A resource for safe, effective and measurable learning from the leaders in gamification simulation training.

Hey there, Troubleshooters! Welcome back once again, and thanks for joining us on Troubleshooting Thursdays. Today we’re looking at troubleshooting your training, and specifically, we’re focusing on gamification for improving motivation and learning.

Millennials and Gen Z in the workforce

Did you know that Millennials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) currently make up 35% of the US labor force? Did you know that that number is expected to soar to 75% by 2025, just a few short years away?

If you’re a Director of Technical Training or a plant manager involved in training manufacturing staff, or an HR manager hiring new employees, this probably doesn’t surprise you.  But have you considered how the age of your new hires may be affecting their training?

Millennials, and the Generation Z cohort coming up right behind them, have grown up surrounded by technology and are totally comfortable with it. (In fact, a recent study found that they communicate often more digitally than they do in person.) This generation was basically born with a phone stuck to its hand and they play games – all the time. Today, by the time an American has reached 21 years of age, they’ve played 6,000 to 9,000 hours of video games (compared with 2,000 hours reading books). Fifty-eight percent of Millennials have played video games in the last 30 days, and 20% of them played an average of 5 hours per week. Gen Z plays even more.

Both of these generations love tech and have come to expect rich media experiences. What they don’t do well is listen to talking heads.

Motivation through gamification

When it comes to training staff who belong to these age cohorts, lecture-style training programs with talking-head videos and training manuals are not going to work. Gamification, though, is proving successful.

The gamification of training is simply taking the motivating reward and competition elements found in popular video and computer games and adapting them to training programs. Points, badges, leaderboards, and progression through levels are some of these features of gamification that can be repurposed in digital software-based training.

At least 12 separate studies of gamification for educating secondary school students has found that it has a positive impact on their learning. The immediate feedback offered by points, badges, leaderboards and levels keeps motivation and participation levels high. One study (Goehle, 2013) found that found that 93% of students kept track of their levels, and 89% actively worked to obtain achievements.

In addition to these elements, gamification has to include good game design that includes intrinsic motivators such as freedom to fail, a design that is carefully structured to allow progression through content that presents a challenge but does not leave the user frustrated, and a good narrative story (Stott & Neustaedter, 2013).

Students who are engaged and motivated are more likely to experience a sense of acknowledgement and accomplishment that leads to them being more proactive and participating more, and are more motivated to complete voluntary tasks such as preparing for and attending class.

Knowledge retention

So you may be asking yourself, does all of this motivation, engagement and participation have an effect on performance?

Research is showing that it does. Brull et al. (2017) found that instruction using gamification during orientation helped nursing students retain knowledge (and improved productivity) better than traditional methods. The software giant SAP used gamification in its college recruitment and found that gamified recruits had much higher levels of awareness of the company values and product than non-gamified recruits.In fact, it turns out that making work fun can increase employees’ ability to learn new skills by as much as 40%.

Beat the engagement crisis

Gabe Zichermann, the CEO of Dopamine Inc. (consultants who focus on gamified campaigns for employees and consumers) knows what it takes to get people to listen to you. He says, “We’re in an engagement crisis. You can’t hold people’s attention the way you used to.” Zichermann’s solution is to recognize that younger employees have grown up playing video games and that programs that appeal to them must include the three F’s of gaming: feedback, friends, and fun.

Training Millennials and Gen Z means recognizing that traditional methods of training may not work any more, and we have to do things differently. And after all, why shouldn’t it be fun?

Gamifying manufacturing maintenance training

At Simutech Multimedia, we’re talking all this fun very seriously. (See our article, Candy-Crushing It: Gamifying Manufacturing to Train Millennials, in Industry Week magazine). We’ve recognized the benefits of gamification, and are incorporating it into our award-winning suite of electrical troubleshooting training modules.

More gamification tools are coming to the all-new Simutech Training System after March 31, 2019, for customers who have migrated to the new platform. Heads up: new 3D modules are also coming this spring, and our existing modules will be available in 3D format in the near future.

Okay, Troubleshooters, that’s all for today! Tune in next week to read about reducing your staff churn rate.

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