Workshop at #CIPDMAP15 Development Through Gamification

My second workshop of the conference is with Ray Atkinson of Wadenhoe Consultancy, on Development Through Gamification. Sponsored by Hays Recruiting.
My initial thoughts:

Gamification isn’t a real word.

It has however become popular in the L+D sphere in recent years describing approaches to engage people in (mainly) online learning, where designers have incorporated behavioural principles of reward and punishment to reinforce learning. This can involve badges, points or prizes for making the right choices to demonstrate your understanding of the content. It shares similarities with behaviour modification approaches to changing behaviour, and from a background in addiction studies I’ve noticed similarities with the design of online gambling. I’m yet to come across any Gamified products that evoke intrinsic motivation, so I’m not sure of it’s efficacy as an approach to learning interventions that have a long lasting impact on behaviour.

With all this in mind I’m approaching this workshop with an open mind, wide-eyed and with eagerness to hear how Ray and Wadenhoe find Gamification an enabler of development. 

As I sit waiting for the workshop to start, I realise it’s going to be very interactive and require me to ‘play’ a game:   

Which means my live blogging may be interrupted by my excitement to play. Am I being swayed by the trivia or an opportunity to learn?

Ray introduces the workshop and The Wandanhoe Modle (above) using the 5ps to introduce HR strategy. “To me a game has a board, cards and a dice…we didn’t realise creating a game for learning was ‘Gamification'”. In teams of six the game begins and we have to shake a 6 to begin…and the first comment around our table is “I think we should cheat” and then we did! 

Shaking a 6 means we get to take a green card, which are essentially labels for each of the 5ps and add it to the board:  

Once we have all 5 we’re asked by Ray to stand-up and shout “Ps in place” [nobody did]. The room is buzzing and there are a lot of cheers suggesting people are enjoying the frivolity. Ray checks we’ve got it write and clarifies the 5ps: Place, Purpose, People, Process, Performance, with examples and some discussion ensuring our understanding.

There are gold cards and lemon cards – I wonder what they are for.

The Lemon Cards! They are numbered 1-10 and we must throw each number to reach each corresponding card. These are essentially labels for the connections (lines on the board). My competitive streak has caused my to pause blog and chip in to ensure we get the answer right quickly…sitting back into my seat I’m wondering how helpful that is to learning and thinking, for me, for others. (Oops! I did it again!). I’m enjoying the cards and the discussions being triggered more than I am the requirement to throw a 6. Here’s our answers…currently being debated. 

Things I’m over hearing from other teams:

“I told you the rules and you’ve just broken them”

“I’m change management that’s why I don’t follow rules”

“I can see the fit… It sparks conversations that might not usually happen”

I’m enjoying myself. I’m also thinking that’s learning via competition is in contrast to the conditions that create a Thinking Environment. The game encourages self asserting behaviour: getting heard by being strongest, loudest, boldest – I’m responsible for self-awareness and regulating this in myself.

As we review there is an opportunity to shout out your answers and get it ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ which is responded to with collective pantomime jeers. 

“You got those two wrong”

“Yeah but we got this one right”!

“It’s wrong, I copied them…they must have got it wrong then”

Ray encourages us to recognise when the Purpose-Process connection is missing and the importance of this. Also, we discuss the connecting between People-Performance and swiftly conclude this goes when ‘the strategy isn’t clearly defined’. Ray summarises that this model is useful for us in HR to refocus and reflect on our direction when strategy changes, because we need to keep up with those shifts.

Q: what happens to cascade?

A1: it gets stuck at management 

A2: it depends what mechanism you use to cascade 

Now for the Gold Bonus Cards which we were forbidden to peep at prior to now, and so of course we definitely didn’t. We have to throw a double 6 to take a bonus card, read the ‘intervention questions’ and discuss. The dice throwing clearly involves everyone and there are clearly emergent leaders in each team who hold and read the cards. 

Ray then uses some key pre-planned questions to trigger more thought, and explains that these can be used to guide further discussion in teams. He encourages us to consider making our own game and using it in within our HR teams. 

Our summarising task was to discuss examples of when/how/where in our experiences the 5ps have been missing and share this on flip:  

Ray provided a experiential workshop in which we tried out a fun method of engaging teams in discussion around how HR fits into the business and organisation. An approach also championed by Lousie Fisher in her opening plenary. He enabled us to be subjectively learning about the 5ps and the role of HR whilst objectively reviewing the model and the game.

As the workshop ends Fiona Anderson (of Valuing You @valuingYOU) and I sit discussing how we would use this and she shares some great ideas along the lines of…

  • A Post-it notes exercise where HR write down everything they are doing, then introduce the model and map it through. What’s missing?
  • Floor exercise with the ‘board’ spread out, people standing in the Ps, discuss barriers, perspectives. 
  • Use the model with different teams then share interpretations of this to come together 

I leave inspired – thank you Ray.

[This blog was written live in session at CIPD Midlands Area Partnership conference 2015 in Hinckley, Leicestershire on Saturday 3rd October. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session higlights, but my own bias and views may also litter the blog. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter @Jo_Coaches #cipdmap15].

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