Gamification And Game-Based Learning

Gamification And Game-Based Learning: Which Is Right For Your Business?

Combining games with employee training is becoming increasingly popular. Studies show how games can help improve employee entertainment, health, motivation and learning and create a better workplace environment. When trying to infuse gameplay into your employee training, there are two valuable approaches worth considering: gamification and game-based learning. Having similar goals, gamification and game-based learning try to enhance and improve the learning experience. However, the two concepts take different approaches and each has its strengths and weaknesses.


Gamification takes mechanics from games (points, badges, levels, leaderboards, feedback, rewards, etc.) and encourages people to change behavior in non-game environments. These environments can range from classrooms to company workspaces to people’s homes. Companies often use gamification to increase engagement, brand awareness and loyalty.

Employee of the month programs are a perfect example of gamification in the workplace. People compete to be the best at their job in order to receive employee of the month status. This creates healthy competition and encourages people go above and beyond what is asked of them.

A custom example of gamification is Target’s cashier game. The big box store has implemented a game for cashiers to play when checking people out. It depicts red and green feedback based on the timeframe in which a cashier scans each item. After completing a customer checkout, cashiers receive a score on their screen which acts as immediate feedback on how well they are doing.

Game-Based Learning

While gamification takes already established environments and enhances them with game-like mechanics, game-based learning uses storylines, characters, interactive gameplay, feedback and rewards to convey or reinforce learning content, reduce the monotony of lectures and PowerPoints, deliver individual feedback, and make training much more fun.

Merchants is an example of game-based learning. In Merchants, players control a 15th-century merchant whose goal is to create and develop a trading empire. Through this experience, players learn tactics and strategies for negotiations that they can apply in the real world. Players are challenged to negotiate and make agreements with characters to gain wealth and grow their trading empire. The game makes negotiating fun while going over key points of negotiation such as communication, flexibility and information gathering.


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