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Using Gamification to Enhance Mandatory Training and Improve Compliance

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All government entities have mandatory training requirements for some or all of their employees, which are made compulsory by law, regulation, or policy. Mandatory training is often required for high-risk areas such as security, fraud, or corruption control and ensures government employees have the knowledge, skills, and capability to perform their duties ethically, safely, and effectively, and contribute to a positive culture of awareness and compliance.

Unfortunately, the training material provided to meet these requirements can sometimes achieve poorer learning outcomes than desired, due to a lack of engaging material, or fun and accessible learning opportunities for participants. Passive learning activities such as reading policies and procedures, attending information sessions, or watching videos may lead to poor retention and recall, and information that is too broad can fail to provide a complete understanding of how the material applies to or is of relevance to the employee, their role or their business unit.

Defining gamification

Gamification refers to the practice of injecting game elements and mechanics into environments and processes where they are not usually found to enhance engagement, increase retention and improve learning outcomes. Gamification can make training more fun, interactive and memorable for course participants, and uses systems such as points, levels, challenges, scenarios and competition to motivate and reward the learner.

Gamification can make otherwise ‘boring’ topics more fun and relevant, and is more likely to provide increased capability and compliance beyond the initial delivery date than more passive learning methods.

Examples of gamification techniques

Scenarios and simulations

Using scenarios, examples and simulations throughout training material can help make topics more relevant and practical for learner, and give them the opportunity to experience and consider realistic scenarios and actively assess how they would respond or react in the moment. Allowing learners to practice skills and enhance their knowledge in a hands-on way, and to receive immediate feedback and guidance from the module or instructor, can help embed practices and assist them in retaining their new knowledge after the training has ended.

Points, levels and badges

Including a points or levelling system in your training can help motivate participants to complete tasks, achieve set goals and compete or cooperate with others. These game elements can assist learners to engage actively with material, feel accomplished in their progress and provide feedback and rewards for positive learning.


Quizzes are a quick and easy way to test participants’ knowledge of concepts, policies and procedures, as well as provide feedback on their responses that confirms or corrects the learner’s answer. However, simple quizzes alone can become ‘check box’ activities for a learner, so it is important to consider enhancing them by adding engaging elements such as a scoring system, time limits, hints or fail states.

Interactive storytelling and videos

Turning linear stories or scenarios into engaging pathways can prompt learners to consider and act, and provide feedback or consequences for their choices throughout. These kinds of activities can help learners to understand the impact of different decisions or courses of action.

Challenges and competition

Adding an element of challenge or competition to course material can promote a sense of excitement and achievement for learners. Fostering a healthy sense of competition among participants can increase performance, motivation and willingness to collaborate and contribute to team-based activities.

Gamification can be a powerful tool for improving the effectiveness of mandatory training across government and is worth considering when updating or creating new learning material. Effective use of gamification techniques in training can help create more interactive, engaging and memorable learning experiences for staff and increase their ongoing understanding, awareness and compliance with some of the highest-risk elements intrinsic to the role of a public official.

Author: Max Bane

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