9 Tools to Boost Engagement with Gamification, Immersive Platforms and Collaboration
We’ve spent a lot of time with virtual Engagement tools. Here are some of my favourites.
It’s been a time of exploration for most of us, as we settled into new ways of working. While virtual collaboration and engagement tools have been part of my working life for a while, they have turned into an inevitability.
I want to share some of the most enjoyable, immersive and effective tools that we use, either to quench our thirst for knowledge, to make collaboration easier or for the sheer fun of it!
So, here are my 10 favorite tools organized into 3 categories; collaborative, gamification and immersive platform experiences.
What do Navy SEALS, star athletes, professional criminals, disaster survivors and children have in common? They all play games to learn faster and succeed. We all do, it’s human nature. Depending on the context it might be called business simulation, a role-play exercise, drill operation or practice run, but it is essentially the same thing: Creating an environment where we can learn playing.
Humans crave gamification, and it plays on our memory retention and our cognitive reward system. We are able to perform better in the real world after having played games or practicing exercises that simulated the task.
According to the author Eric Barker, you need 4 ingredients to gamify any task:
- Have Novel Challenges
- Show clear attainable Goals
- Give & receive Feedback (on performance)
In his book Barking Up the Wrong Tree (2017), Barker references Joe Simon’s unbelievable survival story of being the first to ascend the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, the largest mountain in the southern hemisphere. Joe Simons broke his leg as he fell down a crevasse the size of a skyscraper, and everyone thought he wouldn’t survive. Joe gamified his escape and managed to survive after breaking down the 45’000 ft descent into a manageable game he played for over 48h.
1. Kahoot – Game Building Tool for ANY Content (paid)
Kahoot is an interactive platform that lets anyone gamify any content as a trivia game format. Not only can you design your own game, but you can also make your presentation interactive. During the presentation, the audience uses their mobile phones or laptops to give instant feedback, offer opinions and answer your questions.
I’ve personally only been a participant in presentations and not made my own yet, but based on my experience as a participant alone, I think the monthly subscription is worth it.
2. Duolingo – Gamifies Language Learning (freemium)
Duolingo is a language learning app that is often ranked first in terms of gamified learning apps. The brilliant interactivity and multifunctionality is a gamechanger for language learning. You learn a new language essentially by playing a constant game of new challenges, rewards, level ups, community building and much more.
I have used Duolingo to learn different languages. While in Thailand for an internship during my studies, I knew I had a Spanish exam waiting for me when I returned to school. During my commute to work, I would open the app and study Spanish every morning. After 6 months, I had reached an astronomically high score on the app — and aced the exam with full marks — while feeling as if I were just playing a game. I learned more Spanish in Thailand than Thai! These days I’m using the app to learn German and basic Mandarin.
3. Coursera (freemium)
Coursera enables you to take online courses from the most prestigious American universities at discounted prices online. The sessions are divided into short video recordings and you are given a little quiz after each session to test your knowledge.
Coursera has excellent speakers that extract the key learnings and present them in an entertaining way. You don’t have to pay to access the courses, but if you’d like to have your quizzes reviewed and receive a certificate of completion, a moderate fee applies.
I am currently enrolled in a short class from Wharton Business School on social channels and viral marketing, which is really enjoyable. There’s also Coursera for Business for companies who want to offer a specific curriculum to their employees.
Immersive learning ideally puts people right into a different and real reality. There is no substitution for real-life encounters and experiencing a different reality with all senses. That being said, we are all craving moments that take us out of our routine, away from our desk, maybe even out of our home for a bit.
Immersive learning with virtual tools is learning in an artificial environment. The environment enables the learners to completely get immersed in the learning and in a way that feels like experiencing an actual learning environment.
1. Google Expedition AR
Google expedition is an immersive learning tool that uses VR and AR to explore and learn about things and places. I’ve used it to check out some works by Da Vinci and see the inside of science labs across the globe. There is the option of attaching it to the Google Cardboard for a full VR experience, but I prefer to hold my phone in front to see.
