Gamification in eLearning: What is it and how can you use it?
Posted 28 April, 2021

Online learning is skyrocketing in popularity as one of the most powerful ways to train and engage your internal talent. As such, many organisations are using gamification in eLearning to engage learners and increase learner retention.

But is it just a buzzword or fad? What role does it really play in education, retention and preparing people for life?

Discover how to make gamification useful and relevant in contextualising learning in this webinar. Our Partnerships Executive Jake Sullivan speaks with Special Guest, Jimmy McPhedran, CEO and Founder of EdTech start-up Padmore City (a virtual-city themed eLearning environment for ongoing professional development!).

You will learn: 

  • Core gamification in eLearning principles – including storytelling, micro-learning, levels, awards, quizzes and more
  • How to make gamification relevant to contextualise eLearning
  • The psychology behind why certain gamification elements work (and don’t work!)
  • How learning platforms, including Padmore City, uses gamification to successfully engage learners.

Access “Gamification in e-Learning” webinar



Transcript of gamification in e-learning

Jake Sullivan 00:15

Morning, everyone, welcome to our webinar for April. We’re just going to wait obviously, just to get our numbers or our people and attendees coming in, and then we’ll get started. So we’ll sit tight for a couple of minutes, and then we’ll get straight into it.

Jake Sullivan 00:49

Okay, I think we’ll, we’ll get started. So thank you everyone for registering for this month’s webinar, as you already know, or would have when you registered? Today’s topic is gamification in E-learning. So we’re really excited to be doing this in collaboration with Scout Talent marketplace partner, Padmore City. And we’re actually joined here today by CEO and co-founder, Jimmy. So welcome, Jimmy. And thank you so much for coming in today. 

Jimmy McPhedran 01:16 

Thank you, Jake, a pleasure to be here. 

Jake Sullivan 01:18 

Cool. So I guess just some quick sort of housekeeping. Your microphones today are on mute. But we really do want your participation in today’s topic. It’s obviously a really interesting one to talk about. But if you do have any questions along the way, we do have a support person in the room that will be monitoring the chat. So if you do have any questions, pop them in there. And at the end, we’ll have a little Q&A session where we can answer any questions you might have. That does include some of you who did fill our our pre-webinar Q&A that we sent out -or our poll- so we’ll answer those questions too. 

And then this obviously, is being recorded. So we will send out all of these slides to you as well, and along with any content… Jimmy may be able to help with some more content regarding gamification. 

Alrighty, um, today’s agenda, really what we want to know is, I guess from Jimmy, being one of the experts in the field, is what really is gamification? What does it mean for our teams? And how can we implement it into our, I guess, into L&D strategies and applying that to our workforces in our organisations? The psychology behind it? And, I guess, why those certain gamification elements work, but also, I think it’s important to talk about why they may not work for some organisations too. And then, I guess, how learning platforms including Damore City use go gamification successfully to engage learners as well. So that’s today what we’re going to cover. 

Jake Sullivan 02:56 

So we’re going to start off with a poll. Now, would you describe yourself as a gamer now? It’s an interesting one to ask, I know, but pop your answers in there. And we will keep this open for a couple of about a minute or so for you to answer. Answers are flowing in nice and thick and fast. Thank you. Jimmy. Are you a gamer yourself?

Jimmy McPhedran 03:22

No, no, I have “gamed”, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a gamer. It’s got some kind of serial commitment to it which I don’t have.

Jake Sullivan 03:31

Yeah, I, so I myself, I’d say I enjoy playing a game. But I wouldn’t classify myself as a, I guess, a practical gamer in a sense, but you never know. By the end of today’s webinar, I might find out that I am an actual gamer. So, so yeah. Cool. Alrighty, so as you can see, not many gamers in here today. But again, you may be like me, and we may find out that we are actually gamers. So thank you all for doing that. We’re going to, I guess, kick on with the next topic. 

So, I guess, Jimmy, we really wanted to start off today with, I guess, gamification is something that most of our attendees may know about or have heard about. Do you think this is a topic that’s sort of maybe a fad or, or a buzzword happening in the learning space currently at the moment? 

Jimmy McPhedron 04:30

Yeah, so, it’s a good question and what you’ve probably noticed, and I had a quick look at the attendee list, I see that a lot of people attending are involved in some kind of HR, HR role within their organisation. So they’re obviously well across learning and development. So if you’re all in that space, you’ll notice that there’s a huge amount of buzzwords floating around in regards to education, especially in regards to ed-tech. So if you’ve heard “gamification” you’ve heard about the benefits of gamification, probably more precisely you’ve had someone pushing the benefits of gamification. You’ve probably heard people talking about experiential learning, you’ve heard people talk about problem-based learning, you might have heard about blended learning. There are so many buzzwords in education in general and in particular ed-tech. 

