Onboarding: A Reflection

Uncategorized Apr 24, 2017

In his seminal work describing flow, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi discusses the frustration we feel when a challenge is more difficult than our abilities, or how boring a task will be if our skills surpass the challenge. Flow, he says, comes at the balance between challenge and ability. The more skilled we are, the more we enjoy challenges.

At the beginning of a training program, skills are low. Even if we are accustomed to other learning programs, and even if this program should be beneath our skill level, the fact that it is unfamiliar territory means we will revert to the level of novice.

For instance, you probably had a similar amount of fear and tension your first day of school for grade three as you did for grade seven. By grade seven, you should have been used to going to school, but you were facing a new classroom, new teachers, new peers, and new subjects. So once again, you were a novice at school, essentially starting from the beginning.

Recently while...

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What Uber Can Teach Us About Engagement

Uncategorized Apr 03, 2017

What Uber Can Teach Us About Engagement

by Jonathan Peters, PhD


In an effort to continue the piling-on of Uber Technologies, The New York Times published an article that is critical of Uber’s use of “psychological tricks” to “manipulate” people to drive at specific times and in specific locations. Unfortunately, the article only mentions one trick beyond basic supply-and-demand business models (surges that encourage drivers to go where customers are). But that one trick is worth a look, especially as it relates to engaging learners. 

But first, an insight that an employee of The New York Times may not understand. In the gig economy, people choose when, and how much, they work. In my case, I drive occasionally for different transportation companies. In Austin, TX, we recently hosted SXSW. During an event like this, you can expect to easily make $40 an hour driving, and if you’re willing to deal with drunks, you can expect to make $70 an...

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Why Apply Gamification

gamification Dec 28, 2016

Let’s face it, gamifying a training takes a lot of extra work. It’s easy to deliver information in a lecture. Shouldn’t it be the participant’s responsibility to take our information, remember it, and apply it? After all, they are adults. Why is it our responsibility to make it fun and engaging for them?

Some Talent Development folks are satisfied throwing some points, badges, and leaderboards (PBLs) at a training and being done with it. They don’t have the time and resources to consider other mechanics, develop player personas, create narratives, and determine KPIs.

They ask why they should do all this extra work. Participants should be motivated enough by PBLs.

In truth, there are many reasons why we would not apply gamification to a training, such as time, budget, interest/importance, no support from above, and there may actually be some types of training, you can’t gamify (we’re still looking for an example - so if you have an idea,...

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Gamification Challenge: Dollarize It! - ROI vs. ROE

It’s probably no surprise to you, but investing in employees pays off.
Learning opportunities result in higher levels of employee promotion, retention, satisfaction, skills and knowledge, and this translates to better organizational performance. In fact, research shows the more a company invests toward developing employees, the higher its stock value goes the following year.

Yet demonstrating a real, bottom-line, Return on Investment (ROI) remains a continued challenge for those of us in Learning and Development fields.

As a gamification strategy designer, it is important for you to work with senior leaders to mutually identify ROI measures (beyond smiley sheets) that are linked to the organization’s key strategic objectives. Successful evaluation starts at the beginning of the planning (e.g. Sententia LV1 Strategy Design begins this process in Level 1: The Lost Lagoon), well before the learning design and delivery occurs. In fact, it should begin at the needs assessment...

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5 Things You Should Know About Gamification

gamification Nov 26, 2016

As a business owner, leader, manager, HR or talent development professional, you can learn how to create fun and rewarding gamified experiences to achieve the business objectives that are crucial for the success and profitability of your organization. But you’ll have to begin with a willingness to think differently.

Here are 5 things to consider in gamification design:

1. Your reason for gamifying your project has a huge effect on how you should gamify.
There are some fundamental questions that encourage a solid, creative gamification design. You should ask yourself these questions before you begin the gamification process as well as throughout your design and roll out stages.

Before you begin designing, you should ask yourself the following:

  • What are your measurable business objectives?
  • Why are you gamifying this project or process?
  • How will gamification help you to achieve your objectives?


2. Prioritize the actions you want your users to take and reward them for it

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Corporate Training: What's your Why?

Uncategorized Nov 18, 2016

Gamification of real-world training and development is a powerful technique which can motivate people and help generate loyalty to your organization, its products, and its message. At its core, Gamification is about finding the fun in the things that we have to do.

But like any of our training or learning programs, before we begin to design with gamification, we must first answer the question Why?

The key to engaging employees and developing effective training and learning programs must start by establishing the motivation to learn.

Adult learners want to know why they should learn something. Managers who send their direct reports to training need to clearly understand why they should do so if we want them to support the application of that training afterwards.

In corporate training, explaining why means rather than beginning our discussion about what learning objectives a program must provide or how the program might best be delivered, we should first consider why the program...

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