“Can we uninstall 2020? The current version has a nasty virus in it,” says the meme flying around social media for the past few months.

There are, however, glimmers of light that can be found around the world which have arisen out of the pandemic.

We’re benefitting from bluer skies, less car crashes, falling crime rates, improvement in hygiene practices, infectious diseases in decline, more affordable real estate in tier 1 cities, employers offering more flexible work arrangements, people being able to build  better relationships with colleagues and clients as we videocall from our homes amidst similar challenges, organisations speeding up parts of their digital transformations by months and years and the extensive progress in digitisation of education and training.

You may argue that all these online and remote classes and workshops are simply not for you. Likely, one of the top reasons will be that, unlike in a classroom where our physical presence itself makes us pay attention, when attending a webinar or remote workshop, you must often push yourself to be mentally present, to focus. And that’s exactly where gamification can help.

What is gamification?

Wikipedia defines gamification as being ‘the application of game-design elements and game principle in non-game contexts.” It makes mundane, complex, hard-to-learn subjects enjoyable and exciting by combining elements such as meaningful stories, competition, points, goals, collaboration, fast feedback, transparency, or levelling, all in a positive learning environment filled with interactive tasks.

The right application of gamification enables you to encourage learning (Duolingo), motivate consumers to invest (Robinhood) and spend more (shopping reward cards), achieve your fitness goals (Fitbit), meditate (Headspace), improve brain function (Elevate), or drive sales and employee engagement. Think of the way Netflix managed to get people to sit for hours in front of their screen, trying to find alternate endings to Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. In other words, you may have been ‘gamified’ without even knowing it!

Why does it work?

It’s no secret that earning those points and progressing up a level gives us that satisfying dose of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. They keep us not only happy but hungry for more - and that’s exactly where you want your learning audience to be – engaged and motivated. However, engagement and motivation on their own are not enough. BJ Fogg’s Behaviour Model shows three elements we must converge at the same time for any behaviour to occur: motivation, ability and a prompt. If one of these elements is missing, the desired behaviour change will simply not happen.

How might that affect you at work?

Imagine yourself in the position of a chief information officer where your IT service desk staff have just been provided with new software that requires them to adopt new ways of working (the prompt). You’re likely to provide them with tool-specific training, thus covering ability.

However, Fogg teaches us that these two on their own are not enough. As a result, you may start, sooner or later, feeling the pain of your staff going back into their old ways of working, whether it’s going back to excel spreadsheets, putting out immediate fires instead of investigating repeat incidents, or trying to resolve issues without using the right tools.

You need them to be focused on the customer, ensuring a positive experience and restoring normal service as quickly as possible, whilst minimising adverse impact on the business or customers.

How could Fogg’s theory and gamification help us in driving cultural change?

Organisations such as Ford, Johnson & Johnson, IKEA, BHP Billiton and ANZ have recognised the importance of motivation and the value of gamification in driving the right behaviours whilst transforming their IT Service Management.

One of the tools they have been using are G2G3 Polestar ITSM Simulations that would see thousands of their staff (in groups of 10-20) going through progressive, in-room one-day facilitator-led workshops based on the theories of the likes of prof. David Kolb (Experiential Learning Theory) or Marc Prensky (Fun, Play and Games: What Makes Games Engaging). 

The simulated transformational journey has opened people’s eyes, generated “aha” moments and truly engaged and motivated them in changing their ways of working without resentment, whilst experiencing the effects of applying ITSM best practice. Not only that, workshops based on experiential learning have, on average, 80-90% knowledge retention rate, compared to 5% in traditional learning, and therefore equipping participants with knowledge for life.

No wonder Polestar simulations have been regularly receiving feedback such as “This was the most engaging and effective training I have ever been to. Kept the audience on their toes all the time without the slightest slack. Kudos!” or “Everyone should attend this session to have the same starting point to give the organisation an opportunity to hit the ground running.”

Taking the lead in experiential learning

In the last 4 months, Capita has helped G2G3 to take their tried and tested Polestar ITSM Simulation formula to the next level by converting it into an online workshop. They used Remo to build their brand new VSim Platform and adjusted the game design and mechanics to achieve the same outstanding outcomes as Polestar - without compromising the level of engagement, excitement, dynamic, software-based reporting or knowledge retention.

Feedback from Learning Technology Directors such as “I came to it intrigued as to how you could make in-person workshops work in virtual. I was blown away! It was amazing how you had the freedom to move around the rooms. I thought it was fantastic!” helped us understand we are on the right path to continuously deliver the best experience to your teams, whether face to face or remotely.

Learn more about our virtual simulations

Thinking about your organisation?