November 2022
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TD Magazine

Game Over for Basic E-Learning

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Employees want more than online learning—they want gamification.

Two-thirds of companies have increased their investment in online learning, yet employees give those programs a Net Promoter Score of -29, according to Gamelearn's report Contradictions of Corporate Training 2022. The annual report from the game-based learning platform for corporate training surveyed more than 1,000 HR and L&D professionals and contrasted their opinions with those of employees.


Survey respondents first rated a single question between 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely). Depending on their response, respondents fell into three categories: promoters, who are enthusiastic users who score 9 or 10; passives, or generally satisfied users who score 7 or 8; or detractors, unhappy users who score 0 to 6. Detractors are likely to discourage others away from a product. To calculate the Net Promoter Score, researchers subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

"Employees' harsh assessment of their companies' digital training shows that, despite the growth in spending, expectations still aren't being met," the report states. The study found that most organizations continue to provide the majority of their online training—whether developed in-house or outsourced—as a simple text-based option or video. Meanwhile, workers who receive those types of e-learning said they would prefer more interactive and immersive options.

The report notes that talent development professionals agreed with employees that game dynamics and simulations better engage learners, but they also said that they are not yet able to adapt their strategies to integrate those elements into learning programs.


Two out of three employees reported a desire for more real-life simulations. However, few companies currently offer virtual or augmented reality learning experiences. And while 41 percent of employees want to see more gam-ification techniques applied to the learning they receive, just one-fifth of companies said they're incorporating game dynamics.

Employees want learning content similar to consumer-grade video games: quality content with engaging gam-ification elements or simulation and immediate feedback. Gamelearn says that formula typically achieves a Net Promoter Score of 45, a far cry from the -29 employees gave traditional e-learning courses.

The report notes that even if organizations invest more in digital learning, "it's still necessary to get the right online formats and methodologies to attract employees' attention."

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected]

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