So gamification, it’s- you have to understand anything in education, people are trying to sell things constantly. So the gamification might be being pushed by certain organisations, certain L&D online learning organisations, trying to sell their particular product. So it does tend to get overblown the same way other types of learning get overblown as well. So experiential learning, problem-based learning, learning through collaboration. So, it has its place, which we’ll flesh out during this webinar. It definitely works, I can tell you for absolutely 100% it works. But it’s really important with any kind of analysis of L&D [that] you place these things properly. So it’s not the be-all and end-all. I tend to think of gamification as it can be the nice icing on the cake, you’ve still got to actually develop the cake, and then you just finish it off with gamification. 

Because for me, it’s really about engagement, it helps with engagement. It may not really drive a huge amount of retention, but it gets people in there, and it gets people staying in there. So it really helps with your engagement and your “stickiness”.

Jake Sullivan 06:34

Great, thanks for the demo, I guess, the key outcomes of what I pulled out of there (and I hope I’m getting this right) but you really do need to get, at the end of the day, still have an L&D strategy in place. And gamification is (and we’re going to cover this a little bit later, I believe) but a tactic or a tool that you can use to activate that L&D strategy. 

Jimmy McPhedron 06:53 

Absolutely. Yeah. 

Jake Sullivan 06:54 

Perfect. Yeah. So, I guess, on the screen there, we’ve just got some, I guess: what is gamification? The application of typical elements of gaming, point-scoring, rules of play, competition (who doesn’t love a bit of healthy competition?) to other areas of activity. And the promise of gamification is to make the hard stuff in life fun. So a boring, mundane job with gamification can sort of, I guess, maybe make that a little bit more exciting for staff and employees?

Jimmy McPhedron 07:23

Yeah, absolutely. And one of the key things known about this is gamification has been employed across various different areas of activity, apart from learning. So, we’re gonna focus on E-learning. 

But if you (and we’ll bring this up in a few slides time) but, Jake mentioned, you might already be gaming, you might already be a bit of a gamer. If you’re addicted to your frequent flyer status, then, by definition, you’re probably a gamer. If you’ve got your Woolworths rewards card out every time you go shopping, then you’re probably a gamer as well. 

So we’re focusing on a specific part of gamification. We’re looking at it in regards to E-learning, but gamification, as you read out, as you can see on that slide, you just take the typical elements of gaming, and you apply them to other areas of activity. So, if you’ve got point-scoring, if you’ve got leaderboards, if you’ve got rules, if you operate through those rules, score points, competing with other people, then you’re actually gaming and you’re in a gamified environment. 

And again, the promise is to make the hard stuff fun. It sounds fun, it sounds great. We’re going to look at some stats that gamification. With anything to do with learning, and especially e-learning, you’ve got to take a lot of these stats, I think, with a grain of salt. Because, again, everyone’s trying to push what their particular slant on learning, whether it be gamification, whether it be, you know, experiential learning, learning through collaboration, whatever it is, people are trying to push the particular version of learning that they have out in the marketplace. So we’ll have a look at some of those stats later on.

Jake Sullivan 09:00

Great, thanks again, Jimmy for that, I guess that there could be some potential sort of sceptical people out there. Like we mentioned, just before, it is maybe a hype word or something like that. So again, understanding that there really does need to be the backing of a strategy and making it relevant, but it is in place to make things fun. And people respond to it well. 

Jimmy McPhedron 09:24 

It does work. It does. I’ve seen it work very well. 

Jake Sullivan 09:28 

Great. Well, we’re going into, I guess, that learning design framework like we, or I, keep mentioning, [that}] you really need a strategy before you can, I guess, apply gamification in L&D? Can you talk us through this sort of framework that you’ve got here? I guess, where does gamification fit in within a learning design framework?

Jimmy McPhedron 09:49

Sure, yeah, so as Jay mentioned, what we have here is a learning design framework. Now if you’ve seen something like this before, then you’ll be quite familiar with it. If you haven’t seen this before, in terms of the learning outcomes from this particular webinar, I actually think getting- developing the ability to actually apply this learning design framework to any of your learning products or any of your learning interventions that you purchase, push down to your people internally, develop yourself, push down the people internally, this is so valuable. And I know we’re talking about gamification, and I’ll show you where gamification slots in but being able to analyse a learning product across this learning design framework (and you might have seen this just described as a pedagogical framework as well) is incredibly valuable. I think there are two main ways this can be used. 

So if you have a range of learning products already being used in your organisation, pushed down to your staff, or maybe to your students, if you can classify that particular product in terms of the underpinning philosophy behind that product (and I’ll explain all this, as we go through the examples) the high-level learning design, your learning design strategy, and then finally, your learning design tactics, then you can really start to analyse whether that particular product is effective. 

So you can push it out onto your cohort, your staff, your students. And you can say, well, “This particular product that has this philosophy, this particular type of high-level learning design, this strategy, and these tactics worked really well. This one didn’t have this strategy, have different tactics, it didn’t work that well.” So you can really start to analyse the effectiveness of your learning products. 

