Gamification Ate My PowerPoint

At some point in your career, your brain probably experienced death by PowerPoint.  I'm sure you know what I mean, but here is the official definition: A state of boredom and fatigue induced by information overload

It's a tragedy that strikes workforces every day, and this is its most common cause: an hour-plus monologue or presentation, often delivered by a poor speaker with little excitement and no opportunities for interactivity.

Luckily, gamification has been eating away at the dullness of PowerPoint presentations. In fact, over the past few years, this practice of gamifying the workplace has become more and more common, and research shows it’s about to take off. Consultancy firm Gartner predicts that by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.

If your organization encourages competition and collaboration, then you should take a good look at gamification for training and motivating your employees. Below are five pillars of such a program.



Educate Employees

All those PowerPoints, videos, and all-day seminars should not exist in a vacuum. Add game mechanics, and you will increase their relevance and value. If your employees attend a seminar, read an article, watch a video or does anything else that you believe will make them smarter, give them points or badges, then rank them on a company leaderboard so they can clearly see how they stack up against colleagues.

By combining traditional instructional design with game principles, you can successfully amplify coursework, drive ongoing engagement with material and spur excitement in the self-improvement process. This combination creates a much more engaged and interactive learning experience across online, mobile, social and face-to-face environments.

Activate Behavior

Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology, so when planning how you’ll drive behavioral change across your organization, focus your attention on these three common game principles.

1.     Challenges: What types of activities and games will be embraced by your target audience? What platforms should they be available on? 

2.     User experiences: Should you focus on individual, multi-player, competitive and/or collaborative experiences?

3.     FeedbackHow often should feedback be provided? Who should provide it?

Encourage Employees to Communicate

Whether your employees are in the same room or on the same network, it's critical that they establish personal connections with one another during your training sessions, and gamification offers fun and effective ways to establish such connections between team members who might not have the chance to meet otherwise.  It’s critical to promote dialogue, a sharing of institutional knowledge, and an opportunity for competitive and collaborative game play. Consider instant messaging, blogs, discussion panels, team chats and global chats not just as spaces for discussion, but spaces for play.

Celebrate Success

It’s important that you engage employees, treat them like valuable people and celebrate their accomplishments. According to a recent Gallup poll:

  • 82% of employees are motivated by recognition (not money)
  • 69% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized
  • 49% of employees would leave their job for an offer with better recognition

Consider using points, badges, leaderboards, prizes, rewards and certifications to recognize your employees’ everyday activities. If you can’t throw money at your work force, it’s important to celebrate their success in other ways.

Evaluate Participation and Accomplishments

Before you roll out a gamified training campaign, define ROI measurement and implement tracking. There is a wide range of metrics that you can use to measure user behaviors. Below are three I find relevant for training.

1.     Engagement: Measure actions (content downloaded, tested, shared, etc)

2.     Performance: Measure activities, games and challenges completed

3.     Improvement: Measure improved knowledge and retention

Organizations that embrace gamification have the opportunity to secure employee loyalty and find a competitive edge in recruiting, retention, talent development and business performance. They’re also bringing us one step closer to a world where death by PowerPoint is a thing of the past.

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