Scientists have learned quite a bit about the brain lately.
For example, a team at Harvard Medical School found that humans tend to learn the most when they are exposed to small pieces of information. Gamification, a technique of learning and motivation that involves rewards and entertainment, employs this concept.
Many large companies, including Xerox, Allstate and Hyatt Hotels, use gamification to teach employees processes and procedures, improve productivity and even to pump up sales and reach revenue goals. Here's a look at their different approaches to engaging employees in unusual ways.
At Xerox training is trivial
Sitting an employee down in a two-day training session is often a recipe for disaster. Apart from the boredom and stale conference room donuts, this type of old-school training often won't register with new hires or sales teams since it's difficult to absorb that much information. Three months later, you might not even remember if you took the course at all.
Kerry Hearns-Smith is a senior learning strategist at Xerox. Her team uses an app called Qstream, which is similar to the popular trivia game, Trivia Crack. Instead of a formal training seminar, employees use the app throughout the day or at team meet-ups and compete with one another by answering questions. The idea is to instill best practices in employees who are on the go and too busy for formal training seminars.
Because of the unique format, the gamification element received mixed reviews by employees. It may have been too out-of-the-box or creative for learners who were more familiar with our more typical training experience.
Lyn Scrine, ethics director for Allstate Enterprise Business Conduct
"Xerox uses a more informal and experiential approach that adds some enticement and fun," says Hearns-Smith, who is part of the Learning Services group. In some cases, her team will use a leaderboard in a room to show who is answering the most questions correctly. At a sales event, they might also give away prizes and other incentives.
Research shows that games have a unique way to motivate people in business. More than 94 percent of Xerox sales people participate in the Qstream games, says Qstream co-founder and CEO Duncan Lennox. In a large company, about 100 to 20,000 employees can participate in mobile games, usually in teams of 30-80 people, such as those in regional offices, he says.
"This is about engaging the salesforce and also about educating and driving behavior the company wants," says Lennox. "People look at this and see how this could be knowledge-rated product information, such as learning about the speeds and feeds for a new computer."
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