Debunking 7 Myths About Gamification in Corporate Learning

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of having gamification expert, Professor Karl Kapp join us on a webinar. During the course of the discussion, Karl and our CEO Carol Leaman discussed various myths surrounding gamification in corporate learning. Here is the trailer for the webinar, followed by truth behind the seven myths:

[Before you continue reading this post, read the myth first and think to yourself whether it is a fact or a myth. Have some fun, this is a post about gamification afterall.]

1. Gamification and games are the same thing.

Answer: Myth (72% of webinar attendees said myth)

Gamification is about more than just playing games; in fact, sometimes it does not involve playing games at all. Gamification is defined as: the use of gaming elements integrated into a training program aligned with corporate goals to promote change in behavior.

2. Gamification of learning alienates older generations.

Answer: Myth (63% of webinar attendees said myth)

According to, the demographic makeup of an average social gamer in the US is a female who is 46 years of age or older. Interestingly enough, women over the age of 40 make up the fastest growing gamer population.

3. Instructional games don’t need to be entertaining to be educational.

Answer: Fact (45% of webinar attendees said fact)

According to a study conducted in 2011 by Tracy Sitzmann, games can still have a significant impact on learning without actually being ‘fun’ for the player. In fact, the player can experience frustration during the game and still experience learning during gameplay if the level of engagement is high. Tracy found that playing games with high levels of engagement, can lead to an increase in retention, procedural knowledge and declarative knowledge by between 9-14%.

4. Gamification is not “serious”.

Answer: Myth (62% of webinar attendees said myth)

The truth is gamification can have a significant impact on bottom-line results. During the webinar, Karl discussed some of the impact that gamification has been having on the auto-retail giant, Pep Boys. For a full breakdown of the Pep Boys story, read our case study.

5. Gamification is just a fad.

Answer: Myth (59% of webinar attendees said myth)

Firstly, according to Gartner by 2015 up to 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification to transform business operations. Secondly, according to M2 Research the overall market for gamification tools, services and applications is projected to reach $5.5 billion by 2018. Finally, Gabe Zichermann (founder and CEO of Dopamine Inc.) has found that employers who implement gamification techniques can increase productivity of their employees by 40%.

6. Adding points, badges and leaderboards to any training makes it awesome!

Answer: Myth (42% of webinar attendees said myth)

Points, badges and leaderboards would surely make training awesome; however, gamification is about a lot more than just those surface level benefits. Gamification can drive strong behavioral change especially when combined with the scientific principles of repeated retrieval and spaced repetition.

7. Adding Gamification to learning requires a large amount of resources to implement.

Answer: Myth (53% of webinar attendees said myth)

The level of resources required are based on what your requirements are for interactivity and the type of knowledge you wish to get across through the use of gamification. Here is a chart that Karl put together, based on his own research:


Although there are many elements of gamification that you could apply to learning, if you are short on resources, consider utilizing the following four elements: challenge, time (spaced repetition), feedback and reward structures.

In order to get a deeper understanding of each of these myths, you can watch a recording of the webinar, which is now available on-demand.

Get the recording
Do you play games at work? If so, how is it impacting your learning experience? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts via Twitter: @Axonify

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