In my gamification masterclass for HR professionals, we were having the discussion on gamification as a tool for HR and we agreed that it is one tool of many to create learner and employee engagement. I don’t see gamification as the solution to everything, it has potential to help in a lot of places, but it should never be the only thing. It reminds me of my NLP training days, where some people really felt strongly that neuro linguistics was the solution to everything, that always puzzled me. I think it is in the combination of all the tools in our toolkit, that we can masterfully deliver great results.
For me, it comes back to understanding the people you deal with and finding out what they respond best to and what is most appropriate in that situation. I have rarely found a solution that works as a sticker for every problem, usually, it is a combination of things. My varied background as a trainer, change management consultant, instructional designer, and now gamification designer, allows me to come up with solutions that go further than any one of those fields. Add into this that I have a curious mind and I am continually exploring new ways of doing this, I would expect this toolkit to be forever expanding.
When to choose what is a difficult question to answer with anything else than “it depends”. It depends on the company culture, the individuals and the subject matter at hand. In some organisations, playful solutions are frowned upon, but that doesn’t rule out gamification, only you would never call it that. I would recommend test driving solutions on a small group, to find out how they respond. If the response is positive gradually increase the group of people we deal with.
In my business coaching work with individual clients, I usually tested a few solutions and found out through testing, what worked for the individual or not. Some of the time it was an NLP driven process, some of the time it was a gamified solution, often a combination depending on the topic of the coaching work we were doing. My motto is if in doubt, test it out and be willing to let go and change the solution if you need to.