As 2019 approaches, the number of Millennial entering our nation’s workforce is getting bigger and bigger. A Pew Research Center study found that 56 million were employed or seeking employment in 2017; by 2025, they will comprise around 75 percent of the country’s total workforce.
Millennials are younger adults born from 1981 to 1996. They are a generation that has come of age in a digital world. This group has not gained most of their knowledge from books like in the past. They were weaned on technology and media. As such, it is no wonder that companies are beginning to use video game techniques to train their employees.
Gamification Can Be Fun Or Serious
Training programs that use gaming elements like earned points, different levels, plus constant feedback and rewards, can keep employees motivated while teaching them skills. The employees interact with the lesson material, and may be gaining much more positive reinforcement and long-term retention of the material.
In 2014, McDonald’s used gamification training in the UK to teach their workers to operate cash registers. As the 20-minute training exercise progressed, it became more challenging to the players. It was also cost effective; it reportedly saved McDonald’s half a million pounds that would have been used for direct training.
The AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company also used gamification training to teach sales reps about a new product. The game they used, which put the reps on teams, focused on cooperation, and provided achievement rewards. AstraZeneca reported usage rates of 97 percent, and that the sales reps were motivated, energized, and educated.
More scientific educational training calls for different types of gamification training; there are programs that focus more on specific skills and less on the fun. This may be used in the fields of defense, education, and medicine, to name a few.
Why Does Gamification Training Work?
Video games target the part of the brain that craves rewards, and when a reward is obtained, dopamine is released into the body. This creates an endorphin rush. Not only does this feel good, it creates drive and motivation to continue. It is logical that the gameplay-reward model can effectively be used in employee training.
The Pew Research Center study also looked at retention and determined that the gamification-trained workers also scored high in this category. One method used in gaming is frequent and infrequent memory information retrieval.
A cognitive exercise, such as having the user search for a prize and later recall its location, is an example of this. It engages the trainee; this active kind of learning leads to higher knowledge retention.
Repeating the action many times during the game with different scenarios and other variables also helps to instill the memories.
The study goes on to say that gamification training is more motivating, because it incorporates elements like competition, challenge, and rewards.
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