Innovating a corporate training program with games to increase participation and engagement


Poorly developed and ineffective training programs miss the mark, resulting in millions of wasted hours and billions of wasted dollars. According to an HBR working paper, $162B was spent in the U.S. on corporate training in 2012. A large percentage of those dollars were wasted. As an example, an oil company built a $20M safety training facility, yet suffered several fatal accidents.

At Kalles Group, our Learning Experience Consultants are focused on helping clients develop engaging learning programs that increase employee effectiveness and productivity.

Leaders at a global non-profit organization suspected their training program needed improvement. The organization lacked internal training skills, so they engaged Kalles Group for outside expertise in training and the development of effective learning programs.

As the team measured trends in training data, they recognized a lack of engagement in training and low attendance. Kalles Group developed a plan to boost training attendance and build a more effective and engaging learning program.

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The Challenge

The team’s analysis identified some specific opportunities.

Previous training sessions were long, requiring employees to attend in-person, taking a large portion of a productive workday. The team needed a new learning approach that would increase the efficiency of training delivery and reduce the time demands on employees.

Employee input indicated that class content was poorly matched to employee training needs, so the Kalles Group team identified key user knowledge gaps not covered in training material and developed a plan to redesign training based on those key areas.

After analyzing the Rhythm of the Business (ROB), Kalles Group uncovered a significant reduction in employee attendance in August.

To improve engagement and build excitement around a learning opportunity, the team created a training event during this slow month, delivering a program with a fun gamification approach.

Our Approach:

The month-long learning challenge has boosted attendance with exponential year-over-year increases in attendance, and the gaming format for learning modules has proved engaging and popular with employees.

The first streamlined, low-budget version of the game was developed in SharePoint with a fun and engaging look that shared current results with participants and kept them engaged. In the next iteration of the game, to decrease manual coordination and maintenance like sending emails and progress indicators, the team used existing resources like PowerApps to automate game participation tracking and leveling up.

To increase engagement and learning, a pre-quiz has been added to focus employee learning on specific knowledge gaps and to raise employee confidence that they are investing their time in learning something new and valuable. Social learning tasks have increased cross-learning between participants, and training videos were developed to deepen the learning with hands-on demonstration.

Post-training quizzes quantify each employee’s learning progress, both helping the Kalles Group Learning Experience Consultants measure engagement and effectiveness, and ensuring employees recognize the gains they are making.

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To improve engagement and build excitement around a learning opportunity, the team created a training event during this slow month, delivering a program with a fun gamification approach.

Our Solution

This continued engagement converted to a managed service business model lasting over four years and continues today.

Kalles Group's involvement has yielded a growing overall reach with increased participation across a broader range of roles, not simply class attendance. Participation in the annual online learning game has doubled and completion rates have tripled.

Participants enjoy the game and have given extensive positive feedback, with one employee saying,

Fun idea, catchy titles for the activities, and motivating little meter reminding me to keep learning… I use my newly learned keyboard shortcuts all the time.

Each year, improvements made to the online learning game boost the attendance of the annual training program, with participation in this year’s month-long event nearly doubling year-over-year.