Does Gamification of Learning Really Work?

Can game-based learning be considered a serious approach to learning experience design and development? Harvard Business Review, again and again, says the answer is, “YES!”:
  • “Gamification — using elements of games to motivate — has serious potential when thoughtfully executed.”
  • “Corporate training isn’t all fun and games, but maybe it should be. ... [A study from] KPMG shows that gamified training done right — lessons conducted carefully and over time, incorporating elements such as progression through challenges and levels, instant feedback, points, and competition — can significantly improve employee performance.”
At past GamiCon events, attendees from Microsoft, Amazon, NASA, and Brown University, among others, have demonstrated similar results from their learning programs! Here are some examples:

Booz Allen Hamilton
Gamification Master Craftsman Ian Coleman developed a gamified self-assessment for BAH’s client, USAID. This tool assesses employees’ skills in 75 different areas and provides them with custom feedback immediately about what steps are needed to improve. USAID's feedback: "Ian ultimately produced an engaging, visually appealing, 508-compliant gamification product that generates data to help the client understand the existing capacity of the workforce as a whole, and direct individuals to capacity-building resources."
As the L&D Manager at Amazon Alexa, it was critical that Gamification Master Craftsman Chuck Sigmund devise a strategy for helping their language designers understand the nuances of different users' conversational characteristics. To do so, Chuck and his team built an active, gamified learning experience that enabled them to practice identifying different colloquialisms, terminology, and accents. The power of this program? It demonstrated a 30% reduction in time to transcribe, annotate, and evaluate customer voice data.
As a Gamification Master Craftsman, Sharon Goza applied gamification approaches at NASA in training for employees’ ethics and anti-harassment training. Her projects have won numerous awards and NASA continues to explore the possibility of using gamification as a training approach for astronaut and logistics training.
Brown University
Where can you investigate if Henry Fones was actually Elizabeth Fones — the first female pirate in Rhode Island? When can you help the humanoid Leila find out what it means to be human? These are the ethical and philosophical conundrums that students explore in the wildly popular and fully immersive, online gamified courses at Brown University, which apply game mechanics, such as avatars, narrative, progress bars, easter eggs, items, missions, and investigations.

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