The “Gamefication” of learning

February and March 2012

Dear clients,

LeMaSa as a company feels very strongly about ethical Assessment Centre practices. This means that the guidelines by the Assessment Centre Study Group (ACSG) of South Africa, as well as international standards are followed closely by us when we run Assessment Centres for our clients. We also do extensive academic research to validate our Centres. You can imagine my excitement when I recently received the statistical analysis of some of our results and saw that what we are doing as part for the course has an increased impact on the validity of Centre results! If you are interested in these research studies, please do not hesitate to contact me.

In this edition of the LeMaSa Chronicle we look at the interesting field of gaming as a learning tool, as well as the importance of Analytical Ability in the workplace.

Warm regards

Sandra Schlebusch

The “Gamefication” of learning
The “Gamefication” of learning

Doug Harward, the CEO of Training Industry, wrote in his predictions for 2012 that the old saying that “learning can be fun” is truer today than ever before. According to him the spirit of competition not only makes learning more enjoyable, it increases retention and boosts all important time-to-competency measurements.

He further states that gaming is not just a training phenomenon. It is a social and marketing phenomenon. Organisations of all sorts are discovering innovative ways to use “funware” to influence behaviour. In a 2011 Gartner Research Report, they predicted that by 2015, more than 50% of organisations that manage innovation processes will gamify them. Gartner also predicts that within two years, more than 70% of Global 2000 organisations will employ at least one gamified learning application.

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The training industry is transforming standard training programmes into competitive games that can be played real time or asynchronously with participants spread throughout the world. Social media is also driving this trend, as seen by popular games in Facebook, Gowalla, and Foursquare. Most importantly, games incentivise employees to learn and accomplish more skills, which raise competency levels throughout the organisation.

Josh Bersin is of the view that the concepts of “gamification” are now easy to implement. According to h im, rath er than build an entire game, you can “gamify” any learning programme using the well-known techniques of game mechanics (e.g. achievements, points, badges, quests, leader-boards and much more).

In South Africa we seem to be a bit behind in this trend, possibly because of the band-with issues that we have with our telecommunications systems. We should however start to build the gaming concept into our learning frameworks.


Josh Bersin, Bersin and Associates, Strategic Human Resources and Talent Management: Predictions for 2012.

Doug Harward, Training Industry, Inc., December 9, 2011

Analytical Ability as a Key Competency in the Work Environment
LeMaSa administers many Assessment Centres and measures Analytical Ability in all of them. Analytical Ability is viewed as a foundation competency and requires the candidate at the Centre to, amongst other aspects, demonstrate the ability to: Gather information Separate the whole into logical parts Examine a complex problem, its elements and their relationships Determine the validity of arguments Develop a logical argument based on relationships between elements and propositions Identify implications, relationships, redundancies and contradictions Probe for consistency and inconsistency Probe ambiguous statements Make logical connections between a hypothesis and supporting data Sustain a consistent approach in analysing and solving complex, multi-step problems Approach problems in a systematic and rigorous manner Chart a problem and develop associated solutions Use logic to develop and test a range of potential solutions to a given problem Formulate a logical plan based on proposed solutions Without well-developed analytical skills employees tend to make narrow, reactive and superficial decisions. It also influences their ability to innovate and ultimately create sustainable solutions for the organisation. Do you know what your employees’ Analytical Ability looks like? In many instances we find that this particular competency is not well developed and that a high percentage of candidates/delegates at Centres need to develop this competency further. LeMaSa subsequently developed a tutoring module to assist with the development of this competency and also has extensive tools and tips on how to develop it in the Toolbox that delegates at a Centre use to design their own development plans. The reason for the underdevelopment of Analytical Ability is not clear, but we speculate that it might be as a result of: The perceived lack of time in most organisations. Employees feel under pressure to deliver a product and then do not set aside sufficient time to analyse the issues to get a comprehensive picture. The fear to suffer from “analysis paralysis”. We do not advocate over-analysing issues to such an extent that no action takes place, but recommend that a sufficient data-base should inform decisions. The tendency to sometimes deliver a solution that is perceived as “good enough” without considering the long-term implications through proper analysis. The lack of using structured analysis techniques. Employees do not know how to analyse information and do not use simple techniques at their disposal to improve their analytical ability. Whatever the reason, we know that organisations can achieve better results if their employees analyse situations and problems better as that would lead to better judgement and ultimately better decisions.