Hand touching games on computer screen
eLearning Learning
June 15, 2022

Integrating Gamification into the Learning Experience

Gamification can create engaging learning experiences that increase learning and retention. Intel’s Learning & Development Consultant Usha Chazhiyat shares best practices for any organization looking to integrate gamification into the learning experience. She also offers advice on how to get started and build on learning solutions that leverage technology to teach.





Show Notes:

Intel’s Usha Chazhiyat has develop a recipe for successfully using gamification to engage and educate learners. She offers advice on how to get started and build on learning solutions that leverage technology to teach.

  • Start using gamification in a small pilot project to see what works with your learners before incorporating into more eLearning.
  • Use a variety of gaming techniques such as trivia games, to more complex scenario-based experiences.
  • Try to create new learning experiences using previous templates when developing new courses with gamification. 
  • Consider a variety of gamification approaches to meet the different educational needs of your learners.

About Usha Chazhiyat:

Usha Chazhiyat is the learning innovation strategist for Intel Corporation and is passionate about utilizing technology and immersive methodologies to build engaging and effective learning experiences for adult learners. Usha is a former software engineer turned learning leader and has many achievements in leading organizational efforts in learning at Intel to adopt engaging learning trends including gamified learning. She has 16 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies like Intel Corporation and Hewlett Packard in building expertise through people management, project management and software engineering.

Learn more about Karl Kapp’s book mentioned in this episode. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice 

Learn more about using Articulate Storyline 360 mentioned by Usha as a gamification development tool. 

See how we partner with Sandy Hook Promise.

Explore adult and K12 educational outreach on SandyHookPromise.org 


Female Presenter: [00:00:00] This is Powered by Learning, a podcast designed for learning leaders, to hear the latest approaches to creating learning experiences that engage learners and achieve improved performance for individuals and organizations.

Male Presenter: Powered by Learning is brought to you by d'Vinci Interactive. For more than 25 years, d'Vinci has provided custom learning solutions to government agencies, corporations, medical education and certification organizations, and educational content providers. We collaborate with our clients to bring order and clarity to content and technology. Learn more at dvinci.com.

Susan Cort: Hello, and welcome to Powered by Learning. I'm your host Susan Cort. Today I'm joined by d'Vinci CEO, Luke Kempski, and our guest Usha Chazhiyat, a learning and development consultant with Intel Corporation. Usha joins us from our office in Oregon to talk about using gamification to create effective learning experiences. Welcome, Usha.

Usha Chazhiyat: [00:01:00]Thank you so much. Happy to be here.

Luke Kempski: Glad you could join us, Usha.

Susan: Usha, start off by telling us a little bit about your career journey and your role at Intel.

Usha: Absolutely. From an education background, I come from a bachelor's in computer technology, and I used to work as a software engineer in my previous life, as I think about it. Also, my journey, I've done software development, quality testing, team lead. There was a point in my career where I really started thinking about what am I really passionate about. Thinking differently, thinking about a career move, and one thing that I always enjoyed in my life as a software engineer was really training my people, as we onboard folks into our team, training them, getting them close to their work and job.

I'm always passionate about technology. I think that comes from my software background. That is where I started exploring instructional design as an area of career focus. I went back, got [00:02:00] my certification in instructional design and technology from San Diego State University, and joined Intel into the sales and marketing organization as their learning design and development specialist.

From there, I was with that organization for seven years where I got the opportunity to implement a lot of these amazing capabilities. From there, I moved into supporting learning strategy and execution for data center and AI, one of the growing business units within Intel. That's where I'm right now.

Luke: That's so great. I would imagine everybody's jealous on the podcast about the opportunity to create e-learning and training with someone with a software development background. I know a lot of organizations, Usha, really want to bring gamification into their learning offering to the learning experiences they create, but sometimes they have trouble getting started. Talk about how gamification has evolved at Intel and how you've been involved in that.

Usha: Yes, certainly. [00:03:00] As I think about it, we have been hearing about gamification a whole lot, right? It's, I would say, a hot trend in the industry. Everybody is trying to do that, but the concept of gamification in learning is still new as I see it. Even though it's being applied in many organizations in small fashions, it's not a key belief yet, as I would say, like any other Zoom-based training or on-demand training.

The evolution for gamified learning within Intel did take some time. It was a process as I would call it. The first time when I started leading this project, there was a lot of need for research and education. The initial efforts, I still remember almost 6 to 12 months was spent in building that awareness to this methodology, getting our stakeholders and subject matter experts see that vision through us.

I've done things like bringing industry experts for webinar, [00:04:00] managing small focus group sessions where we just brainstorm and ideate. How can we apply this into practice? That helped us bring a lot of use cases into place. That also helped our subject matter experts to think about these concepts, our facilitators, there are so many that come into play.

