Sunday, April 23, 2023

Teaching Techniques: Gamification is Not Group Bonding Activities

In a Train the Trainer session, a teacher asked me, "Should groups have team names during group activities? Should they have a team cheer? When everyone's present, should they all raise their hands and shout together? Should they encourage each other with hugs?"

These are great questions! They instantly reminded me of my college days participating in outdoor activities (hiking trips, river treks), where we formed teams with names and cheers, and announced our presence together. Those memories are vivid and beautiful. However, corporate training is not outdoor activities! As I've mentioned before, the atmosphere in most corporate training sessions is initially cold, and interaction between the trainer and participants is weak. If you try to forcefully create a lively atmosphere by adopting team-building activities, like team cheers or shouting together, it's hard to imagine what the scene would look like at the beginning (this doesn't apply to experiential courses or outdoor activities).

Participants might cooperate briefly, but they may wonder, "What's the point of this course?" I've also seen trainers try to warm up the atmosphere by loudly greeting the audience multiple times, like saying "Good morning!" and asking for louder responses each time. This can create a brief high-energy moment, but it quickly fades.

Of course, you can design many gamified elements in the teaching process to make the course more engaging and interesting. Participants will be more willing to participate, but gamification does not equal team-building activities. You can design courses with more participation and competitiveness, and have participants work in groups, but it's not necessary to have team names, cheers, or hand-raising shouts. When you see tech introverts, engineers who are quiet yet seriously preparing for course exercises or striving for points for their team, you'll realize that the core of making a course more attractive and dynamic isn't team-building activities, but the three main elements of gamification: P.B.L. I'll discuss this further in the next article!

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