The other thing it does I think (going back to those earlier comments, because there are so many trends and buzzwords floating around in education, especially in E-learning) this actually helps you to classify the latest trend. 

So if we just step through how this actually works. Any kind of learning product will, first of all, have an underpinning philosophy. 

Jimmy McPhedron 12:03

Now it could simply be an instructivist approach to education. So if you think back to school, university, I remember my first lecture at university, the lecturer literally walked out onto the stage, leaned upon the lectern, and read out his notes for about two hours and occasionally just looked up to make sure, well, he didn’t really even look up to make sure that we weren’t asleep, I think there’s a lot of people asleep. So that is a basic, traditional constructivist approach to learning. There’s not much high-level learning design apart from: “People learn through listening to me talk”. There’s really not much of a learning design strategy and learning design tactics, probably simply the fact that there was a microphone in the room so you can project your voice. 

Now we’ve moved on a lot from that. The most common I think the most popular and effective underpinning philosophy in regards to learning is an instructivist approach to education. So instead of instructivist, which is you sitting back and being the passive recipient of someone, then it could be a face to face lecture, it could be a webinar. If you’re putting a lecture online, you’re still doing an instructivist approach to learning. 

While if you’re taking a constructivist approach to learning, you’re actually getting the learner to learn through doing. So they’re constructing their own learning. So that’s the high-level philosophy. So you got to sort all this out before you even get on to your learning design tactics because your gamification sits in as a learning design tactic. 

The next level, the high-level learning design. That’s where you have things like collaborative learning, problem-based learning, experiential learning, and experiential learning is simply working through a problem but then being forced to reflect back upon your answer. So you have that extra level, which is “Okay, my philosophy is constructivist; I think people learn through doing. But then you’ve got this extra level saying, I also think people learn through solving problems”. So it might be a constructivist problem-based learning. And then you actually get into the gaps of your learning design strategy. 

So you’re learning design strategy, I’m not sure if you can see those footnotes, but it’s your plan of action designed to achieve skill development. So once you have your learning design strategy, you then have a look at your learning design tactics. And your tactics -Learning Design tactics- is simply the detailed moves through which you enact your learning design strategy. And gamification sits in at the bottom one. So it’s a learning design tactic. 

So as we said at the start, it works. It definitely works for engagement. It can work very well for engagement, you can make your learning products much stickier; people come back to them. But it is simply a tactic. So you have to do all this thinking around your lL&D strategy before you even get down to this level in regards to learning design tactics. 

Now, if you look at what’s out there at the moment, and when people are talking about promoting gamification, you wouldn’t really know that. It seems to be sold as a bit of an end in itself. It’s not, it’s simply a tactic that you use off the back of a well thought out learning design strategy. Any questions on that, Jake? 

Jake Sullivan 15:22

That’s a lot of information and that’s really, really helpful. And, and, obviously, we will be sending these slides out. So if you can’t see or can’t read that slide currently like I said, we will send that out and you can have a little bit of a read. We will also, I believe, Jimmy will follow up with some more standardised formatting as well within this, so you can help apply that in your current organisation as well.

Jimmy McPhedron 15:48

Yeah, so I can send a blank copy of this. So if you have a look at- so the second column that I’ve populated, I’ve populated this with the Padmore City learning design framework. So my background: I spent about (I still do some training in this area) about seven or eight years as an educator for financial services. And I figured out very quickly that if you’re just sending information to people out of context, it doesn’t work. So human beings require context. And they’re also required to actually work through problems and solve problems. That’s how people develop skills and capabilities. 

So our philosophy is a constructivist approach to education. So the platform that we have, it doesn’t really move an inch unless you’re moving it. You’re constantly moving through the scenario, solving the problem. And we’ve picked up this scenario-based learning approach, also known as learning through immersive storytelling because we have this virtual city-themed learning platform. You create a character, go into the city, and you solve the problems of business owners, the individuals who actually live in the city. 

So the immersive storytelling, scenario-based learning is our high-level learning design. And our strategy is the creation of this, this data-driven city, and real-life characters, and we just keep running scenarios after scenarios so the learner can actually create their avatar, go into the city, and experience a real-life problem, and then solve the problem within that same real-life scenario. 

But then you get down to the learning design tactics. I’ve highlighted what I think could be described as gamification elements. So, creating your own avatar to step into the city, that sort of immerses the person in the scenario. The in-the-moment feedback and scores and leaderboard, they’re all gamification elements. So if we, if you’ve cast your mind back to the definition of gamification, it’s using game elements and applying those to the learning environments. So game element- elements, there are rules, you can only progress through a project if you get a certain score, you constantly get feedback, you get scores that go onto your leaderboard, you can compare yourself with other members of your cohort. And then you’ve got the whole, you know, the avatar component as well, which I think could be described as a gamification element. But that’s, that’s our philosophy, you’ll have your own. 

