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Challenge vs Obstacle

Challenges vs. Obstacles in Corporate Training: Mastering the Game

corporate training game-based learning gamification Oct 05, 2023

An interesting question popped into my inbox recently from a diligent student, prompting some lightbulb moments. They asked, "What, exactly, is the difference between a challenge and an obstacle in the context of gamified corporate training?"

Both "challenges" and "obstacles" refer to situations or things that hinder progress or make a goal harder to achieve. However, they are used in slightly different contexts and convey somewhat distinct nuances. Here's a breakdown of their differences:


  1. Definition: A challenge refers to a task or situation that tests someone's abilities. It's something that requires effort, skill, or determination to overcome.
  2. Nature: Challenges are often seen in a positive light, implying growth, learning, or competition. They push individuals or groups to stretch their abilities and improve.
  3. Examples:
    • Participating in a competition or contest.
    • Taking on a project that requires new skills.
    • Meeting a tight deadline at work.


  1. Definition: An obstacle is something that impedes or hinders progress. It's a barrier that stands in the way of achieving a goal.
  2. Nature: Obstacles typically have a more negative connotation. They're problems or difficulties that need to be navigated or overcome, often unexpectedly.
  3. Examples:
    • Physical barriers, like a fallen tree blocking a road.
    • Personal limitations, like a lack of resources or knowledge.
    • External factors, like regulations or bureaucratic red tape.

Let's dive into this and draw some allegoric distinct lines, shall we?

Challenges: The Invigorating Coffee Breaks

Think of challenges as those refreshing coffee breaks amidst hectic corporate workshops. Challenges are structured, intentional opportunities introduced to promote growth. They're designed to engage and push learners outside of their comfort zones, testing and expanding their capacities. Essentially, they're the energetic jolts that keep your corporate training vibrant and results driven. In the corporate world, challenges are those moments that say, "Here's an opportunity. Can you rise to the occasion?"

Obstacles: The Unexpected IT Glitches

Now, picture being in the middle of a crucial virtual presentation when, suddenly, the IT system crashes. That’s your obstacle. Uninvited, unplanned, and momentarily derailing. They're the unplanned barriers that crop up, whether they're technical glitches, sudden changes in project direction, or resource shortages. The key with obstacles is resilience. They shout, "Unexpected hurdle ahead! How will you adapt and overcome?"

In summary, while both challenges and obstacles refer to hindrances, challenges are often seen as opportunities for growth, whereas obstacles are barriers that need to be addressed or removed.

Introducing: The Game Garage for Gamification Mastery

Now, for some thrilling news for those eager and looking for challenges to hone their skills: We're relaunching our Game Garage! Filled with bi-weekly gamified and game-based learning challenges, it's designed specifically to help members refine their expertise.

Whether you're a corporate trainer or a training participant, our Game Garage offers a dynamic platform to experiment, learn, share, and evolve. Dive into challenges, strategize around obstacles, and elevate your corporate training game!

Join us on this exciting journey, and let's redefine the future of corporate training, one challenge (and the occasional obstacle) at a time.

Check out your options and benefits here: 

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