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The Difference between Training and Learning and How Gamification Can Help

The Difference between Training and Learning and How Gamification Can Help

John Andrews


Director of Product Marketing, Bunchball

Training and Learning are the yin and yang of employee engagement.  Training is generally regarded as a formal, top-down activity designed to build understanding, proper practices and even compliance. It tends to be a purpose built to teach specific content set by HR or another department or group. Learning, by contrast, is multi-dimensional and driven by the individual. People can certainly learn while they’re being trained, but they can also learn in informal, less structured ways. Regardless of how you slice it, both training and learning represent an enormous challenge for today’s business managers. Why? Because researchers have found that without practical follow-up or meaningful assessments, some 90 percent of new skills "learned" are lost within a year.1

I find that statistic as stunning as it is troubling. Only 10 percent of skills are actually retained? What impact does that have on compliance? Plus, 10 percent represents absolutely dismal  ROI, especially considering that each year more than $130 billion is spent worldwide on corporate training. 

Fortunately, many of the folks involved in corporate education are realizing that gamification can be a game changer for virtually any kind of educational initiative. In fact, gamification platforms are now being used for everything from improving the financial literacy among Millenials to creating lasting changes in the moral behavior of sales associates.

Gamification is effective across this wide range of different learning/training use cases because it targets key intrinsic motivators, the internal desires all humans share. More specifically, gamification is a data-driven motivation strategy that harnesses the innate ambitions of your employees, customers and/or partners while engaging them in activities, content and systems that are meaningful to them and beneficial for your business success. That means the audience for gamification is virtually anyone –and it has proven particularly effective for motivating employees to engage with training and learning programs.

Here’s a great example: Just six months ago, Nationwide implemented a gamification platform to help ensure new and experienced employees are up-to-date on the products, programs and systems the company has to offer. Already, the results have been impressive:

  • 97% of employees have logged into taken a class.
  • Test and quiz scores have improved.
  • User responses have been overwhelmingly positive.
  • There have been major impacts in sales, with significant gains in retention, attendance and other business metrics.

For more about how Nationwide is using gamification to improve its training and continuing education, check out How to Motivate Employees to be More Effective Learners, our latest webinar featuring Kim Wyrick, Training and Retention Consultant for the On Your Side Centers – Nationwide.

One of the most important things to keep in mind here is that the Bunchball gamification platform is applied strategically within existing enterprise learning management systems (or CRMs, websites, apps, etc.). It functions behind-the-scenes, seamlessly within other data-generating systems your employees are already using, and allows you to capture data from these existing processes and leverage it for insights that lead to better performance.

At Bunchball, we sum it all up by saying that we are generating  Performance Enhancing Data – and this PED not only motivates your employees, but it provides your CLOs, management and executives with valuable data and insights on how these newly inspired behaviors impact business results.   New employees will be onboarded faster, and the programs you create will have a lasting, impact – including greater retention of the newly acquired skills and knowledge, and continued opportunities for growth.  .And that’s what it’s all  about, isn’t it? Not only do you need to be sure your employees are well-trained; you also need to be sure they’re inspired to continue learning throughout their tenure.

1So Much Training, So Little to Show for It

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