How to Bring Gamification to Your Learning Program Today

July 26, 2016

Gamification is hot right now in elearning, and for good reason.

Scores of organizations have seen dramatic increases in employee engagement and productivity after employing game mechanics and game-design techniques in their workplace. You’ve heard about it, you know that it could potentially benefit your organization’s learning program, and so you’re interested.

But how do you even begin?

At its core, gamification encourages behaviors that lead to greater learning and performance gains. And you can begin implementing game-like elements to encourage increased participation and productivity in your organization’s learning program right now.

Here are a few suggestions for a quick and easy kickstart:

Pub trivia

Encourage your managers to ask a series of quiz questions that draw upon new knowledge, procedures, and/or product info that your team needs at the beginning of each meeting. Have them track the number of correct answers over time, and set a clear reward structure for markers of achievement on both an individual and team level (e.g. after accomplishing 10 correct answers, the team receives x reward).

Challenge boards

Brainstorm a list of your organizational goals or needs at this moment. It can include anything from training on a new procedure or general professional development to specific performance metrics.

Then, determine specific tasks or “challenges” that can be gleaned from that list of organizational goals. An example list might include:

  • Watch three training videos and write a brief summary of findings.
  • Model a new learning to a colleague.
  • Earn three customer review scores higher than x by 11 a.m.
  • Take one training quiz each week.

You can also construct this list in collaboration with your organization’s managers to integrate their own specific objectives and perspectives. What types of tasks or challenges would they find meaningful?

Once the list of tasks has been created, post it publicly, such as in a shared document or on a community whiteboard. “Challenge” your teams to complete a certain number of tasks by a deadline. If successful, reward accordingly with recognition and an opportunity that is generally not available, such as a lunch outing or other coveted event. Be sure to allow time for the team to reflect and share new findings and learnings from these challenges.

You can then begin another round of challenges, but perhaps change the stakes. Which team can complete the most challenges by the deadline? Who has succeeded in streaks of success (e.g. one challenge completed each day for a consecutive four days)?


Your teams are your agents. Their mission, should they choose to accept it…

Pose an interesting, complex problem for employees to solve as a collective. This problem should leverage the skills and competencies of the group, and inspire employees to conduct research, review training materials, and/or ask colleagues and managers for their insight and experience on the topic. And don’t be afraid to use the word “mission”– it’s amazing what a slight adjustment in perspective can do for motivation!

As you try these kickstarters, always remember to consider the effect that a new gamification implementation might have on the working relationships in your organization. Choose techniques that result in meaningful knowledge acquisition and application, and consider how to deliver the experience in a way that promotes a spirit of positivity and collaboration amongst the members of your team. Execution is key!

Gamification is just one step toward creating a culture of learning at your company. To learn all six steps, download our ebook today on how to build a culture of learning.