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A “SIMPLE” Approach to Learning Games

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I really enjoyed reading David Zinger’s excellent article titled “Game On:  A Primer on Gamification for Managers” in the May issue of T+D magazine.  And, need you ask, as Chief Game Changer of Game On! Learning, I do love the title.

A link to the article is at the bottom of this post.

David does a nice job of sorting through the employee engagement challenges most organizations face today around the globe, and how gamification, combined with social media, can have a great impact on employee engagement.

The article offers 6 components of gamification that are necessary to drive engagement.  You can use the acronym SIMPLE to remember them.

S.  Gamification needs to be sustainable, meaning it needs more substance than simply being novel.  Adding games like Jeopardy to current training may be novel at first, but these tired and overused games will quickly lose that novelty.  Make sure the gamification you leverage adds meaning to the training and to work.

I.  Immersive.  Games should be immersive without being diversions.  The game should be a catalyst for learning, not something employees play for entertainment instead of getting work done.  The linkage between game mechanics and productive learning is often more difficult to attain than one might think.

M.  Games in learning should be meaningful by being woven into the fabric of the employee’s work.  Authenticity of the game-work relationship is more important than gamification that is just cool and flashy.

P.  Play.  Blurring the boundaries between work and play is a good thing, and an effective way to bring more engagement to the workforce.  Zinger even suggests involving employees in the development of the games they might play with the goal of optimizing the work-game linkage.

L.  Gamification should be lucrative, not costly.  As it relates to learning, consider including gamification in training that increases profits or makes the organization more efficient in order to make the training as engaging (and effective) as possible.

E.  One of the primary goals of gamification is engagement.  If the learning game isn’t engaging to begin with, don’t expect the learning to be either.  If you or your organization are new at this, this is where you should leverage experts like Game On! Learning or others in this space.

This acronym can be helpful in making sure your gamification efforts add value to your employees, and build alignment between engagement, learning, and work.

SIMPLE, isn’t it?

Click here to review David Zinger’s article in T+D.

Click here to review another Game On article on the topic of engagement.

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