Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Should you be Gaming your Learning?

I am at Entrepreneur magazine's Winning Strategies conference on Miami Beach today. The morning keynote was Gabe Zichermann and he discussed Gamification for those that have not heard of him.

While I personally do not "get" Farmville or the Angry Birds desires, I do like better business ideas and theories.

Taking Gabe's session to real life, how can you gamify the training systems your company uses today?

Usually companies ask employees to watch a video, use online courses, use e-learning or whatever you want to call it. But how many of those employees are really engaged by any of it? It's rarely exciting or interesting and generally a tick box on a chart that you did what you were told. Vendors make us get certification, not so we know what we are doing, but to be able to sell their products. Ideally we should know what we are doing but the testing rarely is about practical reality usage.

Instead of making everyone tick the box, why not encourage them to reach a level of status, within the education. One could just click, click, click, and be done or one could interactively be part of that learning process. Provide more feedback, ask better questions or any, recommend it to others. In return, as one example, the company could offer you a status of Student, Intern, Teacher, Professor. They could offer monetary gains too but in the long run that may not be so practical. With each level attained, either through quantity or depth of topic, one progresses up the chart.

Some companies do this in various ways, for external people, say if you post blog posts on their website or answer questions in forums. They do this to encourage the outside world to engage with them and expand their influence. But do they do this for internal people?

The simple effort to change the drudgery of learning to at least some modest base of interest has far reaching benefits to you, employees and your company. With less and less in person training and more online/webinar training, the lack of interaction creates a login but not listen attitude.

Change your thinking, change your business.

Need help doing this? Just ask.