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Gamification vs. Serious Games: Organisational Learning to Win the Market

December 7, 2018

Gamification has become quite a buzzword for the last few years. Gartner estimates that gamification market industry will grow up to $11 billion globally in 2020. Given its soaring popularity, many predict that gamification will defeat its older sister serious games. A report conducted by ATD found that among 551 people surveyed in the study, about 25 percent respondents use gamification for learning and 20 percent still use serious games. The survey participants said that that gamification and serious games can improve their learning outcomes to a high extent by 49 percent for gamification and 53 percent for serious games.

Then the question remains, which one should you choose to use in your workforce?

Well, it depends on your purposes. Gamification is an integration of game characters and mechanics into a real-world training program or task to promote changes in behaviour. This type of game is often used to motivate and engage people. Different from serious game, to implement gamification you should analyse your audience thoroughly to understand what drives them. For example, some employees might like to earn badges, while others only want material benefits. If you are unable to identify and pinpoint what drives your employees to learn through gamification, your efforts might go to waste.

See also: Pedal Desk – New Tech to Save and Retain Employees’ health

According to the research, in term of applications, gamification can improve employee training by 49 percent. It also can be used in orientation and training programs which will improve engagement by 43 percent. High-potential employee development programs will also improve by 34 percent.

On the other hand, serious games are simulations that have added elements of games as story, goals, feedback, and play. Serious games can also better engage employees but it is different from gamification. Serious games use traditional game techniques around serious business concept. According to the study, “Serious games can be used for reinforcing, but you should avoid their usage as stand-alone e-learning activities and the usage should be aligned to learning goals.”

In the research, it shows that employee training can be improved by 51 percent by using serious games. High-potential employee development programs can be improved by 43 percent. In training or orienting new hires, serious games will increase the result by 27 percent.

Have you made your decision now?

If the answer is a no, you might want to consider that gamification and serious games share same benefits such as:

  • both gamification and serious games can motivate learners,
  • both techniques are a blend from real world and fiction,
  • both can help employees to learn from their mistakes as they cannot proceed further if they fail / make mistake,
  • and use it in friendly way then both can nudge employees to give their best effort to reach on top.

However, in the end, the result will be different according to your objectives and how you implement the program.

Read also: Boosting Engagement and Market Performance with 6 Talent Practices

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