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How Gamification in Learning Improves Knowledge Retention

How Gamification in Learning Improves Knowledge Retention

Aaron Moncreiff


Companies are eager to invest in continuing education programs to keep their employees’ skills sharp. But how can you be sure your workers will retain new knowledge once the training module is complete? Gamification has been proven to increase knowledge retention by boosting motivation, scaffolding lessons, and reinforcing learning through collaboration.

Ultimately, the advanced analytics that a gamification platform makes available can help your organization optimize and restructure training modules to improve long-term knowledge retention and maximize your return on investment.

Ending the “Hoop-Jumping” Mindset

Disengagement during training is the greatest enemy to employee knowledge retention. Too often, training modules are seen as an ordeal to be endured, with workers clicking through interminable slide decks that conclude with a brief multiple-choice quiz.

Exposure to information is no guarantee of knowledge retention. Gamification can increase employees’ motivation to learn and master material by helping clarify their intentions before and during the training process.

By splitting lesson material into a set of interlocking objectives, a gamification platform can divide the body of knowledge into smaller, more easily digestible units. And by integrating individual lesson “quests” into the broader mission of professional development, gamification can maintain employees’ motivation to achieve long-term goals while channeling their immediate focus towards mastering the knowledge at hand.

Gamification can help employees set a broad range of training goals and track their progress as they develop new skills and build their acumen. Workers who are conscious of their objectives will be motivated to retain and build upon knowledge in order to accelerate their professional development journey.

Alternatives to Cramming

Traditional training programs use a final exam to determine how much knowledge the employee has retained. The trouble with testing is that it does not reward a deep mastery of course material. Cramming can actually discourage long-term knowledge retention by incentivizing rote memorization. Tests create a minimum bar which employees have to clear, but the moment the test is complete, knowledge begins to slip away.

Gamification allows developing a reiterative “scaffolding” approach to learning. Lessons can be broken down into incremental units, with the information from each previous step incorporated into each successive exercise in order to promote knowledge retention. Instead of preparing for a final test by cramming, workers will iteratively develop a deeper mastery of the material as each new lesson is scaffolded onto what they have already learned.

Encourage Collaborative Learning

The best way to master a skill is by teaching someone else, and gamification can improve knowledge retention by creating collaborative learning opportunities. Employees can be grouped into learning teams, rewarding individual members for helping their colleagues advance. Gamification can also include team challenges as a part of the training program, bringing together coworkers with complementary skill sets to help one another master new material.

Instead of fading over time, employees will retain knowledge and reinforce their mastery of material as they are challenged to aid their coworkers’ understanding.

Fine-Tune to Maximize ROI

Finally, gamification enables training processes to be fine-tuned to better meet workers’ needs and maximize ROI. Statistics on enrollment and the time employees spend engaged with new material can provide a barometer to identify which lessons and portals are best attracting and retaining workers’ attention.

And long after the training module is complete, gamification platforms will allow you to track how often employees are using their new skills and taking advantage of opportunities to build upon their training. Platforms like Bunchball Nitro can even let you build a customized post-training incentive structure to reward employees for making the most of their new knowledge.

Learning in a distraction-filled environment can be a challenge. Employees are more likely to retain knowledge when they are learning in a framework that clarifies goals, breaks lessons down incrementally, and reinforces knowledge through collaboration. Gamification can help your company craft a training program that encourages knowledge retention and maximizes your return on investment.

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