The rise of the Internet and digital platforms has favored the development of Video games. In 2014, there were approximately 1.78 billion video gamers in the world, about 25% of the world’s population. The statistics are dizzying and reveal a reality that many companies envy: the video game industry has been able to conquer (with success) its market. At the source of such success, a fine use of neurological techniques generating dopamine secretion, “the enzyme of the happiness “, favoring a loyalty, even a more or less strong addiction.
Without going to this extreme, some mechanisms from video games can be reused in other industries. In their book “Total Commitment: How Games and Virtual Worlds Are Changing the Way People Work and Businesses Compete «, Professor Byron Reeves of Stanford University and Dr. J. Leighton Read analyze the impact of use in the corporate world of avatars, 3D environments and other components of video games on team productivity and employee engagement.
Training in a company is particularly sensitive to the gamification of its contents, using effective loyalty techniques inherited from video games – to the delight of learners.
1- A relaxing break
To unzip between two client folders or spend time in a queue or in the subway, the game is all the more addictive if it is practicable over a short period. Based on short missions to be carried out or levels to reach, it offers a fun experience that allows you to escape every day for a few minutes.
Applications such as Duolingo understand it. With 2 or 3 lessons per day no more, learner-players can dive in as soon as they have a free moment. And the mobile app option then offers even more flexibility to users: no need to block a time slot or provide special equipment, the mobile is always in the pocket.
2- Levels and trophies
This is one of the keys to video game loyalty: get rewards and climbing levels provides a sense of achievement and self-esteem. In the video game, the most diligent player is also the one who progresses the faster (which is not always the case in real life).
In the training courses, the division of the modules into levels to achieve helps maintain the motivation of learners and to encourage regular practice.
3- Random rewards
Obtaining points and passing levels are not enough to build loyalty players alone. To avoid monotony, the distribution of random rewards favors the secretion of dopamine, having an immediate effect on the addiction to the game in question. Moreover, it allows to desacralize the ranking to keep only the fun aspect of the competition. Without any apparent reason or underlying logic, the player can only hope to receive a reward by returning regularly to the game.
4- Instant feedbacks
To promote learning, play must provide for the immediate sharing of feedback (or at least as soon as possible after the action). In a fighting game, the success of it is immediately related to the relevance of the weapons used and techniques deployed to defeat the opponent. The player can check live the validity of his choices.
Similarly, in a gamified training, the feedback must absolutely be shared immediately. It should clearly indicate which aspects of the action it is linked to, mention the positive aspects and propose ways to improve.
5- An alternative reality (even virtual)
One of the things that players particularly enjoy in games videos is the faculty of projecting oneself into an imaginary or virtual environment. Users feel attracted by the opportunity to put themselves in the skin of an avatar, in an alternative reality allowing them to escape the everyday life during the game time. In this virtual world, the risk is zero, which promotes a degree of self-confidence and greater involvement of participants.
6- A changing environment
Always to avoid any risk of monotony, the designers of video games regularly change the environment to stimulate the interest of the players. New worlds, seasonal decorations and other bonuses bring an air change that renews interest – without changing the game.
7- A persistent world
The worst nightmare for “addicted” players: losing the points earned during their absence. This is the “Tamagotchi” effect of persistent games, which continues to evolve even when the player is not connected. The player is afraid to leave his avatar alone in the game, and therefore feels forced to return.
Let’s retake the example of Duolingo: the lessons learned perfectly are only temporary. Over time, the user loses points and must go back to win them again and keep an optimal score – allowing him at the same time to review knowledge he has without doubt forgotten.
8- A community of network players
One of the great strengths of networked video games is the formation of a community of players who can compete or help each other. In the frame of a playful training, the player-learners seek to win the top spot of the ranking, which pushes them to surpass themselves. It’s not so much about fostering competition but to create a community of learners that can then exchange, collaborate and share skills learned beyond the training.
The use of serious games and gamified mobile learning has completely transformed the training inside companies. From a more or less appreciated lesson, it becomes a fun development tool for learners. The gamification of training courses allows to provide a framework leaving space for experimentation, reflection, action and evaluation. The right to make mistakes is particularly beneficial in learning skills and retention of knowledge. More fun and more effective, what more can be asked for?
Chief marketing officer at SPARTED, I am an expert on mobile and micro-learning.