This weekend at a family get together, I watched as my 2-year old nephew played the CBeebies Alphablocks game on a tablet device. For the uninitiated, this simple game helps children arrange letters of the alphabet to spell simple words, and I was impressed by just how absorbed he was in the game.
On reflection, this got me thinking about just how often learning takes place away from formal structured environments, and how elements of gamification can make for a far more engaging experience.
Conventional learning in the workplace is often focussed around SCORM modules and an LMS (Learning Management System). The benefit of SCORM is that modules can be both authored and shared on a wide range of different platforms. But I’m curious to explore the costs of confining learning within these environments.
Considering the problem
Clients often approach us requesting that we build a SCORM module to cover topic X or Y, but we try to encourage taking a step back and considering questions such as:
- What are the organisational goals?
- What are the gaps in current knowledge?
- Who is the target audience?
- When and where is the most convenient for users to learn?
- What devices will they be using?
- How could social interaction or sharing add to the experience?
- How are users incentivised to keep learning?
After considering some of these questions, it’s often clear that a SCORM module is not necessarily the best solution.
For example, we recently built a game-show style quiz board that was projected on a large screen as part of a training event. Users competed in teams against one another to answer questions against the clock providing an entertaining and memorable experience.
For another client, we are currently busy building a channel partner learning platform that will enable salespeople to learn more about the product they are selling, push data to the CRM, earn points and claim prizes. The system includes seamless content and assessment publishing tools and API integrations that would be impossible via a SCORM-based approach.
In summary, the conventional e-learning approach of SCORM modules and LMS systems can be useful, but isn’t always the best fit for a particular problem. Taking the time to carefully consider both the business goals and the learners themselves can unearth solutions that are far more enjoyable, more convenient, and more effective.