- According to Stephen Baer, the Head of Creative Strategy and Innovation at The Game Agency, and a contributor to Forbes, the average human attention span has declined by 4 seconds since the year 2000. At the same time, employees are connected to media around 11 hours per day, and capable of shifting from multiple devices on average 21 times per hour.
- If attention spans are dropping, how can companies get employees to actively engage in learning? Baer's answer is to add the element of gaming, which is readily accepted by employees and supposedly increases retention rates by as much as 17%.
- Baer shares 5 ways to use gaming in professional development, including to tell stories with learning, focus on engaging learners by letting them control the learning content, use game levels and badges as incentives, ask employees to team up and introduce a little competition with a leader board.
We often hear about the positives of gaming in professional development, but rarely do we hear about it from the perspective of a creative director for an actual gaming company. It's already clear that adding game elements to corporate learning can take it to the next level. It can help make learning more interactive and fun, but it also makes learning content 'stick' for longer periods of time so that new concepts can be applied on the job.
Other companies have successfully adapted qualities from gaming to engage employees, using tactics like rewards systems, interview tests and video during the recruiting process. Many of these programs can be adapted for learning as well.
Understanding how little attention the average person pays to activities can help learning and development teams build effective learning content. Companies seeking to create learning that has the greatest impact can use the strategies that Baer has outlined.