Earlier this year I had the honor of participating in FocusOn Learning’s DemoFest 2016 with our Partner, Pearson Learning. We demonstrated our partnership in bringing Learning Games to the Introduction to Business education market. There are a variety of aspects that brought our partnership together but the one I would like to focus on in this post is student or learner engagement. I will touch on this a bit later, but those of us working in the corporate or enterprise learning world, should be aware of what can drive student engagement as the students now, will be the workforce of the future.
Engagement – When talking about “engagement” we first need to point out that “engagement” does not mean “entertainment.” Nor does it mean “usage,” or the percentage of learners assigned to a course that actually attend (or log into) it. “Engagement” is the level of mind share and mental effort devoted to a learning activity by the learner once the training begins. What I mean by this is that if I simply spend time in content but don’t focus on what it is, understand what it is, or how to apply it, I am simply “experiencing” content but not really engaging with it.
In reviewing the early results, there are two data points that would suggest mLevel Learning Activities are definitely improving student engagement. One of the data points does specifically deal with the number of times that the students kept coming back to the content. The other addresses the student and instructor thoughts on how engaging the experience was.
The Numbers – If you do look at the number of times students are logging in and playing their learning games, we are seeing some significant numbers. Although the activities vary in the type of game play, how the content is presented in the game play, and how the students interact with the content, etc., we are seeing averages of over 70 plays per student. Compared to other solutions that have been deployed, these are very compelling numbers.
Were they truly engaged? – To assess how engaged, or focused the students were on the content, we can look at feedback we received from both students and instructors. Here are some of the highlights:
- 82% of the students felt that mLevel was more, or much more valuable as a study tool compared to study tools they have seen in the past
- 83% of the students would like to see mLevel offered in their other courses as well
- 95% of the students found leaderboards and competitive aspects motivating
- 91% of the students would recommend mLevel to a friend
Additional quotes from students and instructors:
“It was fun so it made me want to do more”
“I think all classes should have this, or something like it”
“I loved mLevel because it was entertaining and I feel like it really helped me learn the material”
“Gamifying the learning process reached students more effectively than the most dynamic lecture”
– Ted Tedman, Educator, North Idaho College
“Using interactive gamification technology motivated my students to come to class and challenged their participation with each other, which was great.”
– Caroline G. Yarbrough, Assistant Professor, Business & Technology Division, Delgado Community College
What does this mean for us? Coming back now to this year’s DemoFest. When presenting and demonstrating along side my Pearson colleague, a very common response to our solution was that ‘this made perfect sense, especially for students.’ When you consider how students are always on their phones and all the related stats on smartphone usage and how many times people reference their phones in an hour, etc. However…. then as we discussed the type of learners coming into their workforce, almost universally, there was agreement that these same statistics and results can apply to their workforce.
In Summary – As the workforce evolves, the need for unique and engaging learning solutions becomes more and more critical. The workforce of the future is going to demand more opportunities for micro learning events (such as games and short activities) that are engaging as well as effective. Maybe Learning Games have proven they are worth a look!