Well, that’s our learning design framework, you will have your own products that you currently have pushed to your staff or to your learners. And they might have a totally different analysis of this learning design framework. And you might even come to the conclusion that, based upon the platform we’re using, it doesn’t actually have the ability to bring in gamification. 

And there are some questions that came through if you don’t have gamification. How can you get gamification imported into the LMS [learning management system], or onto the platform? That really just comes down to the platform, or the LMS, whether it has the ability to actually integrate with other learning design or gamification products.

Jake Sullivan 19:04

Great. Thanks very much for that top line. Again, just a reminder, obviously, Jimmy has a lot of information there. If you do have any questions as we’re going, drop them into the chat. We do have our Q&A session at the end of this sort of webinars, so if you do have anything you’d like Jimmy or myself to address, not sure how much information I can give, but Jimmy is the expert here. So we’ll lean on that. 

We’ll keep moving on. So I guess some gamification examples. Jimmy mentioned before like Qantas frequent flyer points, Woolies rewards cards, even possibly, like your coffee card, you buy nine you get your tenth for free, like, are these, I guess, basic examples of how gamification is applied in the community or in our everyday lives? 

Jimmy McPhedron 19:48

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is gamification applied outside the learning environment. So Qantas, Virgin frequent flyer programmes are tremendously successful. Any of you dialling in who fly regularly, then I dare say you’re a member of one or maybe both of these programmes. 

And then they’re extremely good because what they do is they set up game-based elements. So when you fly, you get points. If you get enough points you get, you know, they’re your Qantas points, but you also get status credits. It actually leads to tangible real-life benefits. And you can track your progress, you can compare yourself to other people. So that’s obviously gamification examples applied to something other than learning. The same with Woolworths rewards, loyalty cards for coffee – that’s all gamification elements. 

What we’re talking about is gamification applied to E-learning and some of the most common examples that you’ll see. And depending on your LMS, I know some people have gamification elements. A lot of people don’t have gamification elements linked to their LMS. But things like badges and awards, very, very common. And also leaderboards is probably the, I’d say probably the most common gamification element. We’ve actually found that is probably the most- or that is the effective gamification element. It’s very, very simple, I mean, it’s as old as time but a leaderboard, it actually just sparks that competitive nature of your staff or your learners. 

Not everyone (we’ll get onto the psychology of some gamification elements, not everything works for everyone). Obviously, now, leaderboards actually scare some people off, but leaderboards, probably very effective for the majority of your staff members. 

Jake Sullivan 21:39

Right, thank you. And I guess, I think the key or the most important part is, we really, really need to make sure it’s relevant. Like, there’s such a diverse range of people within, I guess, an organisation that, like myself, I learned by doing something. So again, gamification would be beneficial to me, but I guess, how do you make sure that you are keeping it relevant in an organisation?

Jimmy McPhedron 22:05

Yeah, I think the gamification elements, you have to be very careful of what’s known as a bit of a “sugar hit” with your gamification elements. 

So if you bring in huge complex gamified elements, and this slide here is an example, it was an Angry Birds themed mathematics programme, which didn’t really go that well, because I think, if your gamification elements are relevant to the content, you’re actually moving the learner through, that’s perfect. And then if you’ve got leaderboards, and just point-scoring, they are timeless, and they can apply to anything. 

But if you then construct this very complicated game around, you know, say, taxation law, and you’ve got some Angry Birds theme, there’s going to be a bit of a sugar hit where people get in, have a look, go, “Aw that’s interesting. That’s cute, I like the graphics.” But then it, it dies away very quickly. 

So you don’t have to go out and create something like this. Gamification elements -like leaderboards and points, badges- they are effective. A lot of platforms already have those baked into their functionality. If you don’t, then it might be a case of looking for integration. If you can’t get an integration, then you want to look for another LMS. 

But you don’t have to go over the top with products like this. A lot of times, if it’s relevant, it’s going to work. If it’s timeless, like the leader board, if it fits in with people’s competitive natures, it’s going to work. But you don’t go over the top and create something like this.

Jake Sullivan 23:38

Yeah. So I guess that whole the “KIS”, like keep it simple, and just try and make sure that, like we said, we need to make it relevant for the workplace, and that maybe not angry birds, like it is fun to play, but probably not the easiest thing or the best thing. 

All righty, well, we’re into our second poll. And we have mentioned these just previously, but I guess we want to know, do you currently participate in any of the following frequent flyer programmes? Woolies rewards, BP rewards? If you don’t, totally fine. All good. Excellent. They’re coming in nice and fast. Very interesting stats here.

