticism, and develop a unified vision.
- Build a leader-board. Simple and impactful, personalized leader-boards allow employees to choose their friends to compete with and see a display of their relative position within the team by showing five scores above and below the learner’s score. And always make sure to allow access to the top scores.
Game-based training motivates employees and increases their effort and knowledge. According to The Federation of American Scientists, games are a powerful learning tool, resulting in 20% increase in player confidence, 90% improvement of learning retention, and 300% lift in task completion.
By playing contextually relevant games, your employees actively participate in the learning and in immediately using the information to play the game. This drives data into their long-term memories, increasing their retention and information access in the future.