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Why the leaderboard ranks high for corporate learning


Is there any better way to encourage engagement than with some game play and a little bit of healthy competition?

The people behind the game-changing Space Invaders thought not and some game aficionados believe it was the inclusion of the leaderboard, a first in the gaming world, that helped rocket the game to international stardom, a place in gaming history, and importantly making the manufacturers the recipients of the millions upon millions of quarters lovingly deposited in machines the world over.

Today leaderboards are by far the most popular social feature in games with Microsoft mandating that all Xbox Live games have leaderboards, while 90% of mobile games across all platforms reportedly use them. Leaderboards are somewhat more complex today as game designers have to consider more than simply the player with the highest score. Now we have databases which can among other things perform score updates and ranking, accommodate players moving platforms and also allow players to select a leaderboard depending on their geographical location.

However, despite such advances, the core principle remains the same. The player with the top score gets to sit at the coveted top of the table.

Although you might be tempted to think the appeal of the leaderboard is exclusively a video game phenomenon and has no place in education or corporate learning, think again. Research by the University of Tampere found that rewarding learners with badges when a task is completed increases work activity. Richard Landers, a professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Old Dominion University, completed work on the subject too and he found the use of a leaderboard scaused people to put in more time and effort, which in turn led to better performances. Landers believes that leaderboards encourage people to strive and aim higher, to achieve desired goals because of our competitive nature and can, therefore, help with employee goal setting.

On a broader scale, leaderboards and other similar gaming elements, have proved to make learning more fun and engaging. a TalentLMS survey found that 79% participants believed they would be more productive and motivated if presented with more game-like learning environments. That belief translates into better outcomes too – a UC Denver study had learners scoring 14% higher after undergoing gamified eLearning courses.

We are always looking for new and innovative ways we can help our clients attract, retain and train the best workforce. So it makes sense that we incorporated gamification to ensure our customers can give their employees a fun and effective way to learn and continue to develop. Our SumTotal Talent Expansion Suite now offers such enhanced capabilities as leaderboards, badges, points and other elements all of which allow users to get their name on highly desirable ‘the table/list’ and see how they rate against their peers. And because it is an extension of our core platform it will work on a global scale, no matter the size of your organization. Additionally, since gamification is an intrinsic component of the core platform, it can be utilized for more than learning and development making it even more advantageous.

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