top of page

Competitive Edge: Using Gamification as Motivation


Welcome back our two-part mini-series on gamification. Gamification is a big topic in the training and eLearning industry. It means, as its name suggests, the application of elements typically found in playing a game to a non-game situation –like work. Gamification allows you to tap into people’s natural tendencies for achievement, status, curiosity, learning, etc.

In our last post, we looked at awarding points to users for completing training. External motivators like points and rewards are a great tool to encourage participation. Who doesn’t like a gold star next his name or to win a new iPad? But there’s another side of motivation, intrinsic motivation, and you can access it through gamification. Two of my favorite gamification methods that tap into intrinsic motivation are storytelling and scenario-based learning. Both of these topics deserve dedicated blog posts; however, we will introduce the topics today, and continue to talk about them in the future.


Did you know that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts or figures alone?[1] Stories are powerful tools for learning because they provides multiple ways to connect and hold on to facts, figures, and concepts. Reading a PowerPoint slide with some bullet points and a picture will activate one part of our brain. (If you are lucky, it won’t activate the part that makes you sleepy!) A story will activate several parts of your brain and trigger chemical reactions that release feel-good chemicals further strengthening the connection your brain makes with the content. Storytelling has the power to create relevance in a way few other methods of communicating can, and relevance is extremely important for motivating busy adult learners.


Let’s say, for example, you want to train people on your latest product. Rather than hitting them with all the facts and figures about why it’s so great, tell them the story of why the company created the product in the first place. Tell them the real-life story of the problem the product is designed to fix. Tell them about the journey the creator took to get the product from idea to reality. Sprinkle the key facts and figures throughout the story, and people are sure to retain more.

Scenario-based learning

Scenario-based learning has a lot in common with storytelling. It takes storytelling a step further and puts the learner in the center of the story and asks them to solve problems, make choices, and discover the consequences. This makes it a really powerful tool for making connections, validating relevance, and proving concepts. By using real-life situations to present information and concepts, it allows the learner to practice and understand the outcomes of their choices. It makes the learner an active participant rather than a passive observer.


Think of a situation your trainees encounter regularly during their work. What choices or obstacles will they encounter as they deal with the situation? Present that situation to them as realistically as possible, and let them choose for themselves what they think they should do. They can then discover and ‘experience’ the outcome, and you can give them feedback.

For example, perhaps you are training some new hires on your service team. You can present them with real-life cases of problems that need to be solved with your products. By putting the information into a relevant context, your learners are much likely to know what to do when they encounter the situation in real life.

Have you tried storytelling or scenario-based learning in your elearning modules? We would love to hear about it! Interested in trying it but not sure where to start? Contact your account manager for a brainstorming session. We are happy to help!

[1]Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner suggests we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it is wrapped in a story.


bottom of page