Jake Sullivan 24:22

All right. We’ll just give it a couple more seconds, and then we’ll be… 

Jake Sullivan 24:34

I find this I guess, a really interesting question, because Jimmy, when we were preparing for this webinar, these examples were really, sort of, I guess, teaching me that I may actually be a gamer a little bit. Because being a non-gamer or thinking I was a non-gamer, this might actually persuade me to say, “Maybe I am getting involved in some form of gamification around me”. 

So, yeah. All right. We’ll end the poll there. I think we’ve got most of our votes in. So as you can see, 73% of people on our webinar say they do currently participate in any of the following programmes and a small amount of 27% saying no. So some interesting stats for those. 

It’ll be interesting to know that if you said no to not thinking that you’re a gamer, and you actually said yes, that you’re a part of this, you may be the same as me going, “Well, am I a gamer now?” So, so yeah

Jake Sullivan 25:35

Well, moving on, again. Thank you all for who voted into the poll.

Jake Sullivan 25:42

I think we really need to dive into probably some more deep and meaningful stuff here, the psychology around it, and tailoring the learning to individuals. So I think we have mentioned a little bit Jimmy, but people learn in all sorts of different ways. And how do we make sure that we are, I guess, tailoring it to uh- learning to individuals? Sorry. Yeah. I guess did you want to maybe touch base on a few examples here like, you’ve touched on leaderboards and badges and those sorts of things. Is there anything else, I guess that you could, I guess, give a little bit more substance to?

Jimmy McPhedron 26:21

Sure, yeah. And just again, backing up to where we place gamification: it is, of course, just a learning design tactic that we employ. And I find it really works well in terms of engagement. And it does help- it helps keep people coming back to the learning experience. 

Now, really important to note that leaderboards, badges, I said that they are quite timeless, they tend to work. Where I’ve seen the most common effective use of something like a leaderboard, or a badge system, but especially a leaderboard. [Is that] if you have a consistent acknowledgement of your staff position on the leaderboard it’s the most effective way to actually utilise that gamification element. 

So say, for example, you have an LMS that has leaderboard and badging capabilities. But if your staff is moving through this, and there’s just complete silence, and there’s no acknowledgement from anyone else in your organisation, about the fact that this person has managed to maintain a top-three position for the last six months, then it tends to actually fall flat. 

What we’ve seen in terms of people using our platform, because it has that leaderboard and badging capability, the most effective use of that is, of course, a consistent acknowledgement of people’s positioning on that. 

So if you follow that up- because people actually they’re reacting to a leaderboard, because they’re competitive and competitive people tend to like acknowledgement, when they’re actually performing well. So if you have that sort of baked into your L&D approach as well, this can be the most effective way to use a leaderboard. 

Badges, look, we use them because everyone’s using them; I’ve noticed that there’s more sustained interest in a leaderboard than there is over a badging system. Because again, it’s a little bit of that “sugar hit”. If you’ve got badging, that has, you know, an actual qualification attached to it, I’m not really talking about that I’m talking about the typically- you know, the LMS baked in badging system that’s usually just applied to if you get 100% on a learning module, if you completed X amount of hours in a month, you get a particular badge. So it’s good, it doesn’t sustain the interest, I find, as strongly as a leaderboard. But in terms of these particular elements, they tend to appeal to people who are quite competitive.

And if you think about your own response to your name being shown on a leaderboard, where you’ve actually got where you actually know that your other- all your other colleagues have visibility of it. Some people might think, “Right, I’m number three, I want to get to number two, or maybe it’s number one.” Some people might think, “Well, I’m down the bottom, I’m just going to freeze and disconnect from the whole thing”. So it’s not going to be, ah, it’s not going to work for everyone. 

So then other things, and this is something that you don’t actually see in many LMS’s at the moment but we’re looking at introducing this because our thinking is if you’re not a competitive person -if you don’t respond to that competitive impulse that s leaderboard actually creates- then you might be a more nurturing type person. So we’re actually looking to introduce, say, a virtual pet feature where if you do half an hour of learning each week, your virtual pet won’t run away. While if you don’t do that, it’ll be neglected and then it might run away. So you can try certain things like this. 

I know a lot of people logging in, you’ll have your own LMS, it won’t have that feature. Hopefully, your LMS has the leaderboard and the badging feature. But in terms of the best way to utilise that: is having a consistent acknowledgement of a staff member’s -especially a strong- performance on that leaderboard. If you just leave, let it, you know, if you just let silence reign and no one actually acknowledges anyone, then I think, eventually, people will lose interest in that as well. It won’t before everyone, some people won’t respond to it.

Jake Sullivan 30:27

Yeah, we’ve actually, in the chat, I just wanted to quickly touch base that we’ve had one of our attendees say that, “Our LMS has points and leaderboards, they can set it up per team, or overall for the whole company”. So I guess that’s a really good way of being able to, I guess, put it, if it’s going to work for that whole team or organizationally. That’s- they can apply it that way, too. So a really great one. 

