Earlier this year a training participant stopped me mid sentence and asked if she could share something right there and then. Puzzled for a moment there, I encouraged her to. She expressed her surprise for the fact that at multiple occasions in the training it had seemed to her the content was designed keeping “ just her” in mind. The scenarios and learning methods seemed to have been lifted from “her life”. Others chimed in agreement. Everyone wondered how had that come to be.
Everyone except me! It was all by good design of course.
In order to catalyze active participation from learners, one needs to see things from their perspective. There needs to be designed a narrative that fuels their individual learning journey. The task thus, is to enable learners to identify the issues they need to work on, seek pathways to find solutions to these issues and clarify personal values that will support their journey on being in the driver seat to their goals. Unless a learner understands that they carry a reservoir of skills and experiences and lifelong learning inside them to rely on, in their path to self-sufficiency the best-designed trainings can all be in vain. A learner needs to feel that they are in control of their path and have freedom of expression in the application of learning towards their goals.
To achieve this level of active participation from learners micro learning tools are almost like a magic pill. I especially am a proponent of the informal discussion model for its stickiness. Learners are often already accustomed to analyzing their problems in this context with friends and peers. By taking on a facilitator role, I am able to create a learning space with games and activities based on the learner' own life experiences. In a scenario and story based learning the learners often express that the training seems personalized to their goals while being highly engaging and interactive at all times. They feel enabled to explore the deeper complexities of the issues at hand. They are not only able to learn more, but also something new- how to identify specific issues, apply learning in a safe controlled environment of a training space resolving issues and practicing to remember and gain mastery. This type of instant feedback helps close the evaluation loop better too.
Gamification of learning design allows learners to have fun with the content- making it memorable and actionable in return. A playful design permits learning objectives to be met by performing specific learning activities in spaced repetition leading to higher chances of facilitating actual long-term behavior change - Holy Grail of any effective learning design! Gamification also helps learning effectively take place in small chunks that is easy to practice, recall and thus gain proficiency in.
Not to forget the active development of skills and tools -laid out as part of learning objectives- directly related to the learner' on job tasks thus meeting their needs for improving their own competencies and concrete takeaways for the $$ invested in training! Win-win for everyone.
If you are still pondering over how the benefits of gamification of learning design may apply to your training- consider this golden nugget- Gamification helps learners take on a cloak of anonymity- while working on mastering solutions and attitude changes to their shared issues together- yet not being forced into be embarrassed about spotlight on past lives and mistakes. The bite sized gamified learning process promotes a safe space for shared learning -giving everyone an incentive to learn and grow from the life of a story character- just like the magic of movies-one the greatest cultural norm setter of our times-right behind Netflix!
If you have any questions about how can you make your existing learning design more gamified, learner centric and accessible -please feel free to reach out and connect.