How to use Game-based Learning Techniques to Boost Productivity

Boost your productivity

Educators everywhere use game-based learning (GBL) techniques to pique students’ interest and enhance the experience. Put plainly, teachers use games to approach a topic that may prove difficult. Furthermore, GBL is supported by the development of mobile devices which make it easier to transform learning into a fun and productive activity.

But GBL is not just for the academic world! The corporate world is also tapping into its benefits, by using the techniques to increase productivity and sales or make training programs more attractive.

Companies that Successfully Use GBL

GBL first became popular in big companies, where it was used to keep team members connected and challenged. Below you can read a few of the most interesting examples:


The software giant experienced with a plethora of GBL techniques before they created the Ribbon Hero game that helps Microsoft Office users understand the purpose of the ribbon interface. The game is available for free and helps boost productivity among employees who encounter the interface for the first time.


The company is legendary for their witty interview techniques and their quest to create the perfect workplace! Employees are motivated to engage in various creative activities and are rewarded with “Googbles” (their in-house currency), which people can use to buy various things inside the company.


The company managed to reach a 12% increase in sales due to the well-implemented GBL techniques! Their system is called Innov8 and helps employees learn about business management using a platform that creates a fictional company.

How to Use GBL in your Company

While it may look like only the giants of the IT industry are prone to using game-based learning in the workplace, there is room for the little guys as well. Whether you’re just starting, or you are a well-established small company, GBL can help you boost productivity and ease up tensions in the workplace.

Encourage Collaboration

When you’re working hard to achieve your goal, you need supporters. Usually, these are your employees. However, they are not as determined as you, and that’s natural. Still, by encouraging them to work in a collaborative environment, you teach them about the power of asking for help.

Let’s take World of Warcraft for instance. The game is incredibly popular, and anyone can try it, but it also teaches the young entrepreneur or team manager about collaboration in the workplace. When you’re just starting with a business or a team, the tendency is to micromanage. But this practice doesn’t lead to productivity as it kills the team spirit right on the spot.

So, instead of trying to be in control all the time, why not play some WoW with the team? Of course, you can use a more business-oriented platform, but the idea stays the same. In the game, you are asked to work together to complete your mission. And, as you learn to do so in a virtual environment, it will become easier to apply this in your day-to-day life.

Offer Rewards

Rewards for a job well-done are mostly a gamification element, but it’s a highly effective technique. For instance, if you want your team to take an online course on finances and you want to make sure they do it right, offer level up rewards or experience points.

In plain words, for each module they master you should offer a reward. It can be money or a voucher for a free dinner at an expensive restaurant. It can be anything you want, as long as it creates value for the recipient.

By transforming the learning in a game-based competition, you challenge every member of your team to pay attention and invest energy.

Improve Time Management

In today’s working world time is our most precious commodity. As the manager of a team or the owner of a business, you invest time in reaching goals and guiding others. On the other hand, as an employee, you offer your time to a company to build your own life.

In addition to this, time is a limited resource. So, you can see how it’s crucial that you invest it right. Still, despite all the warning signs, we tend to procrastinate, which leads to low-productivity and frustration.

To reduce procrastination to a minimum, specialists devised online platforms and apps that transform the day-to-day activities into a game. Here are only a few examples you can use:

  • Habitica– Designed as a game, this platform tries to help users go through their daily To Do lists. Each task you do gets you points, level ups, and in the end, keeps your character alive in the game.
  • SuperBetter– The platform is designed by a gamer at heart (Jane McGonigal) and it’s aimed to help users achieve difficult goals (personal or at work). The platform builds on the idea that a task that asks a lot of energy from us will always be postponed. So, to avoid this, it breaks it down into a journey where each step is a quest you get to try.

Why Does it Work?

The science behind GBL proved that the benefits are huge, regardless of the environment (academia or business). But why do we respond so well to it? Here are some explanations offered by specialists in neuroscience and/or behavior:

  • The brain is stimulated– Studies proved that the brain of a gamer ages at a slower rate. This happens because online games keep complex neuronal pathways active and even help build new ones.
  • We learn through experience– While theoretical knowledge is important, our brain learns better through experience. We are more focused on the task at hand when we’re doing it than when we read about it.
  • Confidence boost – Whether you learn how to put together a plane or how to run a business, video games offer a safe outlet. If you screw things up in a simulation, you can start over. In addition, you also get to learn what went wrong and why.
  • It’s challenging– One of the main complaints associated with traditional learning (and e-learning nowadays) is boredom. When things get boring, the focus quality plummets, and learning is no longer your top priority. However, using GBL, you are immersed in a new world, where you experience, learn and enjoy yourself.

Wrap Up

Due to GBL techniques, the workplace standard has shifted from a place of gravity to one of creativity and games. Likewise, work is no longer seen as ‘that thing you have to do’ but as ‘that cool thing you get to do’. Employees are more interested in developing new skills and improving the ones they have. Also, managers try harder to be leaders and create an environment that’s both challenging and motivational.

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