2. Tiger Hall
Tiger Hall is an innovative Singaporean learning platform that lets you decode the minds of some of the most influential and successful movers and shakers in Asia. The content is divided into articles, podcasts, events and interviews with a broad spectrum of prominent professionals.
What makes me add Tiger Hall as an immersive or experiential platform is the multitude of ways to engage with the content. Bite-sized learning means it can be part of your day in whatever way you chose: While jogging, cooking or taking some time to read outside. On top of the content within the App, Tiger hall also gives access to seasoned professionals through events or direct mentoring.
I just finished a short read from Deep Thomas, the Chief Data Analytics Officer at Aditya Birla group on how to spark curiosity in your team, I really recommend it.
3. Oculus for Business
Immersive learning and education is an important driver for Virtual Reality innovation. Even if VR generally has lost some buzz over the last few years, it is astounding how quickly quite complex technology has become affordable and accessible both for viewers and producers.
As companies are looking for ways to provide an alternative experience to endless zoom meetings and webinars, VR represents a fantastic alternative to learn and experience content!
The list of application is endless, and really depends what is essential for your team to learn, but each of the available platforms; Oculus, HTC, Sony and Microsoft, all offer a lot of capabilities, and even custom solutions for corporate partners. My pick is with Oculus, who offers tailor made scenarios and learning experiences for corporate partners. Many of our clients and ecosystem partners are using Oculus to train their teams to do highly technical tasks, where the margin for error could be extremely high.
Johnson & Johnson is using the platform to train surgeons on new tools and equipment, DHL is training their people on their unit load devices to streamline the supply chain of their packages processing for new employees. Essentially, Oculus is able to recreate or simulate a technical environment where employees can train without being exposed to the risk of making mistakes that could affect the whole company, or their own lives.
Collaboration is arguably a team’s engine. While virtual collaboration tools always had a place in the office, the fact that every single step in a collaborative process now had to move online made it even more important to look at .
Slack is a business communication platform where teams can collaborate in different channels. The application streamlines the communication that people would often do by email.
Not only is it a great product, but we have brought many clients to slack’s HQ in San Francisco to understand its mission better and to learn from their interesting company culture and values.
I have been using Slack for a few years now and it has tremendous collaborative power. Some companies swear by Microsoft Teams, and although I think it’s a great enterprise software, Slack beats it better overall usability and by integrating with more external tools.
I love how much cloud space you receive as a paying member. If you want to share videos with colleagues, or integrate a 3rd party app, articles or polls, you can be confident that there is an API plugin already compatible with Slack.
2. Google Suite
This might be an obvious choice. But it has to be mentioned if you’re still in two minds about it. I almost exclusively use Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides to collaborate with my colleagues when we are working on a project.
The fact that we can all work on the same document at the same time – literally being able to see other team member’s contributions in real-time – beats everything else.
Microsoft’s office suite has deeper functionalities, no question. Google is ideal for projects or tasks that don’t require functions such as Macros or image manipulation. It’s worth thinking about collaborating within the G-Suite first, when documents are still shaping up and the collaboration is more intense, and then shift to Microsoft’s programs to polish or develop further. It’s easier to get going focusing on creating content together, rather than managing an ever-increasing number of conflicting versions.
Miro is a collaborative whiteboard that we use to conduct collaborative sessions virtually. It lets participants collaborate on it, draw, ideate and prototype. We have used it for virtual workshops over the last few weeks and it is the best next thing to working on a whiteboard in a room.
It’s impressive to see everyone’s cursors move around simultaneously and have so many people contribute to the same canvas and ideas at the same time. The possibilities and options for conducting virtual workshops are infinite.
Hopefully this list has been helpful to you or your team, and there are certainly many more tools that could have been added to the list and deserve a spot here. Please feel free to reach out to share your opinion or your experience with the tools and platforms mentioned above.
Killian has been with WDHB since the spring of 2017 as a program manager designing and delivering impactful learning expedition globally for corporate thought leaders. He is a tech enthusiast, addicted to change and likes to move both literally and figuratively. Other than tech and business, he loves to meet with the passionate people that make the impossible possible.
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