Strengthen Training Effectiveness: Gamification Increases Knowledge Retention

Posted by Mary Hiers, Guest Contributor on 12/11/15 5:00 AM

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 Training is necessary for any job, and in an industry as technical and regulation-heavy as pharmaceuticals and biotech, high quality training is indispensable. In pharmaceutical and biotech sales, team members have to take in and process large amounts of information that is crucial to job performance, yet not all of that crucial information is interesting. Trainers need to get a positive return on their training investment, and more of them are doing this by turning to gamification.

When game elements are added to a comprehensive training program, it increases excitement and engagement and makes a terrific change of pace from traditional e-learning or instructor-led learning. Companies in a range of industries have successfully gamified elements of training and have found it especially effective in helping trainees take in and assimilate corporate values and policies. But there are many more benefits to gamification in training.

Benefits of Gamification in Training

Training games engage learners by creating immersive experiences in which trainees must not only take in knowledge, but put it to use in game play. Giving trainees a goal to reach via game play makes for a positive, active learning process. Combining the assimilation of knowledge with use of that same knowledge helps commit it to long term memory by linking it to favorable experiences. Other benefits of gamified training include:

  • Most learners find it fun.
  • Gamification lets learners experience "real world" applications of knowledge, seeing how their choices result in consequences or rewards in a safe environment.
  • It's effective in all age groups, from children to mature adults.

How Can Gamification Solidify Learning in Pharma Sales Training?

Retention of information happens when people process and do something with that information. Perhaps that is answering a question, or unlocking an achievement in a training game. But doing something with information, rather than simply taking it in, is the type of practice that helps people commit information to memory. Gamification is a process that can help new skills move from conscious recall into the subconscious (similar to the way you don't forget how to ride a bike).

When we participate in an activity that is stimulating, our bodies release endorphins, and one trigger for endorphin release is achievement, such as moving up to the next level of a game. Not only does the endorphin release make gamified learning enjoyable, it helps people retain information and increases feelings of well-being.

But What Kind of Results Does it Get?

Enjoyment, endorphins, and fun are all great, but what about results? Does gamified training result in well-trained team members? An increasing body of knowledge about gamified learning suggests that it does. Software giant SAP, for example, added gamification to its college recruitment process, incorporating leaderboards, points, and badges. When the new recruits who received gamified training were compared to earlier recruits who had not undergone gamified training, the new recruits had significantly higher levels of awareness of the company values and its product. Not only that, gamification eliminated the need for several classroom training sessions and reduced administrative costs for training considerably.

Gamification isn't a novelty training approach that's great for tech start-ups and Millennial-heavy workplaces. Research is demonstrating that gamified learning gets great results and helps people commit knowledge to long term memory due to having used it in relevant applications. This can be of tremendous importance in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, where trainees are expected to learn and process large amounts of information in order to perform in the field.

As for updating training for experienced sales team members, gamification proves its worth there too. When you're taking team members out of the field temporarily for training, you want to be confident that the training is going to be worthwhile and engage learners effectively, and gamified training is proving to be outstanding at engaging learners and providing return on investment. Today's trainees know there are better options than endless lectures and quizzes, and more high tech companies in sectors like pharmaceuticals are coming to realize just how much better new training modalities like gamification can be for preparing employees for their jobs.

Topics: Games