training

5 Key Benefits That Gamification Brings To Your Business

5 Key Benefits That Gamification Brings To Your Business

Gamification is no longer just a buzzword. It has found some real and interesting applications in the domains of learning, marketing, personality development, data analytics and so on. The right implementation of this concept can generate powerful results and do wonders for your business.

Here are the 5 key benefits that Gamification will bring to your business.

1. Making the mundane interesting

The game-based interactive elements add thrill and fun to the otherwise mundane processes. Whether the task is about conducting a survey or employee training, gamification makes the process more interesting as the knowledge is supplied non-intrusively, thereby yielding better results.

2. Sustainability

Using Gamification in your company is a strategy for sustainability. The games are re-playable and are built using real-life scenarios. They can be played again and again for performance improvement without incurring additional costs on the company.

3. Real-time analytics

A gamified campaign will allow you to target particular user groups of your interest and get real-time feedback. You can analyze the user behavior and draw inferences. Such feedback is a powerful contributor in designing your business’ future strategies.

4. Self-motivated work force

These games are built with features like leaderboard, award system, etc that reward the employees on their accomplishments. This keeps each employee self-motivated and self-aware about his/her performance.

5. High productivity and ROI

These games can be customized to align with your business objectives. Gamification’s unique features directly link the company’s objectives to the employee performance, thereby increasing the overall productivity. Any initial investment made to include game-based learning in your business is easily replenished along with a high ROI.

I guess that’s all! If you think of any more, please share with me!

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Using Case Studies To Make Your Elearning Course More Engaging

There is a big difference between a course that is engaging, and a course that is well-documented.

You may create a comprehensive course with interactive branch scenarios and detailed explanation, but, if it is not relevant to the learner, than it will just confuse or worst case, frustrate her. Such a pattern may be good and easy to build, but it is only good enough to share information. It lacks in creating engagement and results in poor retention in the mind of the learner. Such courses are ‘well-documented’, but not engaging.

Engagement requires an emotional connection between the content and the learner. It goes beyond presenting interactive content; it is about designing truly motivating learning experiences.

The biggest challenge in creating an elearning course is engaging the learner, and there is a very simple solution for this – Case Studies

So here’s how you can use case studies to make your course engaging and interesting.

  • It is after all, a Story: Humans have used the art of story-telling as a mode of communicating ideas and knowledge since the Stone Age, and there is a reason behind it. We tend to remember a story better than just facts, and it provides a very practical, firsthand account of events that happened, and the appropriate solutions to them.
  • It is Simple: The simpler your story, the clearer is the message and the easier it is for the learner to remember and use it when required. If you stuff your course with extra details, your course will end up being a clutter of abstract information, making it tougher for both – you and the learner.
  • A Relevant Perspective: If you tell your story from the perspective of the customer, or anyone other than the learner, she will receive insights on the situation from a different perspective too. Also, this will raise the interest of the person enrolled in your course. Instead of telling the learner what they need to know, show them how not knowing affects others.

Even as a trainer, this makes things simpler for you as well.

Case studies need lesser time to build, and they rarely result in an information dump. Thus, you waste lesser time and energy, thinking and pondering over your course, and tweaking it time and again by introducing gimmicks to make it more engaging.

A case study is still mostly linear, but I see it as a first step in an iterative process of moving away from the boring click and read style. What is your take on this?

8 Reasons To Use Serious Games For Training

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1. Highly Engaging
Serious games are very engaging and communicate in a fashion that is easily acceptable by the human mind. Use of elements like story, interesting characters, relevant settings, etc engage the user emotionally.

2. Safe Environment
Users learn to deal with real life-like situations in a safe and engaging environment. They can make mistakes and keep on practicing till they are well-trained, which in turn boosts their confidence.

3. Instructional Design Based
Serious games are always designed after conducting an instructional design study (the study of creating instructional experiences which make knowledge acquisition more efficient and effective). It foresees and tackles the possible roadblocks that might hinder the learning process.

4. Reusable & Cost-effective
Once designed, Serious Games can be used multiple times. You don’t need a facilitator or special sessions to use this. The cost for maintenance and updating a serious game is negligible given its extensive uses.

5. Easy to Understand
Serious games are great when it comes to delivering complicated knowledge. These games communicate complex pieces of information in a fun and engaging way.

6. Reporting & Analytics
Serious games allow you to capture the users’ data. This is one of the main advantages they have over offline or classroom training. These reports can be used later for optimising the training content.

7. Acts as a Booster
These games can boost any learning methodology i.e. These games provide a welcome break in between modules or learning schedules and engage the user by means of its gameplay.

8. Tried & Tested
Serious games ARE effective! Several Research Studies have acknowledged the fact that serious games do add on to the overall learning experience. These games have been used in different sectors like defense, retail, insurance, etc and have been found useful.

The 4 Success Mantras for Every L&D Professional

The 4 Mantras

1. An engaged learner is a battle half-won!
No one likes to learn when he is bored. In fact, people get bored when the learning content is mundane. Make sure your learning content is not dull. Use different techniques like Case Studies, Serious Games, Videos, etc to engage your learners.

2. Practice maketh a man perfect

(Really? You want an explanation for this!)

3. Keep it short and simple
A human brain is better equipped to process information when presented in small chunks. Divide your content accordingly for better consumption.

4. Tell the learners – ‘Why’
Give your learner a ‘reason’ to learn. Tell him how it will help him perform better or make his life better. It will motivate him to interact with the learning content.
If you come up with a 5th one, do let me know.
P.S.: Please feel free to use the infographic for any personal/ commercial purpose.

