I have a question for you:-

A farmer has five haystacks in one field and four haystacks in another. How many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in one field?

Think you know the answer?

I will share it with you at the end, but the point I’m trying to make is to show you just how much our brains actually love being tested with games and teaser-questions like this, and why they have very serious and valuable part to play in enterprise learning.

But I think it’s only when companies understand the scientific principles behind things like game-based learning that they are able to fully appreciate just how it can add value to staff training. For example, take the fact that learners can quickly forget and fail to apply what they are taught; this appears all too often as one of the top reasons why training fails learners. Given this, I think it would be massively beneficial to have the scientific benefits of gamification clearly explained to companies that continue to doubt and question its value. This will  help gamification to lose its tag as just another training ‘buzz word’ of the moment, instead showing it as a tactic developed around neuroscience to help improve user engagement and retention, and that conveys useful information in an enjoyable and fun way.

Gamification ticks neuroscience’s boxes

If you are a gamification sceptic, the question I gave you at the start was just a very simple way of getting your attention to show you how, on a far wider and bigger level of professional staff training, the inclusion of things like games, competitions, tests and brain-teasers are all key ways to catching people’s attention. And if you’ve read  the AGES report and are familiar with the interesting points it raises about how we store and remember information, capturing people’s attention is the first key step in the formation of a successful learning process. Why? Because dopamine and  norepinephrineone, two of the brain’s’ key neurochemicals, are produced when something grabs our attention, making us feel focused, alert and engaged. And these are three responses everyone wants to see happen during training if learning is to successfully take place. Whilst I am not a neuroscientist, I am, like you, passionate about delivering effective, long-term, lasting training solutions to people so I think that even by having a layman’s understanding of the science behind certain learning methods can significantly help us to deliver more engaging, measurable learning experiences. In turn, this leads to a better overall retention of content by learners that are kept as a memory for future use and application.

If you want to know the answer to the question, here it is:-

One. If he combines all his haystacks, they all become one big stack.

Even if you didn’t answer correctly, the important thing to come away and remember about the question is that games have been used for generations to teach concepts, skills, and knowledge. Think Yahtzee, Monopoly, Scrabble and spelling; Mastermind, Qwirkle, and strategy; Clue and problem solving, the list goes on and on. 

I know it’s not always possible, but if were able to have more of an insight to how the mind responds towards certain types of training, I think that would be interesting and also potentially very beneficial for helping people to make informed decisions about the types of training they choose.

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