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How Deloitte Successfully Made Learning a Game

“It's not shocking when you think about it."

James Sanders, Manager of Innovation at Deloitte Consulting, explained the problem this way – “no matter how good the training you provide, or how easy you make it to access, it's not something people really want to prioritize. Hmm... will I turn on the game?... or do some training...?"

For the vast majority, it's not even a decision.

The Rise of Gamification and a New Approach to Learning

After having previously invested tens of thousands of dollars in learning & development that were not unreasonably very proud of, they realized that they weren't getting the engagement and outcomes they were looking for.

Faced with this challenge, Deloitte turned to gamification.

Gamification refers to the application of game-like elements, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, to non-game contexts.

All credit to them – Deloitte saw the potential of gamification to transform the Deloitte Leadership Academy (DLA) from a static, dusty, boring and not-all-engaging online platform into an engaging and interactive (and FUN) learning environment.

DLA's Gamified Learning Experience: A Closer Look

The temptation with gamification most companies face is to slap on some points and badges and call it a day. (Plot twist: this never works, since the "right" gamification looks different from audience to audience, from purpose to purpose, and from company to company.)

That's why I'm happy to report that DLA's gamification strategy went beyond simply slapping on points and badges. Here's a closer look at the key elements that made it so successful:

Commit to the "Mission": New users began with a short, engaging video explaining why they're even there, and what their mission is (think: "Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It" kind of stuff.) Committing to this "mission" awarded them a badge, and helped set the tone for a gamified journey. (More on the power of the right Mission)

Points: the cornerstone of gamification for a reason – people LOVE to collect them. Think about it – apps & games all give you points when you take action.

They awarded points for: watching training content, completing tasks, quiz responses, document uploads, button clicks, achieving milestones, commenting and even just participating in activities or the community.

But they didn't stop there, and this is where it starts to get a little sexy. While points can become pointless over time, they actually made the points meaningful by allowing them to be redeemed for stuff like:

  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Mentorship Sessions
  • Exclusive Resources Access
  • Workplace Perks
  • Recognition & Awards
  • Company Swag
  • Conferences & Seminars
  • Team Lunchs & Outings
  • Charitable Donations
  • Customized Job Experience

Badges for Milestones & Achievements: Badges weren't just participation trophies. They were awarded for completing training modules, assessments, and even surprise goals like departmental teams watching a specific video together ("Snowflake" badges). This system provided a sense of accomplishment and motivated learners to progress.

Leaderboards: They can enhance learning engagement, motivate continuous improvement, and foster a competitive yet collaborative learning environment.

Visually ranking participants based on their progress, achievements, or performance in various learning activities taps into the extrinsic motivation of learners for social proof, encouraging them to engage more deeply with the content and strive for better performance.

The Impact: Measurable Results and a More Engaged Workforce

The results of Deloitte's gamification efforts were impressive. Weekly returning users to the DLA platform surged by 37%, indicating a significant increase in user engagement.

More importantly, completion rates for online training programs rose, demonstrating that gamification wasn't just about fun, but also about driving actual learning outcomes.

Beyond the Numbers: A More Motivated and Knowledgeable Workforce

The full impact of gamification went way beyond the numbers. It made learning at DLA more enjoyable and interactive.

This positive experience likely translated to a more motivated workforce, eager to invest time in their professional development. Additionally, the social features fostered a sense of community and collaboration, potentially leading to knowledge sharing and improved problem-solving within Deloitte.

Key Takeaways and Looking Ahead

Deloitte's success story with gamification in the DLA program offers valuable takeaways for organizations looking to revamp their learning and development initiatives. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Gamification is a powerful tool, but it needs careful design. Leaderboards, badges, and other elements should be implemented strategically with an eye to audience, culture, desired outcomes, and learning goals.
  • Don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Gamification is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The core focus should remain on delivering valuable learning content and fostering knowledge acquisition.
  • Measure and analyze your results. Track user engagement, completion rates, and other relevant metrics to assess the effectiveness of your gamified learning initiatives.

As gamification continues to evolve, Deloitte's story is a compelling example of its potential to transform traditional learning and development programs.

By embracing gamification and focusing on user experience, organizations can create a more engaging and effective learning environment for their employees, ultimately leading to a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce.

We'd love to help you design the perfect gamification strategy for your organization. Get in touch with us here to set up a time to talk with our experience design team!

Can We Help?

We have a number of ways we can help you to understand the role that gamification can play in your corporate learning environment.

First, we offer the industry-leading gamified LMS platform Engagify, which has been purpose-built to dramatically increase student engagement thanks to a collection of unique features proven to work for any subject, topic or industry.

Second, Engagify's founders offer consulting services that are as unique as the companies who hire us and are tailored to meet the unique needs of each company we work with.

With our deep understanding of the principles of gamification and experience design, we have:

  • Redesigned signature programs & courses from the ground up for dramatically increased engagement
  • Created entire student and employee program & training curriculums, with accompanying implementation plans

From the self-help industry, to non-profits & charter schools, to Inc 5000 companies, since 2011 we've consulted with and coached the CEOs and executive teams of thousands of companies around the world.

Whether it's creating a custom training program that aligns with your company's goals & values or creating powerful & engaging educational experiences that capture the attention and interest of your employees and customers, we have 10 years of proven expertise to help you achieve and exceed your learning objectives.

Get in touch with us here