Why Cloud Authoring Tools are the Best Tools for eLearning

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Let’s start by understanding, what exactly is ‘Cloud Authoring’!

Cloud authoring is ‘internet based authoring’. In other words, one can access these tools using their web browser. (For example, Google Docs) Everything is online and you just need to log in to get started with your work.

So, what makes Cloud Authoring better than others?

They are free! (Most of them)

Yes! Many cloud authoring tools like Google Docs, Amplayfier, etc. are free. Others like Powtoon, Dropbox, etc. are also free, but in case you need more features than you have to pay.

No installation required

You don’t have to download these tools in order to use them. You can access them using your web browser. All you need to do is sign up. So, you don’t need to have any particular configuration to use these tools. It also saves your effort of coordinating with IT department to install software on your computer.

Accessible from anywhere

These tools can be accessed from anywhere. You can access the content created on these tools from anywhere. You don’t have to go through the hassles of carrying the data everywhere.

Creating on the go

Using these tools, you can create/ edit content on the go. And here’s the best thing, once you load the tool on your website, you can use it even offline. You don’t need internet connection at all, except when you have to save or publish the content.

Easy to collaborate

Collaborating with your colleagues is a lot easier using these tools. You can share the files or the published content for reviewing. Or by sharing the credentials, you can even ask your colleague to make the necessary changes.

Want to try one of these cloud authoring tools? Drop an email at info@ptotem.com and get a trial access to the beta version of Amplayfier, a serious game building app.

Getting Started with Online Training (Part 2)

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In the last post, we tried to understand the difference between Instructor-led training (ILT) & online training, and the essentials that are required in order to implement online training in any organisation.

Now, let’s learn about the processes one needs to go through while moving from classroom to elearning.

1. Learner Need analysis

Try to understand the demographics of the learners – age, gender, education, language, etc. Find out whether the learners have any prior knowledge of the subject matter or they are completely new to it. This is important since very few people would have the patience to sit through the whole session.

Now that the learners would be dispersed, you need to figure out how to boost interaction between them. Based on these observations, try to decide on the technology or format which you would like to use. Use the one which would be easy to deliver, easy to understand, boost interaction and also, motivate the learners.

2. Content Design & Development

The question you need to ask here is what is the best way to present the content.

Should there be a narrator? or a Sutradhar? or a character which would act as a facilitator? Another option is to use the department head or Subject Matter Expert to act as a facilitator.

Your tools would be one of the deciding factors here. Using tools like Articulate or Ptotemy (www.ptotemy.com) would give you an edge over MS Powerpoint, as these tools help you make your content more interactive and engaging. Other than these, you can even use webinars or videos or serious games to explain concepts. Or a combination of these tools could prove much more effective.

3. Deployment & Marketing

The best way to deploy elearning courses is using a Learning Management System (LMS). You can find many options out there in the market ranging from Open source platforms like Moodle to licensed ones like SkillSoft, Ptotemy, Blackboard, Saba, etc. Using these platforms, you can manage and update the content as well as the learners. You can also record their activities for future reference.

Once your LMS is in place, the next challenge is bringing the learners to this platform. Remember, this methodology is new to the learners. Hence, you need to create curiosity around this to attract the learners. Teaser campaign is one of the effective ways to do this. Create a buzz, put out explainer videos, launch marketing campaigns to make this big.

4. Evaluation & Monitoring

Once the learners start using the system, monitor their activity. Conduct polls or surveys to gauge user feedback. Every learning management system has this facility of creating online polls.

Find out what could be done to improve the effectiveness of the content. LMSes also have provisions for detailed reports. Use them, analyse them and gain insights on what works and what not.

“Remember, what matters is whether the learners understand the content or not. Technology is just an aid and how one uses it to make the content effective is the crux here.”

Getting Started with Online Training (Part 1)

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For some, online learning is a buzz word and for some, it is an impasse. Let’s try to find out why people are trying to adopt this phenomenon and how one can do that without any hitches.

Why online training?

Imagine, you are in a classroom with 20-25 students and there’s a teacher explaining you certain concepts. Here, the learning is centered on the instructor (teacher) and she sets the structure, sequence and methodology of the learning. She chooses the content and how it will be delivered.

In this setting, students often don’t ask any questions. There is less interaction with the focus being on the completion of the activity, rather than on the transfer of knowledge. The students don’t even have the option of going through the content again.

Online training or elearning, works the other way. It focuses on the learner, and not on the instructor. It facilitates interaction between the learner and the content, plus, is easily accessible anytime and anywhere.

Below are a few tools and techniques that are used in elearning.

  • Devices for accessing the content (Desktop, Laptops, Tablets, Smartphones)
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Content Creation Tools like MS PowerPoint, Articulate, Ptotemy (ptotemy.com), etc
  • Instructional Design Study
  • Interactive boards
  • Webcam/ Webinars
  • Communication tools like email, chat, forums, discussion boards, etc

These tools help in bringing the content to the learner and allow him to learn as per his convenience.

Converting existing training material into online content

Even converting existing training material into online content has become easy and cost-effective due to these tools.

There are 3 types of delivery for elearning through which content can be disseminated.

  1. Synchronous learning

This type of learning is live. It happens in real time, like a webinar or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

  1. Asynchronous learning

This can be done as per the learner’s convenience. Online modules or web forums are a few examples of this type of learning.

  1. Hybrid learning

Here, you mix the strengths of the first and second to achieve your objective.

Irrespective of the mode, the focus of any learning activity should be to enhance the learning experience through engagement, discussion and application.

The next part of the article will explain the process of transition of ILT to online in detail.