Gamified training making learning more effective
Pekka Qvist / 24 Nov 2017
Gamification is gaining ground within several industries, and seems to be revolutionizing training permanently. Respectively, both gamification and educational games have received an abundancy of media coverage. Gamification has also been steadily working its way through the Gartner Hype Cycle, and moving towards the Slope of Enlightenment and Plateau of Productivity since 2014.
But what exactly is Gamification?
Professor Karl Kapp, who is an expert in the field of learning, technology, games and gamification, presents the following definition in his book The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: “Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game-thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems.”
NAPCON Games aims to incorporate the comprehensive and accurate dynamic simulations, which are the core of NAPCON Simulator, with game elements and modern aesthetics. We want to create engaging and motivating learning experiences, which elevate industrial operator training onto the next level.
Andrzej Marczewski, who is a Gamification solution consultant, has developed a RAMP (Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose) framework for key motivational drivers, which form the foundations for a good gamified training system.
Relatedness is the social aspect of gamification, the sense of belonging and being connected to other people. With NAPCON Games, we are taking the social dimension of educational games to completely new arenas, with introduction of the competitive features such as the Operator World Cup.
The competition framework of NAPCON Games allows competing against each other, but also forming teams, where co-operation and teamwork have significant impact on the results. It’s not only about individual level of excellence, the winning team must also know how to work as a tight-knit unit.
Any good game will give the operator a sense of autonomy and control. The feeling of being in control of the situation is extremely important in creating a meaningful and gamified learning experience, where the operator has the freedom to experiment, to try out different strategies, to learn from mistakes and to feel that their choices lead to a plausible and realistic outcome.
NAPCON Games is based on the NAPCON Simulator, a dynamic process simulator engine which powers the games, and allows us to present scenarios where the operator has a high degree of freedom and autonomy to operate the industrial simulation. Moreover, the operator can freely choose their learning path along different sets of missions of varying difficulties.
The perfect balance of challenge versus the operator skill level is often depicted as the flow channel. In the ideal situation, a game can sustain and even heighten the levels of interest, focus and motivation to achieve the suitable level of challenge for the operator. In the process of mastery, the skill levels of the operator increase, as learning happens over time.
In games, the path to mastery often begins from simple introductory onboarding levels, leading to intermediate difficulty, and the game gets more difficult as the operator becomes more skilled. NAPCON Games offer this naturally evolving difficulty curve and path to mastery with carefully built and balanced sets of missions.
The first missions introduce the concepts of NAPCON Games, operator interaction methods, and the first tasks. The further missions add more parameters and controls for the operator to handle. The last mission sets offer special tasks, which can include elements such as faulty plant units, random disturbances or problems in an increased pace. Mastery of the toughest missions requires true operator excellence.
When talking about motivation – and specifically intrinsic motivation – purpose and meaning are important key factors. The sense of purpose can be larger than the sum of its parts. When the operator feels that their actions are meaningful, their motivation for learning and training can radically heighten.
NAPCON Games offer several methods to create a sense of purpose for the individual operator, and for the organization. The data collection and statistics features allow tracking of individual progress and learning throughout the various missions of the games. In addition, they potentially allow identifying hidden talent, which might not be revealed within more conventional learning platforms.
The individual operator can also find a sense of purpose in tracking their own progress over time. NAPCON Games can incorporate things such as safe operation principles within the missions, where faults or disturbances can cause dangerous situations, and the operator learns strategies and methods to operate the process safely even in challenging circumstances.
If learning safety in a gamified environment can lead to a lower number of health or life-threatening incidents in real-life plant operation, the educational game can create a deep sense of purpose for the operator.
For NAPCON Games it’s all about motivating your operators to achieve the best results, so we have taken care to embed all the important ingredients – Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose – into our educational process simulation games.
Educational Games Manager