And we’ve also got another comment here. “If the rewards are not automatically applied, or they’re not digital reward cards, then they don’t really do it as it’s just more effort than not”. I think that like that’s a valid comment like if there’s more work that needs to be put into it, it is hard. So maybe having that as a part of the LMS and part of the gamification is important to make sure that they can be applied nice and easily. 

Jimmy McPhedron 31:21 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. 

Jake Sullivan 31:22 

Great. All right. I gue- we- this is a part where I’m quite excited to hear about. This one – a bit of a case study. And Jimmy, I think we’ve actually got this around Padmore City and a client that you’ve got, but the challenge was with COVID-19 with new legislation, JobKeeper, overwhelmed their help desk with receiving 40,000+ calls a day. If my phone rang that much, honestly, I would be calling out for help. The solution – did you want to talk us through again, what the solution was for your client? 

Jimmy McPhedron 31:55

Yeah, sure, so, this was the ATO. One of our biggest sponsors, the ATO. So again, our learning platform, it’s very much it’s a virtual city-themed learning platform. But there are gamification elements are, you know, the leaderboard, the badging, and soon to- hopefully soon to introduce the virtual pet theme. But the challenge there was, when the JobKeeper legislation came out, I think it was last April, the ATO had to explain it to the Australian Business population. And now we’re getting 40,000 calls per day, it was just- it was crazy. 

So what they engaged Padmore to do (we already had a contract to do their graduate training) we very quickly just came up with scenario-based and also gamified learning around JobKeeper. So you go into the virtual city and click on this particular cafe, this cafe has had to shut its doors from the 23rd of March so their revenue has just gone through the floor. So they’re going to qualify for JobKeeper. And then based upon their payroll, I had, you know, six people on the payroll, one of them was on a working holiday visa backpacker, so they don’t qualify, another one was a casual, not engaged more than 12 months so they don’t qualify, and we effectively just gamified the JobKeeper process. 

And we managed to get that back onto the platform within about five days of the legislation being released. So the great thing about that was- so we were pushing it back to the ATO staff who then learned about the JobKeeper through these gamified scenario-based learning and then they could actually explain it back to the business community who were just reaching out trying to get information about JobKeeper. So there was, you know, quick training, competency building and you know, obviously, helped their consumer service. 

But that whole- the contextualization of this and…  Our learning philosophy is very much, “You have to contextualise information”, and the contextualization process is different to the gasification process. The gamification process is just giving those, you know, the leaderboards, the badges, but the contextualization of learning, I find, is the most effective way to teach a human being, to get someone skilled up quite quickly. 

Jake Sullivan 34:19

Yeah, a great example of really rolling that out and making sure your team is prepared and ready to take all those calls or whatever scenario you may have. They’re making it a little bit different than reading a sheet of paper and going, “Okay, I’m onboarded. I’m ready to go. I can answer these questions”. So yeah, thanks for sharing that. 

So we’re going to move into more focusing on, “Okay, we’ve got gamification in our organisation, my L&D strategy. Now, staff have done it, but what do I do with the data?’ 

This, I feel like this is such an important part of it. It’s like, “How do I apply my leaderboards or my staff that are completing these games or this training through gamification, like what do I need to do with the information?” So I’ve got a few points here, that I just sort of (once we were preparing this) just brain dumping this and it’s like, probation assessment tools, and one on one meetings, it’s like, “I’ve seen you carry out your gamification or whatever you want to call your programme. It’s great to see your results. Do you want to go through it together? Or something like that?” Did you want to expand on maybe how the data can be applied to organisations?

Jimmy McPhedron 35:30

Yeah, sure. So this is gamification, but also the learner data. And you can get a lot of learner data off a learning platform without gamification elements built-in, of course, so you can get the results. But unless those results are fed back to the learner, in the form of things like leaderboards, and also the achievement of badges, then you don’t really have gamification going on. So it’s very much gamification here, mixing with the learning data. 

But one of the really interesting pieces of learning data, I find, comes off as to whether people respond to your gamification elements that you’re actually introducing as part of your L&D strategy. 

So you can, for example, see that you know, someone responds to a leaderboard, if you introduce the leaderboard, if you have it turned off, but then you turn it back on, you can see whether someone actually responds to that. 

But in terms of just learner data in general, things like probation assessment tools, performance evaluation tools, candidate assessment (and again, this is very much from a Padmore point of view) the ability to benchmark your organisation Australia-wide, and assessing knowledge gaps. That comment that came through about, “you can actually set up individual teams within your LMS and compare individual teams”, that that might be a fabulous tool, that might put some noses out of joint. But I think that you know, competitiveness between the teams is obviously a very, very good tool to have.

Jake Sullivan 37:00

Yeah, I think we, before the webinar, we were talking about, like sales teams, like this is something that sets up those teams for individual areas, is a good way to do it. So yeah, great. Thank you. 

