Gamification is the use of game elements in non-game environments.  Examples of these game elements can include points, badges, levels, achievements, leaderboards or challenges.  It is a technique that has influenced nearly every industry in the past few years.

GPS apps like Waze offer game-like token rewards for distance traveled, reporting traffic hazards and overall usage.  Fitness apps like Zombies Run! have even introduced game-like stories, in addition to token rewards for time used and distance traveled.  Airlines offer frequent flyer miles as part of their customer loyalty programs.  Academics have been attempting to introduce game-like qualities to education for years with limited success.  Even NASA has been known to use game-like simulations to train astronauts.

These small rewards satisfy the user’s subconscious desires for things like competition, achievement, status, altruism and community collaborations as a way to motivate the user to act a certain way, whether that be loyalty, prolonged usage or increased productivity.  Jane McGonigal does a great job of explaining real-world applications of Gamification in her TED talk ‘Gaming can make a better world’.

Within ERP software, gamification has inspired vendors to rewrite their architecture to make it more user-friendly.  These simplifications have led to simplified usage in workflows, social activity streams, integrated collaboration, internal and external portals, configuration and business agility.  The popularization of game-like functions has made it easier for users to be self-sufficient, relying less on vendors to view or edit information within the system.

In a past post, we discussed the importance of employee engagement during ERP implementation.  Gamification is a great way to increase employee engagement and adoption, especially during training.  But how do you turn complex ERP training into a game?

  • Role-Play: By providing detailed context and scenarios, trainees become fully immersed in the simulated environment, similar to how gamers become fully immersed in the game world.  This style of training is especially beneficial when the simulated environment mirrors scenarios in which the learner will be expected to effectively apply the knowledge gained in training.
  • Make it meaningful: Make the lessons relevant to the learner’s goals and, when appropriate, interests.  For example, provide the training that the learner would need to meet their KPIs, get that promotion or raise they’ve been hoping for, or just perform better overall.
  • Make it social: Connect your learners with others in the same position.  Give them resources such as Wikis, chat forums, learning groups on social media, LinkedIn groups, etc.  Providing a platform for learners to connect with other learners you are encouraging participation, contribution, relationship building, cooperation, and collaboration.
  • Use Mastery Levels: Just like in games, learners perform better when they can see a measurable increase in rank or status.  Create a variety of challenges that learners must complete in order to “rank up” from novice, to expert, to master.
  • Rewards:  Similar to mastery levels, rewards provide positive reinforcement that will increase overall engagement and performance.  There are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, and it’s important to provide a both to keep different personality types motivated.

Gamification is more than just a buzzword, it is a valuable tool for increasing engagement in a variety of industries including ERP software.  Gamification has taken society by storm, and gamification of ERP is already happening.  Basic game qualities have made ERP systems more user-friendly and allowed users to be more self-sufficient.  When applied to training techniques, gamification can also increase the engagement and performance of learners.

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