Gamification Briefing


Gamification is a broad trend in which game-design elements, aesthetics, mechanics, and techniques are applied to different business applications to drive user engagement. While anyone who enjoys games may find it appealing, it is particularly popular among Gen X and Millennial workers.

Although gamification is a relatively new phenomenon, it has established itself as an effective strategy to improve workplace learning and performance across different industries. CLOs have discovered that, in addition to making the learning process more engaging, common gamification measures such as scoring can quantify learning and generate valuable data about employee expertise and performance.

Gamification is often thought of as learning games, which are self-contained pieces of learning content with game elements applied. However, gamification can be applied at three levels: content, learning, and performance.

Many types of gamification solutions are currently available. Content gamification applies game elements, mechanics, and thinking to make content more engaging and improve retention and transfer. Structural gamification places content within a game framework to guide, measure, and reward learner progress, with no alteration to the content itself. Simple gamification focuses on points, badges, and/or leaderboards. Challenges, stories, and missions can be added to any of these types of gamification to further engage learners. However, experts note that best-practice gamification designs go deeper, leveraging techniques that address innate human desires for socialization, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, recognition, self-expression, altruism, and closure. For a more robust taxonomy, CLO Advisor members should refer to the Gamification Field Guide. Click here to download a slide deck with useful gamification data.

Workplace applications

Gamification is currently used in many industries—from education and language learning to retail and charity fundraising. Gamification is an effective way to communicate a company’s policies, vision, mission, and products. As such, it is a valuable tool for onboarding new hires. Because it is fun, a growing number of organizations use it for team-building and to boost morale.

Increasingly, gamification is being applied to compliance initiatives where safety policies, product specifications, and customer service actions must continually be updated and documented. It can be found in marketing in the form of loyalty programs, and gamification elements are often integrated into healthcare apps. CLOs are discovering one of the greatest benefits of gamification is its ability to aggregate real-time, actionable data.

Business impact

  • Content gamification helped a CPA and consulting firm improve engagement efficiency among audit professionals by 42 percent.
  • Learning gamification improved sales productivity at a Fortune 100 retailer by 26 percent.
  • Performance gamification improved sales productivity in a contact center by 14.5 percent.

History and growth

The word “gamification” was coined in 2002 by British-born computer programmer Nick Pelling; however, the term did not gain widespread recognition until late 2010. Today, gamification has exploded.

In 2013, gamification was a $421 million industry. forecasts the gamification market to reach $5.5 billion by 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 67 percent. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global gamification market is projected to grow from $1.65 billion in 2015 to $11.1 billion in 2020.

Industry leader Karl Kapp believes gamification is far more than just a passing trend and should be on the radar of every CLO. “I am definitely seeing a shift from the question, ‘What is gamification?’ to ‘How can I implement gamification effectively?’” he says.


Slide deck:

Click here to download a slide deck with gamification data.


The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education by Karl M. Kapp

For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business by Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter


Brenda Enders, a respected consultant, author, and public speaker, explains how game mechanics engage learners and why gamification can be used to solve business challenges.

In this 17-minute TEDx talk, thought leader Yu-kai Chou discusses the evolution of gamification, as well as his Octalysis Framework.


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