The term gamification first appeared when Nick Pelling coined the “deliberately ugly” word in 2002, when tasked with developing a game-like interface for ATM and vending machines.
But gamification, while not a part of our lexicon until recently, has been around for centuries and played a role in significant advancements. The Periodic Table of Elements, an iconic symbol in science, was created by Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev. He wrote the names and properties of the sixty-five known elements on individual cards, hoping to predict new ones. After falling asleep at his desk while moving the cards around, he awoke to see the repeating pattern in the elements’ behavior, making him one of the first scientists to use gamification to complete an educational task.
Gamification in Skills Development
Fast forward to this century’s technology, and the leap to gamified skills development is a natural one. As Dmitri Mendeleev demonstrated, games leverage the human tendency to influence one’s thinking process as a method to architecture human behavior to induce engagement, innovation, and productivity.
- According to the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, gamification increased:
- 12.23% in retention
- 7.03% overall performance
- The U.S. Department of Defense uses gamification to safely train soldiers due to an astounding:
- 11% increase in knowledge recall
- 14% increase in procedural knowledge
- 9% greater retention of knowledge
- Scientific studies show that students who learn with gamified content that includes prizes push course completion from under 20% to 90%.
Gamification in Workforce Development
Engaging youth about careers with mobile gaming has also already proven to be a valuable tool in workforce development, as it offers a unique opportunity to engage with the next generation in job exploration using their favorite form of entertainment. In fact, a mobile, gamified approach to workforce development checks just about every box in recruiting today’s sustainable, vetted talent pipeline. Here’s why:
- Mobile games reach a broader, diverse audience, including those who may not be interested in or have access to traditional career exploration resources, including rural and inner-city communities.
- Players can engage in experiential career discovery, allowing them to engage in simulated work environments and learn about different career paths in a hands-on experience.
- Industry-relevant skills are developed, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork.
- Mobile technology can directly connect players with post-secondary pathways and employers around them based on interest and proficiencies and their location.
- 95% of Gen Z have access to smartphones
- It’s where they spend more than 7+ hours a day
- 90% of them classify themselves as mobile gamers
Mobile gaming presents an unprecedented opportunity for industry to reach their future talent pool wherever they are, on their phones, with gamified content that engages, influences and skills. Industry videos watched only once, annual job fairs, or overly-tasked educators with limited time to invest in career awareness are not enough to fill the talent shortage estimated to cost industry a $1.2 trillion loss this decade. By making career exploration fun, accessible, and interactive, mobile games can inspire young people to pursue careers in a variety of industries and build a strong, diverse workforce for the future.
Interested in a workforce game demo? See how states are using free-to-play mobile gamification to create awareness and access for youth to skilled careers in their own backyard.