And how about those instruction manuals? When was the last time you read a manual in advance of trying out a new product? Learning a new task? We are being conditioned to expect that there are better, quicker and more effective ways to learn than to sit in a classroom or reading a manual.
Learning Without the Training
The game play instructions for the Angry Birds games are simply described in pictures. As are the instructions for building Ikea furniture. Even our smartphones, probably the most complex tools that we use today, are accompanied by minimal quickstart pamphlets (much of which contains translations in 6 languages). Instead, we are learning to learn by doing.
Retail Training Needs to Catch Up
We were recently talking with the SVP Operations of a retail chain who talked about the need to train associates; the need to get everyone on the same page; the need to position a consistent brand message through the actions and behaviors of their associates. And how their associates did not have any time or interest in taking their traditional training courses. He said he was struggling to find a way to provide training without it being perceived as training.
Games Instead of Training
Games and Gamification can provide an approach to solving this challenge:
These principles can be applied using both Serious Games and Gamification strategies. In Serious Games, players play games that have a start and a finish and are created to encourage learning. In Gamification, game structures and techniques are applied to real work and activities to leverage social and game related forces to encourage players to behave in certain ways.
Either way, game structures can be used to motivate players to adopt winning behaviors in both virtual store settings and in real store settings. And these learning experiences can be delivered in a format that is much more fun and engaging than that last training session that you attended.
Stuart Silverman has designed, installed and marketed the full spectrum of systems used to provide competitive edge for retail organizations.