Live Blog from the ASTD International Conference: Gamification & Learning

by DarleneChristopher on May 9, 2012

I'm at the ASTD International Conference & Exposition in Denver, CO and trying live blogging for the first time.  Mary Myers and Robert Pearson from Maritz Canada are speaking on Driving Engagement & Performance: Gamification & Learning

Fun can change behavior for the better. The presenters showed a video that covered how people don't want to take the stairs, they want to take the escalator, but by gamifying the stairs, there was a 66% increase in the number of people taking stairs.  More of these types of videos are on the funtheory.com.

Definition of gamification:  the application of game mechanics to a non-game environment

Paul Lawrence, Harvard University, an organizational psychologist, teamed up with dean of business school and wrote a book called the Four Drive Model:  all behavior stems from 4 drives:  aquire, defend, create and bond

1. Drive to acquire: stuff, things, relationships, status

2. Drive to defend:  defend the things we’ve acquired (relationships and other stuff we’ve acquired)

3. Drive to bond: be social, connect, build community

4. Drive to create: drive to learn, drive to create a better community, better planet

When we think about behavior change, the tactics must address all four of these drives.  If you neglect one of these drives, you wont be successful.

Game dymanics include reward, status, acheivement, self expression, competition.

 Ford Case Study:  Professional Performance Program

Professional Performance Program provides dealer training  through an online portal (online resources, video, discussion forum).  Everyone must create a training program and get certified annually to become better sales or customer service people.  The existing program was successful, however people needed to take more training, so they applied game theory to the portal.

The setting of the game was a "garage." Employees could earn badges, display them in a trophy case.  People had to do a bundle of actions to complete a badge:  watch an online e-learning, watch a video, participate in a discussion forum.  Badges were aligned to specific business objectives.  The game is nimble so that as business objectives change, the badges change.   By changing the game over time, it keeps it sustainable, fresh, new.

Within first three days of launch, servers hosting the portal went down due to heavy traffic.

What surprised the team who developed the game was the high level of engagement in informal learning.  People were engaged in the game, and also happy to learn about resources that had always existed but they discovered them through the game.

This program launched on January 9 and in the future they hope to let participants pick their own avatar car to use in the game.

Results from the project:

1.  Percent of training plans (TP) completed.  As of April 2011, 89% of TP completed, vs April 2012 95% created a TP

2.  Percent of employees who met their Q1 milestone by deadline 2011 was 87%  in 2011 vs 94% in 2012

3. Total users:

Week 1 (Jan 8-15) 8,745
Jan : 11,202
Feb 12,998
March 13,847
April 14,297

Examples of gamificaiton ideas from the audience:

1. Continuing education to keep licenses current at an insurance firm: create a game similar to the one that the presenters shared.  Maybe have the participants start with a wrecked car or damaged house and they slowly restore it back to new as they earn points.

2.  Moving communications through layers of an organization:  use the game of telephone, hot potato

3. Change the terminology in a learning event:  instead of a quiz, call it a trivia challenge

4.  Verizon need more peer interactions so build  a system for rewarding behavior for good coaching.  People get points when they coach staff in a timely manner.

Recommended Books on Gamification:  The Gamification of Learning by Karl Kapp, Gamificaiton by Design by Gabe Zichermann

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