While there is a lot of talk about what gamification is and what it is not, I am curious to know – Have you launched a gamified e-learning intervention in the last year? If yes, then I have a quick question for you:

What was the “life expectancy” that you had planned for it?

Did it live (not just survive on an LMS or platform) till its prescribed life span?

While there is usually a lot of excitement and fanfare associated with the launch of a new gamified e-learning solution in a company, off-late I have noticed that one of the very critical aspects that is overlooked sometimes (may be more often) is the planned lifespan of a gamified e-learning solution.
Let us consider an example (which may seem familiar) to explore this further.
Jack’s organization runs a “mandatory” e-learning program on “Organizational Values” which all the employees are required to go through at the beginning of the year. Jack has an e-learning module loaded on their LMS but the employees feel too bored to go through it (as they have been seeing the same old stuff YoY). Hence Jack embarks upon the game-changing mission to gamify the module!
Viola! Jack found the perfect e-learning company, which understood the needs and helped him roll out a highly engaging gamified e-learning module with all the right mechanics and dynamics (read- bells and whistles).
Is Jack happy: Yes! Very Happy!
Are the employees excited: Yeah… many of them (don’t ask how many!)

Now comes the googly!…at the turn of next year will the employees be equally (or more excited) about the same gamified e-learning solution?
Well….one can’t be sure about it because at this juncture we are not aware of “the lifespan” for which the gamified solution was designed! For all you know it may end up being the “same thing we did last year” or “Wow! it’s back!”
The difference is in the design-which in-turn is defined by the life-expectancy decided by Jack (along with other critical elements).

Let’s take a quick look at a few possible options for deciding the life expectancy of a gamified e-learning solution:

Single Run (Once for a set of audience. Never for anyone else):
How many times do you enjoy watching a suspense thriller? (assuming you are a normal human being)…. Of course ONCE!
If you are rolling out a gamified e-learning solution which you want a majority of your employees to participate willingly, the solution needs to have a very high element of “Viralness” and a sense of achievement (and euphoria) at the end of it which the learner may not want to go through again (as the experience will not be as exciting as the first instance). Adding an element of “mystery” while designing such a gamified e-learning solution and rolling it out for a pre-determined short period of time does work wonders in contexts like this.

You miss it once; miss it for life! (There is no such thing as a second-first date!)

Wondering what are the other ‘Lifespan” options?

Repeated Every Year?
Played by people with varied skills?
Played by people across diverse geographies?

More on that in my next post soon!