Session notes – Driving Engagement and Performance: Gamification and Learning

This was another great session; this time with Mary Myers and Robert Pearson from Maritz Canada. They gave an informative presentation on how they layered game mechanics and dynamics on a Ford training system. They began their presentation with an explanation of why there were Reese peanut butter cups laying on the desk. Pearson explained that Reese is an example of two great products coming together for a better product. In this case, he likened it to the coming together of games and education or learning.

As a side note, their use of Prezi was right on target. They walked through their ideas by using a Monopoly Board.

Myers and Pearson indicated that we are preoccupied with playing games. After polling the participants, they showed a video of the Fun Theory piano stairs.

Pearson explained that games are addictive because of discoveries found in neuroscience. Dopamine is secreted which is related to pleasure.

They continued by discussing game choice… acquire, bond, defend, and create. This is explained in their white paper, The Power of Play: How Game Science will Drive the Evolution of Consumer Loyalty.

Myers and Pearson take a moment to talk about game dynamics and game mechanics. Here is the list they provided:

Game dynamics

  • Reward
  • Status
  • Achievement
  • Self expression
  • Competition
  • Altruism

Game mechanics

  • Points
  • Levels
  • Challenges
  • Virtual goods
  • Leader boards.
  • Gifting and charity

Before launching into their case study, they showed another Fun Theory application of game dynamics to another mundane task.

What is gamification?

Gamification the application of a game mechanics to non game environment to change a behavior.

Ford’s Profession Performance Program (P2P)
As Myers and Pearson explain, Ford’s P2P was designed for Ford’s front line customer service reps, primarily sales. Employees are expected to work through a portal which has training materials and training plans. The portal also has dashboards that tracks progress.

Maritz Canada’s goal when developing the game mechanics for the portal was to ensure people were engaged, and that they worked through the program quickly. Speed to certification was a key metric. When they added the game mechanics, they did not change rules of certification only added game elements. These game elements included:

  • Leader board. Lifetime leader board and a daily leader board.
  • Badges for skills acquired
  • Ability to track friends
  • Speed quizzes

The overall theme for the game mechanics was the Ford Cup, a race to the finish. Score was measured in RPMs. Participants actually competed with learning. Each “garage” had a “trophy case” where participants could show off the badges they earned.

A communication plan is an important part of the design and necessary to announcing the launch of the program.

The success of the program has resulted in increased behavior to engage in informal learning. Because they have weaved level 3 assessment into the tool, they can measure learning transfer.

While presenting their case study, three books were mentioned.

Gamification of an activity can be complex or simple. Sometimes it is simply about changing the terminology

Results after implementation

Myers and Pearson reported the following results after implementing the game mechanics:

  • Increased training complete in the same time period.
  • Met Q1 milestones ahead of schedule.
  • Increase usage of site.
  • People are logging on throughout the day before and after work.

This idea of changing behavior intrigues me. I am wonder how I can incorporate it in some aspect of my work. If you are using game mechanics in instruction, I would love to hear what you have learned.