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5 Reasons Why Gamification is the Future of Professional Development

Gone are the days of boring, never-ending training sessions. Nowadays, professional development is all about making the exchange of knowledge a fun and interactive experience. It's like upgrading from a flip phone to a smartphone - you still get the necessary information, but now it's presented in a way that'll make you want to keep scrolling. The key is that people don't want to be talked at, they want to be part of the conversation.

Gamification has been making waves in the world of professional development, and it's not hard to see why. It transforms development into an adventure and keeps people engaged. Could this be the future of professional development? Let’s find out. 

What is Gamification?

Gamification can be implemented in various aspects but it is frequently utilised by businesses for functions like recruitment and corporate training to make the experience more enjoyable and less tedious. 

There are a number of ways to define gamification but in this context, gamification is simply utilising game principles, elements and game-design features to drive engagement and productivity. Some of the commonly implemented game principles include: 

Rewards & experience points - These include the points and badges that people earn as they complete their tasks or progress through their training pathway. 

Status/ Leaderboard - Leaderboards and learning status drive motivation by showing people their progress in comparison to their peers.

Community/ Social learning - People can accomplish an objective collectively, as a part of a group or community to improve engagement. 

When it comes to professional development businesses, it is crucial to keep track of behaviour from time to time to provide people with engaging yet effective learning experiences. People should be motivated by these learning experiences while improving their overall productivity and contributing to their organisational objectives. That sounds like a lot, but it actually isn’t. One very simple and effective solution to this is gamification. 

While gamification is close to becoming a common practice across businesses these days, one of the major benefits of gamifying learning is that it improves engagement by creating effective learning experiences.

As humans, we have a tendency to repeat behaviours and patterns that made us happy in the past. Tapping into this, gamification provides learners with a sense of happiness and satisfaction whenever they earn badges, points and progress on the leaderboard. This is just one aspect of gamification that has the potential to transform professional development businesses. Here are five more reasons why gamification is the future of professional development: 

1. Improved Learner Engagement & Productivity

Elements of gamification including real-time progress tracking, feedback cycles, short-term goal, rewards & recognition trigger the rush of happy hormones within people which makes the whole learning experience enjoyable for them. Gamification provides people with an environment where their extrinsic motivations are established through rewards, milestones and the points they earn, catering for their deeper intrinsic motivations like a sense of fulfilment and finding meaning in success.

2. Promotes Teamwork and Collaboration

Learning becomes more fun and interactive when you are a part of a community that you can associate with for support or motivation. One of the greatest benefits of gamification is that it drives collaboration and promotes teamwork. At times professional development businesses implement gamification through team-based learning where individuals are put into teams in order to foster a spirit of teamwork. People can see each other's progress, interact, and collaborate on different learning goals, making the learning process more interactive and fun. 

3. Fosters Creativity and Innovation

Gamification allows L&D leaders to implement various elements of game mechanics into a learning experience allowing people to experience real-time challenges and come up with innovative solutions when faced with them in real life. Gamification encourages innovation and creativity through peer participation and engagement. It allows people from various industries, backgrounds, and expertise to communicate and interact with each other while collaboratively participating in social learning tasks.

4. Drives Behavioural Change

In a recent study, 89% of employees reported that gamification of their work would increase productivity be it learning or operations. Gamification of learning drives engagement among individuals and builds patterns of behaviour where the learners are highly motivated to accomplish their learning goals. Additionally, various formats of content utilised to build learning experiences also play an important role in driving behavioural change within learners. Gamification has the power to reinforce positive learning patterns through rewards, points and badges. 

5. Promotes Application-based Learning

Gamification allows individuals to practise the application of their newly learnt skills to different contexts in a safe environment. One of the reasons why some professional development programs fail is because they don’t help people understand how to apply their learning to a real-time situation. Gamification promotes application-based learning. With gamification, one can provide individuals with structured tasks and activities based on what challenges they face on a regular basis in their job, giving them an opportunity to apply what they learned. 

What does this mean for the future?

Gamification is proving to be a winner in the world of professional development. Numerous studies and surveys claim that it boosts engagement, and with the rise of remote and hybrid working models, the future of gamification is looking brighter than ever.

But it's not just about incorporating game elements into learning - it's also about finding the right balance and blending it with other learning experiences. 

When it comes to gamification in professional development, it's essential to have a clear understanding of people's goals and the problem that needs to be solved. Without a solid strategy in place, even the most advanced gamification tools will fall short. So, before you jump on the gamification bandwagon, make sure you have a plan in place to get the most out of it.

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