At the recent GSummit in San Francisco there was a presentation on the simple principles behind gamification and why it works so well.
The speaker was Monica Cornetti, and the focus of her talk was something like "how corporate trainers can get funding for training." Nevertheless there were ideas that anyone could incorporate into any training session. She is very dynamic, funny and knowledgeable and I would highly recommend actually watching the talk, to learn about these ideas, because you can't really get it from a blog. But this is just a taste:
1) The purpose of training is to produce enhanced results, not to transmit information. (I believe that is a quote.)
2) Turn training into a story with characters, an adventure, a journey, a destination, a challenge. She used the example of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in talking about HR training in a back-office environment. You want to train Snow White to deal with Dopey (the boss's kid :-), Grumpy, etc.
3) Show consequences of behavior. She had a great image of a crane falling down due to operator error. (This is real life, folks, not a joke.) Talk, talk, talk and then quiz is old fashioned and doesn't work.
4) Start small, show measurable results and then add the bells and whistles. This is perhaps the best tip of all. You have to see Cornetti standing there, rubbing her fingers together and going, "You like it? Well if you want more, you'll have to pay."
I loved how Cornetti talked about the way to approach an executive with data. She said to remember that the most important currency for a C-suite leader is time. Do not waste their time. Show them the metrics, show them the demonstrated results, and you'll make your case - whether it's for better training or an investment in other stuff.
As far as gaming your training, we sat down afterward and talked about these principles in our world. It turned out that our Ethics folks had already done Lord of the Rings installments for Hatch Act training and it was a big hit. So Cornetti was right on the money on that one.
We talked about how to add some sizzle to web training and I think we will be focusing most on #3, consequences of behavior, but not in a negative way. Rather, we will be putting the tools and the assignments in front of the user and asking them to complete the task, sort of like people who take a cooking class and they get the ingredients and an oven and get to bake a cake with a teacher around.
We'll see how it goes. Either way it was a great training and the lessons were well learned, even if she did show slides of pot and we had to close the door because we didn't want it to look like we endorsed drug dealing, which we don't. We don't!
* All opinions my own.