We pulled these stats off the internet, we wanted to present them to you, Jimmy because we wanted to get your opinion on these. Now, I do want to mention that we don’t know, we don’t have any references to where these are from. We’ve literally just searched on getting some statistics and putting them here. But 83% of employees claim they feel more motivated when their training is gamified. And the big one that I sort of pulled out of this was 69% of employees intend to stay with the company for three+ years if they use gamified activities. Yeah, yeah. So go for gold, let us know what your thoughts are. 

Jimmy McPhedron 38:00

I’ll start with the first one. And gamification definitely does work. So even just basic things such as a leaderboard, the badges, but also the consistent communication of someone achieving that position on something like the leaderboard is a very, very motivating factor for that employee. So definitely works.

I think the first stat -83% of employees claim they feel more motivated- I think that’s roughly what we see as well, maybe a little bit less than that. In terms of people responding to a leaderboard when a leaderboard is actually introduced. But again, the most successful organisations using- so the Padmore leaderboard- are the ones who communicate it, and they pick it up as part of their staff assessment. So you can say, “Ah, I see that you’ve been in the top five on this leaderboard for the last six months, you know, that means you’ve put in sustained effort to actually, you know, keep your learning up to date.”That’s the best way to use, obviously, that gamification feature. 

The next stat, the 69% of employees… They, look, I think this is where with gamification you’ve got to be careful because people are pushing it. It is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. It does work. But the first thing to note about gamified activities, there are a lot of businesses in the say, especially in the US, who are gamifying not just learning, but a lot of activities performed by their employees. Amazon is a perfect example. 

So basically, everything you do is sort of assessed and you can go on to a leaderboard and it’s almost like big brother is watching you every time. And then 69% say they intend to stay with the company for three+ years? I couldn’t think of anything worse. 

But if you do gamify activities within the workspace, obviously that stat is saying that people like it. If you are working somewhere and Jake, I know you’re very happy at Scout, but if you were working somewhere where you didn’t like their mission statement and you didn’t like your boss or your colleagues, you’re not going to stick around because they’re using gamified activities. You have to take that second stat with a grain of salt.

Jake Sullivan 40:08

Yeah, absolutely. And I’d love to hear from our guests who have joined us today. Like, if you have any interesting facts about your LMS or anything like that, and how, what statistics you’re currently receiving for your workplace to pop it into the chat, we’d love to see how that’s going. And we can share that out to Q&A end. 

But, but yeah, some really interesting things, some, maybe some strange ones, but like, again, we really need to be careful as to how it’s being applied in workplaces. I love that Amazon example that you showed Jimmy, it’s like you said, big brother watching. I think it’s a little bit weird. I could do my job. But I don’t always need to be micromanaged by giving me a leaderboard or an award just because I moved a parcel from one place to the other in a quick time. Right. Oops, sorry, I went the wrong way.

Jake Sullivan 41:01

I found this too. I wanted to put this in again because I really wanted to recap because I think it is really like the ‘base message’ of what we want to be delivering here today that gamification in a learning design is a tactic. It’s not the (like you said) the do all end all. You need to make sure that you’ve got a strategy in place and a plan in place before you can employ or deploy gamification in there. So building an avatar and in the moment and leaderboards and that sort of stuff has no relevance unless you’ve got that plan in place. So yeah, I’ve popped that back in there. 

And again, not to repeat myself, we’ll send out a more standardised one, this one’s been developed around the Padmore City. So again, you’ll get a copy of a plain one so that you can apply that to your workplace as well. 

Great. Um, well, we’re sort of at the Q&A. And I have already, I guess, touched on questions that came up in our chat. We do have one question that did pop up that we haven’t talked about. And it says, “I don’t currently have gamification in my L&D strategy. How would I go about getting help to implement this? Or what is the best way to go and get this implemented?”

Jimmy McPhedron 42:23

Yeah, well, it probably comes down to, assuming you’re using an LMS where the LMS has gamification features built into it. If you don’t have that, at the moment, if you already have an existing LMS, that doesn’t have gamification features, you’d be looking at some kind of plugin or integration into that. So that’s a question for the LMS provider. 

Again, you can do gamification around… I mean, it’s it takes a huge amount of effort if you’re doing it manually. So I think you’d want to be doing it through an LMS. You, of course, could keep records of people’s performance in staff training. But if you’re trying to compile that manually, I think you’re making a rock for your own bat. So I think you’d be doing it through your LMS. If it doesn’t have those features, contact the LMS provider, see if there’s a plugin. If there’s not, then I think you just have to move to an LMS that that actually provides gamification features. 

