There is a lot of hype about the viability and advantages of using gaming and social tools to make training more engaging and interactive. Logic tells us that making learning more fun and collaborative has to be in the best interest of the learner. But, the bigger question is, whether it is in the best interest of the business?

With the hype and popularity of using these tools so well-documented, many training leaders have been looking for best practices on how to implement gamification and social tools. Learning leaders want to ensure they stay in line with current trends and behaviors, but if leveraging these tools is done solely for the purpose of making the learning more engaging, and not tied to business objectives, then the risk of spending training dollars unwisely is high.

According to Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner, a technology research company, we have to design gaming, social and collaborative environments with the business objectives in mind first. But in order for the environment to meet those objectives, we must make sure it is designed with a player-centric approach. This means designing environments that “motivate players (and participants) to achieve their goals – and those goals should overlap with the business goals.”

This allows us to then measure the investment of these environments based on how they contribute to achieving business results, as opposed to how much the learner enjoyed the experience.

From where I sit, there are many examples of companies that have invested a lot of dollars into these social and gaming environments, but unfortunately too few that have demonstrated measureable results. Our objective in the latest issue of Training Industry Magazine is to help you understand how gamification, social and collaboration tools can impact the business, and provide you with ideas on how to effectively align these tools with business goals.

We need to go beyond just simply making the training experience fun and engaging for the learner. It must also be in the best interest of the business.