Game Based Learning: More Efficient and Fun
A great deal of research has been done examining how game based learning has been used with phenomenal success in the world of education to enhance students’ learning experience and now more and more research is being done on how the corporate world is utilizing game based learning to increase job satisfaction, enhance training programs, improve productivity, increase sales, and ultimately drive profits.
Play at Work: How Games Inspire Breakthrough Thinking, written by Adam Penenberg, a journalism professor at New York University and the assistant director of the Business & Economic Program who also heads the department’s ethics committee, discusses many different aspects of gamification in the workplace and how companies are utilizing game based learning. The research examined in the book is very enlightening and much of it has been discussed in Penenberg’s GSummit Global Talk.
A large number of technology companies are using game based learning to improve their organization. Microsoft has experimented with a myriad of game ideas in its workplace and has established a game by the name of “Ribbon Hero” to help Microsoft Office utilize the program more efficiently. Google has an in-house currency known as “Goobles” that employees can be used to purchase various things such as server time and even bets on a company fantasy market. Some companies have even implemented game based learning to reduce costs. A small tech company in Silicon Valley uses gamification with their expense management system to encourage employees to be more cost conscious when selecting flights by allowing the employee to donate some of the cost savings to the charity of their choice. One of the top tech companies in the world, IBM, attributed a 12% increase in sales to a game based learning initiative they implemented.
Penenberg also found that it is not just tech companies that are at the cutting edge of incorporating game based learning in the workplace. Airlines utilize game based learning for their pilots. Shipping companies like FedEx and UPS use game based learning for new employees; UPS actually has a training program designed to help drivers acclimate to walking on ice with the hope it will cut costs by reducing worker compensation claims. L’Oreal uses game based learning to help new recruits and current employees analyze and evaluate what career path is a good fit for their personality type.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, approximately 70 percent of employers use game based learning. This trend is not just limited to job training; a recent study conducted by Gartner predicts that 70 percent of global organizations will utilize game based learning for marketing, employee performance, and health care by the end of 2014. The amount of money spent on game based learning in the corporate world will reach into the billions.
Game based learning is a powerful tool based on a powerful neurotransmitter (dopamine), according to research cited by Penenberg. He relies partly on a study conducted by Jesse Schell that shows the human brain releases almost twice as much dopamine when a person is playing a video game compared to when that person is resting. Dopamine activates a sense of pleasure in the brain and a great deal of it is probably released not only when a toddler receives a reward during a learning game, a teen is playing a video game or a business tycoon increases productivity, sales, and profits utilizing game based learning.