Once this awareness get built, and once you start seeing more and more people engaged in the conversation and coming up ready to partner with you, it is about finding that right sponsor and get the right leadership support that we need because amplifying a message like any other innovation and getting that sponsor to be your-- I would almost call it backbone support when you learn something of these. To me, that was my second phase, who can be my leadership partner, who can be my leadership sponsor.

Once you figure out some of those details, it is actually time to implement a pilot. Like any other innovation, [00:05:00] like I mentioned, gamified learning is still new. It is hard for everybody to see that vision. How can you lead the way by showing small examples, putting small pilots into place, getting that feedback from your learners, which you can then use to amplify your own message?

To me, it is almost like a three-step process. The first one is building that awareness and get more and more support from different organizations, industry leaders to get that message across. The second one is helping our subject matter experts think by coming together, building use cases, putting small pilots. The third big critical piece is getting that commitment and sponsor from the leadership team who can help you amplify the message.

Luke: Yes, that's a really great approach and I could see how it's really progressed in your organization. Where you are at this point, are you creating full courses that are gamified, or is it more-- you have a course, you have the content delivered in one way and it's more about application [00:06:00] and practice?

Usha: We really started off with application and practice because that was an easy achievable goal for us. The efforts that I've led actually went through all the different levels of, let's say, Bloom's taxonomy, remembering facts and figures using gamification for many application-level trainings. We really started off by application into more of a recall effort because that was easy to implement. Right now within Intel, there are a lot of use cases where we are using the methodology overall in a curriculum journey to encourage more learning and practice. Yes, we started off with actually the application level.

Luke: That makes sense as well. Now that you're creating different types of games, how do you decide what concept to go with? What are the kinds of things that you think about when you determine what the gamification experience is going to be like for the learner?

Usha: Yes, and the way that I see it [00:07:00] is you're actually putting two different hats when you decide to make some of these decisions. One is, bring your expert learning designer who can help you define what are the objectives and the goals. These two should go together. The second one is really about bringing our game design experts to bring that experience in a best-suited way.

We actually go through a really core design development process, where in the design process we think about, "Okay, what are the learning objectives to achieve? What are the games that could go into these areas?" The way that we make our decision is, for example, let's say I'm designing a game approach to achieve a goal where my learners at the end of the course are able to state at least 5 colors of the 15 that they learn. Just a very simple core remember type of level, right?

For that, we don't need to craft a scenario-based game [00:08:00] or a role-play-based game. It can just be, "How can you help your learner to recall the facts faster?" Maybe we'll go for a trivia kind of approach because all we are trying to get is for them to be thinking about these things as fast as possible, versus we have implemented cases where, let's say, you are trying to or facilitating a learning experience for somebody to communicate in a certain way based upon different situations. They have to really take the learnings from their communication classrooms and actually apply it to different situations.

We might design a game where it is role play-based, and it is very timed. Then you go from one station to the next station, putting your learning into practice in five minutes, and you get 10 points, for example. So I think it's really upon what learning objective it is. I have to say, it's not a straightforward answer, but a lot of things go into practice. [00:09:00] We have actually done trivia for scenario-based questions. I'm not saying it is not possible, but as long as you're achieving that learning objective, to me, what game you craft can be somewhat flexible, but then there are so many resources.

I always go with Karl Kapp's book, Gamification as a Field Guide, I think, I don't know if I'm saying the title wrong, but it's an amazing book. It has a big-blown chart about which type of learning and what kind of games can be recommended. Going through some of those will actually help.

The one last point is you have to really connect it back to your audience. Not all games connect to everybody and also the time. For the application level example, you might not really have the time to build a full-fledge scenario-based game. Then how can you use trivia and use it in the right way so the learning goal is achieved? Yes, so many different [00:10:00] ways, but I think enough time dedicated in that design process actually affects the success of everything.

Luke: That's a really good point, and I know some of the instructional designers may be concerned about how much time it's going to take to create a game. Can you talk a little bit about the tools you're using and maybe any of the processes you're using to make development more efficient?

Usha: Definitely. A couple of tools that we have, when you do the design phase, the design phase, we have our own-- we use Excel sheets, right? Everybody likes it. We use Excel sheets to actually coordinate many of these different concepts, so we'll have the Excel sheets that our learning designers will put the structure of the class, what are the intended outcomes, which the game designers can actually take and incorporate a structure for a game, build a story that can expand to the content and all of that.

