How do you stay competitive and relevant in a world with constant change and continual disruption? It’s no surprise that the Hard Trend of digitization has affected education. There are several benefits to shifting education to a digital platform. First, you don’t have to eliminate instructor lead education in order to embrace the digital revolution. There will always be a place where having a master teacher interfacing with students face-to-face will be a great choice, but it is no longer the only choice. Over the decades I have written about what I call the Both/And Principle and it fits perfectly when talking about transforming education.

The Both/And Principle states that instead of having to choose between old technology and new technology, it is far better to integrate the old with the new in a way that provides higher value than either would have on their own. For example, teaching a child how to multiply is hard for a classroom teacher with 30 students. It would be better for the child to learn how to multiply with a self-diagnostic, game-like, interactive, fun, competitive and social learning system that can address the individual learner’s needs at any moment, and then use the classroom teacher for teaching what humans do best, providing the personal encouragement and insights needed to help the child see how to apply what they have learned to the world they live in. If we apply this idea to business education and training, it might not always be possible to have a master teacher work with each employee, some businesses have hundreds of thousands of employees spread around the world. In this case, an e-learning system would be the only practical option. Think about the idea of inserting video of the instructor between the e-learning lessons of the training to guide and encourage the learner at just the right time. 

When we read about applying e-learning techniques such as gamification, social, and interactive components to an e-learning system, it is important to be very strategic.  For example, when I was designing my Anticipatory Organization™ Learning System for teaching both top executives as well as their employees how to become anticipatory, I realized that if I designed the environment in a virtual world, with heavy use of gamification, social and interactive elements, the executives would not use it for a variety of reasons, but the younger people in the organization would love it. Instead I created a leaning system that both the C-Suite and the employees regardless of age use and love. The point I’m making is that you can’t just use the latest techniques and expect the resulting e-learning system to be a powerful system that all will use and benefit from. Start by asking yourself; what is the role and the demographic of the learner? How much time does the learner perceive they have?

If you are designing e-Learning for younger employees, I suggest using gamification, interactivity, social and virtual environments when ever possible. If the e-Learning is for older workers or senior executives, you should minimize your use of these techniques.

E-learning has many benefits including the fact that students and employees can learn inside and outside the classroom and office by taking the lessons with them on a mobile device or downloading them on a home computer. E-learning also allows the user to progress at their own pace, leading to a more individualized education. This has been especially important for anyone who needs to learn a new competency or get a degree while also holding down a job or having an irregular schedule.

With so many people engaged in e-learning in some form or another, it was inevitable that instructional designers add new functionality that has the potential to accelerate learning with the target audience. Given the large number of Millennials in the workforce, using competition and rewards has proven wildly successful in a number of industries. Coca-a-Cola has taken advantage of gamification to much success, for example. On the Coca-a-Cola website, users can share their experiences with the Coca-a-Cola brand. Users are rewarded for sharing and for interacting with other community members. Badges are granted that give advance and exclusive access to Coca-a-Cola products.

In addition to selling products, gamification has also been used by army recruiters and utility companies looking to incentivize sustainable usage. And now, it’s being used in education.

Docebo has been leading the way in creating tools for e-learning users to gamify their experience. Docebo wants to help you go beyond the simplest implementations of gamification. Starting a reward system can be as easy as offering points for good work and then keeping track of those points in a highly visible area of the office or classroom — remember the key is that everyone knows they are participating together! Docebo, however, offers you the chance to integrate a second level design like this into your existing IT infrastructure as an app.

With enabling technologies such as the cloud, virtualization and mobility, more and more employees are able to work at home. At the same time, online courses continue to break down the walls of the classroom. If you want to keep track of rewards and keep everyone in the loop about their points and the points of their peers, it’s necessary to move away from the rudimentary second level design.

Docebo’s application allows a manager or trainer to customize their own badge system — determining what the badges are for and how they are issued. The system keeps track of rewards so the trainers and teachers don’t have to, essentially streamlining the process of rewards. And since it’s integrated into your cloud, employees will be aware of the playing field, since the cloud travels with them wherever they go.

On top of all of this, gamification offers a way to incentivize continued learning. We live in a world of constant updates and continual disruption. Training doesn’t end after employee on-boarding. Chances are that the software an employee is taught on the first day may not be the software they are using a few months later. To stay competitive and relevant, a company needs employees who will meet the challenge of constant change. They need what every school hopes to produce, a “life-long learner” who has access to the tools that work best for them and the motivation to use them.