Game-based learning: Could it work for your organisation?

Research indicates improved workforce, organisational performance

Game-based learning: Could it work for your organisation?

Amid criticism that global training platforms are mere distractions, a new study has confirmed that this modern take on training can indeed boost workforce and organisational performance.

Gamified training platforms are growing more popular across the world as traditional training platforms start to look outdated and lose their appeal towards the current workforce.

KPMG, an employer adopting such training method, recognised that traditional ways of sharing content can be "unengaging and difficult to absorb."

"In most organisations, employees expect required training to be an arduous and underwhelming experience. This results in an uninspired learning culture," said Chris Shuster, who was at that time the Director of KPMG Learning and Development Advisory, KPMG in the US, in a statement.

To address the problem, KPMG globally launched a gamified Learning app called the KPMG Globerunner aimed at helping employees improve their awareness of the firm's service offerings in a "fun and engaging way."

"Game-based learning presents the opportunity to reinvigorate learning interest, tap into learners' competitive inclinations, and drive higher learning engagement and satisfaction," said Schuster, now the managing director at human capital advisory of KPMG US.

The KPMG Globerunner is a single-player game where users are challenged to race around the world, where they asked about the firm's service capabilities. Players can progress and earn points to unlock new locations, earn achievements, and gain ranking on a global leader board.

KPMG Globerunner's benefits

KPMG said employees not only had fun playing the app, but they also garnered knowledge and developed more positive feelings towards the organisation.

According to its report, the knowledge gap between countries was cut in half, while the knowledge gap between staff gradings were reduced to four per cent.

Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of the participants also said the app gave them a "positive impression of KPMG as an innovative place to work."

Usage was also not limited to junior employees, according to KPMG, as they appealed even to senior managers or directors. In fact, this group reported the highest percentage of "power users" in the grading, meaning they were able to answer more than a hundred questions.

Organisational impact

A 2022 study on KPMG's Globerunner also confirmed that use of training platforms "increases office performance." It also reaped the following benefits:

  • Increased fees collected by 35.8%
  • Number of clients by 16.3%
  • Number of opportunities from new clients by 22.3%

The study noted, however, that performance effect can take time to manifest, and that leadership can also impact its effectiveness.

"[The results] suggest that gamified training can motivate employees in highly engaged offices to train harder to boost their performance and that gamification will be more helpful if the leaders participate more," the study said.

Should your organisation try it?

KPMG said applying game elements to user experiences can be effective in engaging people, encouraging behaviour, and helping to achieve organisation objectives.

Shuster, however, admitted that gamification is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach, nor will it achieve all types of learning objectives.

"However, games are a great way to introduce new learning concepts, augment live training experiences, reinforce key concepts over time," he said.

According to KPMG, gamification of training should only be considered as "only one tool in the toolbox as part of a broader, organisation-wide learning, and training programme."

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