Gamification is taking the world of corporate training by storm – and with good reason. People enjoy playing games which have become even more ubiquitous with the rise of social media. M2 research expects the overall gamification market to reach approximately USD$2.8 billion by 2016. Given the power of games to engage and motivate, the spillover into the business world was inevitable. Gartner Research predicts that 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations by 2016. SAP recently put gamification in the corporate setting to the test with the launch of its Mobile g-learning online course that trains SAP employees how to develop Android and iOS mobile apps.
“There are a huge number of people who like learning through competition that’s both fun and challenging. Gamification allows you to work together as a team to learn new, important skills that you can apply right away,” says Gordon Muehl, Senior Vice President of Product Security at SAP. Gordon leads the Architecture, Communication, Education, Security (ACES) team that developed the Mobile g-learning course tool using SAP Workforce Performance Builder.
SAP training aimed at mobile developers of all levels
Hundreds of SAP employees in over 30 cities worldwide have participated in Mobile g-learning sessions. Courses consist of 48 lessons geared towards mobile developers of all levels. Students are organized into small teams that compete against each other throughout the course. They attend six weeks of interactive, one-hour lectures. Teams that work together to complete assignments on deadline and actively participate in the online lectures and forums are rewarded with points and badges. At the end of the sessions, teams spend two weeks building a new app. Upon completion of the final mobile app projects, peers and a professional jury from the SAP Community Network choose the winners.
Next page: “Blade Runners” create the winning app
One of the teams that submitted a winning app for the pilot Mobile g-learning course called themselves “The Blade Runners.” The group consisted of three mobile developers from SAP Labs in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil: Cláudio Ramos, Felipe Plets, and Matias Schertel. Their winning Android app, the Visitors Guide, is designed to give people traveling to SAP’s offices in Latin America all the information they need in their first 24 hours. They found that the g-learning format accelerated their learning process for a number of reasons, not least of which was the increased fun factor.
“Gamification made it fun and never boring. The way that the material was prepared and presented allowed us to study topics in an easy way,” says Schertel, who is also a design thinking coach.
Developers watch progression in real-time
A kind of motivational camaraderie emerged as the team earned points tracked on a worldwide leaderboard for watching video presentations, participation in discussions in a special SAP Jam group, and completing quizzes. There was never a dull moment as developers watched everyone’s real-time progression.
“We shared our knowledge as we went through each module, working together and talking about what we heard online,” notes Ramos. “Cooperating with each other as a team was the most enjoyable part.” The game also evoked a competitive spirit. “It was a great challenge to build something as part of a contest. We were eager to win,” adds Plets.
Next page: Road map tracks team progress
Schertel emphasizes the importance of the incremental learning process. “Every time you finished a topic you gained experience points. It made us eager to evolve and we actually learned faster. I liked the road map that tracked our progress in a user-friendly way. We could see the flight path of our teammates and colleagues on other teams.”
Virtual discussion forums fostered cross-cultural collaboration between employees in far flung locations. “Besides working locally, having people worldwide to help us as we developed the app was a big plus,” says Plets.
Gamification success down to focused content and acclimated learners
According to industry analyst Josh Greenbaum, principal of California-based Enterprise Applications Consulting, it’s no easy feat to create a virtual environment for teaching that includes a game component—inside or beyond the corporate world. He credits the success of SAP’s Mobile g-learning program, in part, to laser-focused targeting.
“Gamifying how to jump-start the mobile app development process using the SAP toolset for the SAP market is a well-defined, finite issue aimed at a specific user audience. Having a built-in incentive and support structure makes it easier to do. It also works because these developers are already living in a world where the concepts of online gaming aren’t radically new,” says Greenbaum.
SAP Mobile g-learning courses accelerate route to innovation
Meantime, SAP’s Mobile g-learning courses offered on a continuous basis are packed. For developers in an increasingly complex technology environment, gamified training offers an accelerated route to winning the innovation game.