How Repetition and Mobile Games Boost Adult Learning

Gamification and gamified mobile applications have become extremely popular in forward-thinking organizations for their flexibility, effectiveness, and overall impact. By 2020, it is estimated that the gamification industry will grow 500% to $11.billion due to widespread adoption across various industries globally and mobile-friendly initiatives.

Gamification and Mobile games are a proven method of increasing training retention, even in adults.

When gamification comes to mind, most people tend to think of traditional consoles, arcades, and mobile apps – most not directly related to professional development. The power of gamifying for professional environments lies in their ability to inspire, motivate, and promote adult learning.

Does Gamifying Really Increase Adult Learning?

Yes! The best part of adult learning is that they are well-received by baby boomers and millennials alike, creating a multi-generational solution to age-old problems that organizations have faced. A study by the University of Colorado found that participants in gamified e-learning experiences scored 14% higher in skill-based knowledge assessments and had a 9% higher retention rate.

According to a study, adults scored 14% higher on skill-based-knowledge assesments, 11% higher in terms of factual knowledge, and had 9% higher retention after participating in eLearningSource: University of Colorado

Gamifying only work if designed and executed properly. Below are five proven benefits of using games to drive adult learning, from habit building to driving morale and engagement.

5 Benefits Gamifying Provide to Adult Professionals

 1. Games Focus on Habit Building and Promote Spaced Learning 

Spaced learning is the opposite of the “cramming” method, where large amounts of information is consumed in a short period of time, leading to low information retention rates. In general, the average adult will forget 50-80% of what they have learned after only a few days.

Graph of the amount of forgetting that occurs after various durations.  The results depend in most situationsSource: Work-Learning Research Inc.

With spaced learning, information is spread out and revisited often to strengthen a person’s learning curve and promote knowledge retention. It has been scientifically proven that repeated stimuli separated by timed spaces can initiate Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) and long-term memory. Gamifying applied to corporate and sales training, mimic this pattern to promote habitual adult learning that focuses on retention and growth.

 2. Busy Adults Can Take Advantage of Advanced Availability and Flexibility

Mobile applications can be accessed from anywhere, allowing learners to learn at their own pace in a preferred environment. Rather than bombarding employees with lengthy training sessions, gamifying can replace stale processes and add a level of flexibility that is often lacking in traditional settings.

For adults, the flexibility of games also offers a much needed chance to break up the work day. In this case, it is a win-win scenario if an employee can relax and learn at the same time. Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken: How Games Make Us Better and Can Change The World, found that the average gamer is 35 years old and that 61% of senior executives surveyed say they currently take daily game breaks at work. Game mechanics are not just for younger generations and can even be adopted from the top-down.

3. Gamification Promotes Customizable Knowledge Sharing 

One of the major benefits of gamified technology is the ability to customize and tailor games to focus on specific content and teaching styles. If you need to modify the game to reflect a change or to change the difficulty level, you can do it very easily.

In 2016, TechCrunch named “mass customization” as one of the trends that will shape the market in the next 3-5 years. Mass customization is scalable with games and can be deployed across a large organization to promote adult learning. According to IT firm Cognizant, “Gamification 3.0”, or the future of gamification, will be heavily focused on personalization with a focus on behavior-based frameworks, mental models, and even Neuroscience:

Gamification has evolved to become a personalized experience that can easily be analyzed with a variety of different metrics

4. Engagement Focused Games Boost Moral, Motivation, and Learning 

Gallup’s famous 2011 workplace productivity survey found that 71% of workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs. Games help drive a solution to this problem.

According to a study surveying 147 large organizations completed by the University of St. Gallen, engaged employees represent a company’s number one competitive advantage. This is due to increased productivity, quality of work, and sales performance.

Engagement is often created through a sense of community and purpose, where employees can build teams, have friendly competitions, and receive rewards for learning. Also, the knowledge gained during this process makes employees feel motivated and develop a self-worth that is rooted in the company’s success. Adults of all ages can benefit from these types of activities.

eGuide banner learning culture employee performance

5. Rewards. Rewards. Rewards.

It has been psychologically proven that dopamine is released when a person experiences pleasure, including rewards for doing something well. During the process of gaining rewards and advancing in competency, habit building forms and motivation increases as a result.

For gamified mobile apps, this motivation is considered intrinsic, which is driven by enjoyment. Rewards can be in the form of badges, points, new levels, and or leader boards. 

The rankings page inside the Atrivity app

Source: Atrivity

A brain’s “reward center” can be influenced, which is often seen in social media where developers add “hooks” to products to produce rewards and instant gratification. Additionally, with these constant loops of feedback come a great opportunity to track and measure a user’s progress – an element of gamification that adds an analytical and quantifiable benefit to the mix.

Overall, adults of all generations can benefit by using and adopting games into their arsenal of professional development tools.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Business Games, Gamification, Science of Learning, Corporate Training

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