And I saw that there was another question that came through a specific one about Teachable? Yes, yes, I’m aware of that one, I had a quick look. So that seems to have… There’s different- like most LMS’s there are different levels of subscription you can actually apply to and some of the higher levels, do seem to have leaderboards and data analysis, it doesn’t seem like that’s reflected back to the learner. So if you don’t have that leaderboard, reflected back to the learner, then you don’t really have gamification features in that LMS, you simply have data. And it’s presented to you as the leader within the firm. And you can see that data, but unless it is presented back to the individual, which you could do manually, but a lot of LMS’s have the feature where it’s there, and everyone can see it, they can see how they’re tracking against other people in the firm. 

But just, I mean, the one thing about a leaderboard, the best thing you can do with it is to acknowledge people’s position on it. That’s something that you could just be having to do manually – it’s the most effective way to use it.

Jake Sullivan 44:32

Yeah. and rewarding for the staff as well. Even as the manager it’s rewarding to have their staff achieving some great results and being able to communicate that. I think it is worth the time and effort to manually do that process. 

We do have another question that popped through. “So given the costs of some of the software, what are the simplest form of incorporating gamification into training for community or social services?” 

Jimmy McPhedron 44:55

Yeah, it depends on The type of training what what type of training? Is it face to face training, is it online training? 

Jake Sullivan 45:06 

Can we ask if- Can you give us a little bit more? A face to face or virtual?

Jimmy McPhedron 45:11 

Face to face, or virtual. So, okay, so if you’re delivering face to face or virtual training, and you’re looking to introduce gamification elements, then you would have to manually introduce those elements yourself. 

So you’d have to set up some kind of rules, point-scoring around that. The classic one would be if you run up a day-long workshop, and you might simply have your rules and then, of course, rewards. And at the end of the day, you might rank people or rank teams. So you can do it that way. I mean, you just bring in gamification, there’s nothing magical about it. We all know what games are, you know, set activities that have rules, and then you have rewards for working through those rules. So you can apply that manually if you’re doing it manually. So it’s a lot more work for you. But that’s fine if you’re putting on these face to face workshops or training days, and of course, you can incorporate it. And they do work. I mean, they definitely do work. Some people don’t respond that well to them. But they are very much in the minority, the vast majority do respond.

Jake Sullivan 46:22

Right, I guess, a perfect opportunity. Like if you don’t have gamification, Padmore City is a very proud partner of Scout Talent, and we’re really excited to be working with them. So Jimmy’s information, obviously, is on this presentation as well. So feel free to reach out to the Padmore City team to see how they could work with your organisation and implement gamification as well. Talking through those options and hopefully, seeing if we can fill that gap for you. 

So we’ve got another question that just popped up: “I think anytime you turn pieces of learning into a game, it makes the training way more interesting”, I think a perfect and a great sort of statement there. Thank you very much. 

For me, I don’t want to talk about myself too much. But as an extrovert, gamifying something especially like a two-day leadership workshop where there’s a hype game or something in there, where I can win something or do something whilst also doing my job at the same time, makes everything just a little bit more exciting. And you just really want to be there. You’re doing it with your colleagues. It’s a mini team-building activity at the same time as well. So yeah, I 100% agree with the statement. So thanks for sending that. 

“Legos are magical in gamified learning too”, it is, hopefully, don’t stand on any whilst you’re doing that game. That’s just never a fun time. But Lego is a nice easy one, I think. So yeah. Again, I agree with that statement too. 

Jimmy McPhedron 47:59

They also say like a lot of schools are using Minecraft to teach history. They have history, historical chapters delivered through Minecraft. So that’s- my kids love that. 

Jake Sullivan 48:11 

Yeah. Great. Excellent. Well, um, I guess to recap, again, I know we’ve done it a few times. But we really want to make sure that we’re getting this message out that gamification in learning is not the be-all-end-all. It is a learning design tactic as a part of well thought out and executed learning design framework. Gamification can be the icing on the cake. Perfect statement from you there, Jimmy. Different individuals are motivated by different things. So incorporating various gamification elements is extremely important. So some people may love Lego and then some people might be easy enough to do, I don’t know, Pictionary, or something like that. That was probably the worst example in the world, sorry! But keeping them engaged and knowing what they’re learning off. And then e-learning and gamification data can help you gain a better understanding and a picture of your learners and their cohorts. 

So some really, I think, key takeaways from today. Jimmy, we really appreciate you coming in and giving us your knowledge in gamification and all things Padmore is doing at the moment, which is very exciting. I’m very excited to see the virtual pet. Hopefully, somehow I’ll be attached to getting one myself, but let’s see how we go. 

But um, if there was no other questions or anything like that, again, we really appreciate you attending today’s webinar that covered off gamification in e-learning. Both of our contact details are here. So if you have any further questions, I’m more than happy to send them through to Jimmy and we can follow up with questions, information, whatever you need to help you and your organisation get gamification or e-learning or just learning in general, applied in your organisation. So great. 

Well, that’s us for today. We’ll let you all go and enjoy your lunch wherever you are in Australia or across the world. Thank you for joining us, and we’ll see you next month for the Scout Talent webinar series. See you later. Bye.