In 2014 Notre Dame chose to switch faculty and staff over to Gmail and Google Calendar. At first, they were aiming to train 120 IT professionals how to provide support for the new system. This would enable students and the rest of the faculty and staff to get help when needed. In the past, Notre Dame has experienced some problems while trying to engage IT support staff:
- Failing to engage IT support staff led to poor end-user experiences
- High demand for support with little availability from IT
- Dissatisfaction for both the IT staff and the end-users
- IT support staff weren’t concerned about the new email and calendar system
To address these problems, the Going Google project team launched “Google Apps Jedi Academy.” The purpose of the app was to increase IT staff engagement and help them learn the most important features. They had to complete different tests which covered the Google platform and its usage. Staff members ranked up when they passed a test. The ranks are Padawan, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master, and Yoda. The program even had cartoon Jedi characters, Jedi ceremonies, and prizes.
The Jedi game based training became so popular that other faculty and staff asked to join. The participants had chances to win prizes through trivia contests and random drawings. The prizes were Star Wars toys and collectibles. There were several groups that challenged each other to friendly competitions to encourage progress. They developed a leaderboard to keep track of team progress. Some staff dressed as characters from the Star Wars universe.
The results were overwhelmingly positive for faculty and staff:
- 237 people participated in the training program
- A total of 207 individuals reached the highest rank of Yoda
- Everyone received a button with the Jedi character that matched the rank they achieved
- The program almost doubled the amount of faculty and staff who participated
- The staff welcomed the transition to Gmail and Google Calendar
- 92% of participants said they learned new information from the program
The Jedi game based training made a boring process fun and exciting. It encouraged learning and friendly competition, while recognizing and rewarding accomplishments. The sense of progression motivated most participants to finish all the training. Gamification is a powerful tool when aligned with an organization’s goals.
Image credits: Wikimedia