4 Levels of Measurement for Your Next Gamification Project

Written by Monica Cornetti
CEO, Sententia Gamification

Let's talk Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. In its simplest form, a KPI is a type of performance measurement that helps you understand how your HR or L&D department is performing. If everything is important… nothing is important.

To be effective, a KPI must:

  • Be well-defined and quantifiable.
  • Be communicated to all stakeholders.
  • Be crucial to achieving your goal.
  • Be relevant to your program.

The trouble is, there are thousands of KPIs to choose from. If you choose the wrong one, then you are measuring something that doesn’t align with your goals. How, then, should you go about selecting the right KPIs for your program?

The best way to accomplish this is by researching and understanding the most important KPIs. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of which ones are specific to your program and which ones will be of no benefit or will not be impacted by your program.

Remember:  If everything is important… nothing is important.

Here are four levels of measurement to use in your next gamification project to help ensure that you are on target to achieve your program objectives.

Level 1. Reaction
At this level we need to get an after-training feedback that will help to get an idea about how engaging this training was. Some questions could give some data for the indicators:

  • How do you feel about the training? (negative, neutral, positive).
  • Would you recommend this training to your colleagues?
  • Do you want to repeat this training in the future?
  • The number of questions asked during and after the training
  • Subjective estimation reaction of audience (were they participating, or checking emails on their smartphones?)

Level 2. Learning
The easiest way to quantify learning outcomes is to conduct a final test that will show how well the students understood the material.

The metrics could be:

  • Exam pass rate
  • Average exam score
  • Before/after training test results

Again, the learning outcomes can be tested in different ways. For example, I prefer to ask trainees to practice something that was learned instead of using a simple test. The first time that I designed a program where I realized that people could be seriously injured or perhaps killed if they did not understand the correct procedures for maintenance, I realized that testing out on paper was absolutely meaningless. 

Level 3. Behavior 
Conducting tests is a good starting point to make sure that the trainees have obtained required knowledge, but what we actually want to see is a certain change in their behavior patterns. The quantification is this case depends on the nature of the process.

In some cases the indicators of new behavior will be as specific as:

  • Time reduction achieved. If the goal of the training was to do something more effectively or simply faster, then you might track it by a KPI.
  • Cost reduction achieved. If the goal of the training was to do something in a more effective way then you might track direct cost reduction, which is result of the training.
  • Increased quality or more specifically, reduction of the return problems rate. The KPI is applicable where the problem is clearly defined and linked to the final result.
  • Performance improvement. The KPI must be linked to a specific performance index. For sales people it might be the number of sales generated, for a copywriter it might be the conversion rate of readers to leads.

In most cases we will need to spend time finding good indicators of new behavior patterns.

It is a good idea to ask the manager or SME beforehand about expected changes in the behavior and the best way to make sure that they took place in the organization.

Level 4. Impact 
In the previous level we could see the changes in the behavior of employees.

  • For example, a workshop might be dedicated to the adoption of a new customer service technique, and we could see that our employees actually started using those techniques (Level 3. Behavior).

Such shifts in the behavior are important, and demonstrate that the trainer was able to influence trainees well enough to inspire them to change, but this doesn’t imply that the change was of any use for the organization.

We could start searching for indications of such improvement several months after the training, but it is wiser to think about expected impact and how we are going to measure it beforehand (“measurement by design”).

Now You Try It
A good KPI should act as a compass, helping you and your team understand whether you’re taking the right path toward your learning and ultimately business goals.The bottom-line of any training or a workshop is whether it helped the organization to execute its strategy more efficiently and effectively or not. Gamification may be your most effective tool for engaging your learners and impacting business objectives. Starting with clear KPIs will help you to show the impact of your program with more than feel good, anecdotal reports.

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