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Gamification in 2020 – What you should expect

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

author: @aestranger

Reading time: 9 minutes

Gamification in 2020 – What you should expect

It’s the end of 2019, and as many appear to have the need to make apparent, it is also the end of the decade. In just a few days it will 2020, and the start of the (roaring?) ’20s. Well, let’s hope they are positively roaring for everyone, and that a great many new opportunities arise in the following decade for all of us.

The purpose of this piece is to have a quick look at what we can expect for Gamification, Game-based learning and Game-based solutions in the following year, and maybe a little bit beyond that. Though this will be a slightly different post than the previous version’s. It won’t be an outline of every industry and sector and what to expect. But rather a top-level overview of aspects that I would like to touch on before new year starts.

Due to the Gamification industry maturing, the changes are not as fast-paced as they used to be. And Gamification as an industry is also slowly evolving and taking on a myriad of shapes, such as having fit for purpose add-ons and tools that can be developed and incorporated quickly into the desired system. Or fully holistic strategies that address as many points as possible and are designed for long term usage and integration inside a business, campaign or project.

With that said, in this piece then we’ll rather look at how the growth for the gamification market will continue in the next few years, what some of the opportunities are within the workplace, training and learning areas. And how eLearning, face-2-face learning and new technologies are being shaped by and will shape gamification in the coming year(s).

The forecast

The current value of the global gamification market is somewhere between $5.5 billion and $6 billion, as of 2018. The expectation and forecast for the market is that it will likely see a CAGR of 30.31% over the period of 2019-2024. Which means that by 2024/2025 the market value for gamification will be around $40 billion+. This is a significant market value and is connected of course with the surge in entertainment gaming as well. People clearly want to have what they enjoy during leisure to be there during work as well.

Additionally, another reasoning for this the incredible expected growth, is the mobile device market, the deployment of 5G networks and the recognition of “gamification systems as a method to architecture human behaviour, in order to induce innovation, productivity, or engagement. The use of gamification systems has also extended beyond its traditional scope of marketing.” (link).

This growth, along with mobile devices, is combined also with the fact that more than two-thirds of the workforce will be made up of Millennials and Gen Z by 2025. Two generations that have grown up on interactive entertainment.

Therefore, by using this information on how the market will grow, we can see the remarkable opportunities that are available in the coming years, from 2020 to 2025, and beyond. With so many individuals being able to access anything quickly, effectively and at any time.

The use(fulness) and the ubiquity of good gamification that promotes engagement and learning integration in businesses and educational institutions will be an absolute must, if not a necessity to maintain a fulfilled workforce in the future.

Online & Virtual Gamification

The offerings for online and virtual gamification will become more and more sought after in the coming years by businesses. This is in part due to, as mentioned before, of 5G networks, and due to the growing trend of many individuals wanting to work remotely. A larger number of people now prefer to work from home or simply not in an office environment.

With remote workers, there are issues of having flexible working hours and maintaining focus on objectives and deadlines. One way to overcome these issues then is through the implementation of gamification techniques in the online and virtual work environment for your employees. There are a great many companies that offer methods to incorporate gamification, such as Bunchball, Lithium Technologies, or Khoros and so forth, to name a few.

The benefit of the online application and holistic gamified working environments is that as managers and businesses, you will have a wealth of data on engagement and usage through these programs. Companies will be able to use the data to continually iterate and improve the gamified environments to better suit their employees and to offer them more balanced and engaging work experience. Be that remotely, during odd hours or even in the office (should they require to be at the office).

For training purposes, the application of better AI usage, AR and VR within various industries is something that should not be forgotten. As these technologies are natural allies of gamification, we are slowly seeing more and more examples of where they have been used effectively. It is a good idea to always be on the lookout and to learn from other industries that have had successes with these technologies. Such as the healthcare industry, utilising AR and VR technologies to create better foundations for communications and interaction between peers and patients.

And other examples can be found with insurance companies using VR to train their staff more effectively, or Walmart and Seabourn Cruise Ships using it for similar personnel training purposes. All have had successes with using these technologies as immersive learning experiences for their employees.

