Gamify your corporate language learning program

How adding gamification to your language learning program can have amazing results

Corporate language learning is serious business. The potential gains from having a multilingual workforce are immense. Improved communication, better efficiency and lower administrative costs are just a few of the benefits that make corporate language learning an essential investment for any global organization.

When it comes to language learning itself, though, gone are the days of a teacher standing in front of a class asking people to repeat sentences. Despite the importance of language learning in the workplace, presenting it in too serious a manner to staff can be counterproductive. To make any part of a CPD engaging to staff, it can’t be seen as a chore. Rather, it should be a program that staff can fully connect with to maximize their learning and get the best possible ROI for the company.

When there is so much at stake, how can we make a language learning program engaging enough that staff no longer just see it as another thing that ‘has to be done’? One method which has created a buzz over the past few years and is now becoming an essential tool in any learning and development manager’s arsenal is gamification.

Games have always been part of the learning process for children, but it is only relatively recently that we have started to see the benefits they can have for adults. The difficulty with using gamification on adult learners, though, is in striking a balance between making learning activities engaging while avoiding making them patronizing to the learners, something which can quickly become a turn-off.

The simplest form of gamification is using progress indicators to motivate learners. Whether it’s a simple progress bar showing the percentage of a topic or a more complex visual representation of the learner’s progress, the the natural desire for completeness will motivate the learner to continue studying.

Badge systems are another common form of gamification. The simple act of issuing awards motivates the learner by giving a sense of achievement. Badges can be used internally and tied into an organization’s development program. Increasingly, badge systems are becoming more open or standardized with learners being able to take their badges with them from one organization to another. Mozilla’s open badge system is one example of this.

Taking gamification to the next level, an element of competition can help motivate learners to engage in their language learning. Competition between staff members, either in real time or in the form of a ‘highest scores’ chart is a useful motivator, as is challenging learners to beat their own personal best.

So, with so many clear benefits and such easy implementation, it’s clear to see why gamification is becoming so popular in corporate language learning. How to you keep the language learners in your organization engaged and what role does gamification play in your corporate language learning program?

Share this article

Latest articles from Learning and development