Gamification: How 'Kid' Games Transform Business

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Click through for five core elements at the heart of gamification and accelerated learning, as identified by Daniel Burrus, writing for CIO Update.

Anyone who has children or who has been around them for a while knows that kids, as well as young adults, are attracted to video games like flies are attracted to light. And, while older adults may think the kids are being lazy or using their time idly when they’re connected to their Wii or Xbox using a Kinect, in reality the kids are paving the way for business training and IT’s role in tomorrow’s companies.

How? It’s part of a future trend Daniel Burrus, CEO of Burrus Research, first identified back in the 1980s that we are now calling gamification. Today, that growing trend is reaching a tipping point.

If you think back, you’ll see that many of the greatest technological advances in business have come from the world of kids and games. Actually, here’s the exact flow of events: a concept or technology often begins with kids and the world of gaming. Some will start with the military, but it’s amazing how many start with kids’ games. From there it gains the attention of the adults in the business community as they learn how to adapt it to their needs, and finally it creeps into the education sector. So in many respects, the adults and the business world can learn much from the kids and their video games.

To see the migration of how a concept goes from kids and games to adults and business, just look at the evolution of social media. At first, young people were the predominant ones on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Adults simply didn’t see the value of social media. After all, who really cared what you had for lunch or what outfit someone wore to the dance. As adults eventually took more and more interest in social media, many companies made formal policies forbidding employees from using Twitter and Facebook at work. But now that the business world has seen the relevancy of social media and how it can be a brand management, marketing and collaboration tool, they’re embracing it, some even going so far as creating their own internal versions of Twitter and Facebook.

Granted, video games and social media are different technologies, but the concept migration pattern is still the same. And with game controllers like the Wii and Xbox Kinect giving people new ways of interacting with technology, the business world is currently on the threshold of being "gameified."

The heart of the gamification trend for IT is using interactive gaming as a tool to transform training company-wide. Based on 25 years of research, Burrus, writing for CIO Update, has identified five core gaming elements that when applied together can dramatically accelerate learning. When you implement these five elements into training, people learn more in less time and have better results. So Burrus suggests you keep these elements in mind as you help develop and deploy training modules and initiatives.

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