Face-2-face Gamification

An area that will experience continued growth and interest is the delivery of more face-2-face gamified offerings, i.e. playful experiences, role-playing sessions, and/or live-action business simulations. These could be seen as an antithesis to the previous statement that online/eLearning will continue to rise, but rather the in-person delivery is something that will work in conjunction with online learning.

The requirement to have these two offerings be combined is that online learning can only teach so much. At some point, a face-2-face session is required to teach and apply certain sought-after skills. Core skills that for some reason are currently lacking in managers and leaders: the ability to articulate and communicate effectively, giving and receiving critical feedback, soft skills, and so on, to name but a few.

Beyond this, there is also the need to train individuals in life-like situations so that they are able to effectively and hopefully correctly act upon in-the-moment advice, suggestions and feedback from colleagues, employees, employers and clients. And to know what the correct tools are when acting upon the information they receive.

All of these can be taught far more effectively in a real-life simulated environment than in an online course, and the simulated environment can act as a vehicle to remove individuals out of their comfort zone and to teach them through doing and using the right tool for the current situation. One example could be how to use SMART goals as a tool to set-up a new restaurant. This allows the participant to be outside their comfort zone and learning how to use the tool to correctly and how to effectively act upon unfamiliar information gained in and outside of their (regular) business, and to achieve an outcome with tangible, positive results.

As we can see in corporate learning programs within business school’s and internal L&D academy’s, the trend is moving towards an increase in a desire for holistically gamified learning experiences within their workshops and multi-day learning programmes.

What this gamified holism entails is that the full learning programme incorporates a consistent theme, an engaging narrative associated with that theme and applicable exercises, challenges and objectives. As well as having a live full team-based game day that incorporates and utilises all the knowledge accrued over the previous days and offers an enjoyable situation to apply and practice with that knowledge.

Having such a programme, and a team game day also tends to leave the participants with a sense of euphoric accomplishment and empowerment, thus embedding the learning better, than a multi-week online course might do on its own.

Here a few links to examples of how to improve training events, networking events and other corporate learning happenings through adding gamification techniques to them.

Final Thoughts

With Gamification techniques being incorporated in mobile devices, apps, and social media in general, gamification in marketing will be more important than ever before when it comes to engaging customers effectively. This is especially true for businesses creating authentic marketing campaigns, as they will need to be well thought out projects, that engage and motivate through the entire experience. Rather than just having one-off, unrelated “game” apps, that momentarily promote a product. These new campaigns, with the help of gamification, will allow businesses to share and understand the feelings of their customers.

As I cited before, through these mobile applications, businesses will be able to gain (ethical) metrics from the customers, meaning that the offerings can be better personalised and offer balanced engagement of the gamified experience to their audiences. One such trend for more ethical and balanced marketing campaigns, that works well with gamification, is Empathy Mapping.

The other aspect of the evolution of gamification is that, as I’ve mentioned before, a distinction will likely arise and become more apparent in the next (couple of) year(s) between online learning and face-2-face location-based learning.

To expand on this; LMS or other eLearning type platforms and systems will continue to remain popular and integral to corporate learning, especially for individual employee learning opportunities. Though it will likely take on more of the form of being a space for transferring theoretical knowledge and information that can be easily tested through knowledge affirmation assessment systems. These will also be the initial points of interest for metrics and data-gathering of participants knowledge level, comfort with the information and preferences for learning methodologies.

Connected to this then is that the face-2-face learning will see a rise, due to online learning being very theory-based. The face-2-face learning will then use the data gathered from the initial online learning environments and fill the methodological hole where institutions need to determine and test whether participants are able to apply their knowledge in a “real-life-like” situation, where factors such as stress, pressure and unexpected outcomes/consequences can occur.

As the 2020 starts in earnest, I will revisit the topic of what to expect of Gamification in the next decade, as other fellow specialists weigh in with their thoughts and predictions. But hopefully, this gives you a primer for what you can keep a lookout for as we transition from 2019 into 2020.

Have a happy and prosperous 2020 everyone!

I hope that this piece has given you some food for thought and helped improve your own methods or at least offered a different viewpoint to consider.

Please do check out the other posts on æ, and please do leave a comment or contact us if you have some ideas of your own that you wish to discuss or if you would like to see other topics discussed.

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