Does Game-Based Training Beat Out Gamification

Designing Digitally


Game-Based Training Beat Gamification

The entire basis for elearning content development is to change behavior. The purpose of corporate training is to mold the employees to act and respond in certain ways to meet the business needs of the company. New and improved concepts affect the interactions employees have with clients, customers, and coworkers. The question is, “What’s the most effective way to educate employees?”  

There is some debate as to whether the best method to achieve this is by gamification or via the use of game-based training. Though some think of them as interchangeable, they aren’t the same thing. It’s important to understand the differences before it can be determined which method is the best fit.

The differences

Gamification involves adding game elements to a non-game situation. Serious games are actual games that are used to supplement and enhance a learning experience.

Take a look at some examples of each:

  • Gamification. The use of badges, leaderboards, and rewards is a hallmark of gamification. These elements can be applied to actions that are already being done by employees. Consider a job that requires workers to travel frequently. Keeping track of miles, setting goals, displaying a leaderboard, and rewarding the person who travels the most miles in a given time frame are all ways to gamify the workplace.
  • Game-based training. An elearning game is designed to teach. Specific learning objectives are embedded in the activity. This also might involve simulations as well. This type of learning game is commonly used in the medical industry. Much like pilots with flight simulators, medical personnel need to learn certain aspects of their jobs in a risk-free way. If a pilot crashes his simulated plane, there are no serious consequences. Obviously, a medical situation is equally serious.

The question of engagement

Gamification has a purpose, though it seems that game-based training is where the deepest learning comes in. Earning badges and rewards isn’t enough. The reason may rest with the issue of engagement

It has been well established that the more involved and invested a learner is in what they are doing, the more deeply they will comprehend and be able to put into practice what they have learned.

It naturally follows, then, that an activity that isn’t engaging to begin with won’t be that effective of a learning experience simply because badges and rewards have been added to it. That’s not to say it doesn’t add a level of interest but probably not enough to make the learner truly invested.

Game-based training is a winner

When it comes right down to it, game-based training seems to be a more effective corporate training tool than gamification alone. Not only is it a sure way to engage learners, as previously discussed, but it also gives learners the opportunity to work through problems and issues with a deeper level of comprehension. They are using critical thinking and problem-solving skills that don’t commonly come into play in a gamification situation.

While gamification has its place and should be considered one of the training tools,  the best training method for a corporate environment, in which the outcome affects so many areas of the business, may be game-based training over gamification.

To decide which tool meets your training needs the best, Designing Digitally, Inc. can conduct a needs analysis and guide your organization to develop the most appropriate customized training tool to achieve your strategic goals.