How We Are Gamifying Learning

September 29, 2017 | Thought Pieces

At STORM Technologies, we have recognized that employee-learners are in the driver’s seat. We’ve seen how easy it is for them to adapt to the increasing availability of content around them because it is already on their mobile and social lives.

Not surprisingly, Learning and Career Development rose as the second most important facet in organizations (from fifth place last year), with 83% of high-ranking executives identifying these issues as important to very important. Rapid and disruptive change has become the new norm, and knowledge is becoming obsolete faster than ever before. As Human Capital experts, it is our task to match that pace of learning so we can retain our talented workforce.

Living and Working in an Age of Longevity

Games can be an effective learning platform–understanding employees through the core drives of gamification can help business leaders and Human Capital practitioners design programs to promote and improve learning and development. In this article, I will be sharing two programs that we tried at STORM Technologies to see how we can gamify learning.


1. Pop Quiz

Our Customer Champions (the customer service arm of STORM) used to undergo a revalida twice a year. This helps us check if their on-the-job training and lecture-type training are effective. The revalida is in the form of a Pop Quiz.

We schedule a day for the Pop Quiz and the mechanics are simple. The Customer Champ will get 10 questions throughout the day. The twist: they do not know who will ask the questions. At any given time on the scheduled day, they will be approached by a STORMer or a customer with a question. This simulates how they will handle an inquiry by using their issue resolution skills and technical knowledge from all the training they went through.

Notice that at the start of this part, I said we “used to” do this. It was a good practice of gamifying learning, but we found that this method is not the best one for our employees. This type of game uses the negative gamification elements: Social Influence, Unpredictability, Avoidance, and Scarcity. These elements are effective for people who are sensitive to punishment, rather than rewards.

White Hat Gamification

2. Kahoot!

We shifted to white hat gamification principles by tapping into the positive motivators: Empowerment, Meaning, Accomplishment, and Ownership. We used a web-based game application called Kahoot (thanks to Joey Jaramillo’s recommendation!) to do the Quiz Games. People engaged with it more and we receive automated reports on how each STORMer performed (unlike the Pop Quiz which relied on manually noting down answers and scores).

Core books Quiz Night

Overall, we are still finding out how we can fine tune our learning & development programs using game design principles. But what got us started was answering the following questions:

  • Do we know our employees well enough to know what motivates them? Will they be more sensitive to reward or punishment?
  • What is the minimum viable effort that we can try out? Is there are way for us to apply game principles to current HR programs without any additional resources or cost?
  • If we do gamify a program, what could be the objective of the game? What behavior do we want to encourage? What behavior do we want to discourage?

From there, we slowly designed the rules of the game, the background conversation that we expect to happen, and the level of challenge.

Angeli Recella is the Head of People Operations at STORM Technologies, the largest flexible benefits and employee incentives firm in the Philippines. She is passionate about startups, travel, books, tech, TV, and psychology.


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