How are AI and gamification transforming training programmes?


AI is making waves, well, everywhere it seems. But especially so in the L&D industry. We’ve heard about how language AI tools, such as ChatGPT, are transforming our content creation, and how AI can help influence our L&D strategies, but the topic we want to explore today? The powerful pairing of AI and gamification.

Gamification has made its own waves in the L&D industry in the past, helping to motivate and engage companies’ employees in their learning, and AI is being used to a similar effect. So, bringing them together can only take the engagement and learner motivation to new levels. Not only that, but they can also help businesses and organisations build strong learning cultures – ones where their employees and teams can flourish and grow.

Let’s explore how.

Why is motivation and engagement so important?

We live and work in a time where we expect to be hooked instantly. We want to be taken in by what we’re reading, watching, interacting with, and if we’re not? We’ll move on to something else; we have plenty of other options.

And this has had an impact on how we learn too. Thanks to tools such as Google and YouTube, learning has become much easier in our day-to-day lives. It’s on demand when we want it; we’re a mere internet search away from finding an answer.

But what does this mean for the workplace? Employees want their workplace training to reflect the ease of their day-to-day learning. And thanks to our desire to be ‘hooked’, employees are also going to be less enthused about completing training they feel they have to do, and which offers very little reward. So, we need to find a way to get them engaged and motivated.

Enter AI and gamification.

Gamification taps into our psychology

Gamification is about adapting game mechanics to non-game contexts. It taps into the competitive, fun aspect of games and brings them to those boring tasks – or training, as we’re talking L&D here – that we usually have no motivation to do. It doesn’t necessarily mean the task will be made into a game, it’ll just include game-like elements, such as badges, points and leaderboards; elements that motivate and engage the learners.

A popular example is language learning apps. They employ many different techniques: they set you daily goals to encourage you to come back, position you on a leaderboard against others learning the same language, and give you points for correct answers. And learners love it.

Can we bring the same success to workplace learning?

AI provides valuable insights

AI can gather valuable insights. Insights into learners, or the effectiveness of content, and these can be used and applied to training. For example, AI can personalise the content and suggest relevant training for the learner. It can assess the learner’s strengths and areas for improvement and make sure suitable training is proposed, or it can adjust the difficulty of the content. It can even help with tutoring.

But it isn’t just about improving the experience for the learner, it can help the content developers too. It can provide insights into the content and show where learners may consistently be struggling, or where they might not understand, and then developers can adjust the content accordingly.

This type of personalised approach can greatly improve the engagement and motivation of the employees. It makes perfect sense: if learners can see that the content is relevant to them and tailored to their individual needs, it immediately becomes more meaningful and worthwhile.

AI and gamification: a powerful pairing

So, pairing AI and gamification will increase the motivation and engagement of any learning. Separately they already make an impact, so together that impact will be even greater. They’ll help create learning that is not only relevant to the learner but that is fun and compelling to complete too. It’ll be learning that truly has the learner at the heart.

The challenges

But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges to consider. These tools aren’t something that you can just switch on, they both need thoughtful planning and design by experts in digital learning. Developers who understand the requirements, the technology behind it, and who have the appropriate tools. You might be lucky enough to have such developers and designers in house, or you may need to look externally, which will incur a cost.

There is also the question of how the data is used and whether that affects the privacy of the user, as well as algorithm bias and ethical considerations – common challenges across any AI-driven tool.

These challenges can make these tools seem daunting, but if you seek out experts and have conversations to understand how you can make them a reality in your training, it’ll soon become clear how it can work.  

Helping you improve your learning culture

In the end, tools like these help build a positive learning culture. At Netex, building such a learning culture is a driver behind all our tools, and we see AI and gamification as contributing to the same goal.

Company culture is an important consideration for any employee. Research has shown that employees new to the workplace, those coming out of schools and universities, take a company’s values seriously when choosing a place to work. And how a company values and respects their employees is key. Developing a strong learning culture, one that encourages and supports their employees to develop and grow in their workplace, is a great way to demonstrate this respect. And implementing techniques such as AI and gamification will only help build such a positive culture. So, what are you waiting for?


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Carol Butler

With over 8 years in the L&D industry, Carol has witnessed the many incredible and ground-breaking changes that have happened in the industry and is excited to see what the future holds. When she isn’t writing about all things L&D, you’ll usually find her baking, reading, and treading the boards of her local theatre.