Our basic tool is Excel sheet all through for the design phase, [00:11:00] and then we also have, based upon what games that we are-- we have started reusing the game templates that we did. Each game template have an intake tool, an intake Excel sheet that displays what is a story, what is it that you need to change, and what are the questions? Excel sheet is one of our go-to during design phase, and the efforts that I led, and I'm not saying this is common for all Intel, but the efforts that I led, we have used a lot of articulate storyline.

One, mainly because of the need for scale, we didn't want to introduce a new tool that is difficult for our instructional designers or our game designers. We go with an articulate storyline and you can actually embed Javascript code to make it more functional, similar to software. That helped us create a lot of templates right now that we can reuse in many different cases. I know within Intel, there are other tools that are getting used, but this is what I go with [00:12:00] mostly.

Luke: Excellent, great. Now that you've put some games out with your learners, how are they using them? What kind of feedback are you getting, and are you able to measure any of the impact?

Usha: Yes. I have to talk about the initial reactions that our learners had when we implemented the pilot. The first time we implemented the approach, and maybe the current situation with everything going virtual helped us, maybe that is the case. We put it together with the core idea that we have to-- there's a real need to give a different varied experience for our learners. We hear about Zoom fatigue, we hear about virtual training fatigue, and those are really real when you look at corporate trainings.

We started off by, "Okay, let's put this idea out there, and see how our audience respond." The way that we measured our initial pilot success was one very much into reaction-based assessment, like, [00:13:00] "How do you like about it? How did it help you to learn?" Those kinds of questions. Also, since we developed the games using storyline, we had the capability to analyze the points from a score database. We had all of our games connected back to a score database and tracked how the points are getting increased and how many times each learner played. To me, those are real successes because we are seeing more and more learners coming back, playing the game, and more practice helps you learn as well.

Then we also had focus group and one-on-one meetings that I've set with folks to really understand what is it in this game that you enjoyed. It's not just to say yes and no. Would you like to see more of this? What are the different areas that you see this being applicable? We had survey-based feedback, we had focus group-based [00:14:00] feedback. We also had the capability to go in the back-end to see how a learner was progressing step by step. These are all good data points that we can go and showcase to our leadership, to the new initiative saying, "Okay, here is what we learned."

Luke: That's great. I know it's always fun to talk to learners directly who've taken your courses or experiences you've created and hear that firsthand feedback.

Usha: Yes, definitely.

Luke: Beyond gamification and the learning experiences, also do you have any gamification in the curriculum or in your LMS to basically challenge learners to complete multiple courses and learning experiences that are out there?

Usha: There are efforts I would say within Intel where gamification approach is being used within the curriculum to motivate learners to take more classes and all that. There are different use cases where we are applying the approach, yes.

Luke: Okay, great. I know that with your technology background [00:15:00] and your passion for technology and learning, talk about your views on other types of immersive technologies whether it's VR or AR. Where do you think they fit now and do you expect this to change in the near future?

Usha: My personal viewpoint on that is, and I am a big promoter of technology and I've been part of projects where we use virtual reality to enhance a learning experience, I see two ways. The first one is where it actually makes the most impact is in the soft skills areas. Honestly, this is my viewpoint because the potential of virtual reality is to put you in a situation and to practice in a safe space. You can build a situation as if you're going to apply this in front of a customer or a stakeholder and then practice in a safe space so that you can revise and go back and redo your practice.

I think that a practice-based approach [00:16:00] is where the VR capability is ideal in my viewpoint. I know we use VR to-- well, not Intel, but I've done pilots where we try to use VR in teaching about Intel product information that's factual-based. To me, that is the first step in, but the actual potential is where you can help learners practice using these technologies and simulated environments.

Luke: Excellent. With your point of view when it comes to gamification and all the learning that you've done around it and how you've been able to apply your software development skills, it seems like you're always trying to take the learning experience to another level. What inspires you to want to do that?

Usha: The way that I started this journey, I mean, we always talk about how can we bring new experiences for our learners, but I do believe in this one core concept that all of us learn differently. I have two kids, [00:17:00] if I look at either of them, one, I mean this kid loves to practice, always into practice mode, getting perfection, the second one, not so much. The second one is a different type of learning.

When I look at-- that's the same case with adults as well. When I look at people around me, each of us have different ways of learning, and each of us approach our own learning in different ways. We have done a couple of surveys within Intel as well to understand what people's learning style is even though that is a big known-- well, that is not a big known thing in the industry, like what are different learning styles?

Every time we do the survey, it comes out with multiple different styles. My concept is that a one-size-fits-all methodology for corporations might not be effective. We always go with, "Okay, Zoom-based learning, let's show a set of PowerPoints, and on-demand training with 30 to 60 minutes just talking in the [00:18:00] background."

To me, we don't know if that works. Yes, it scales better, but I like to look at it from a learner standpoint and acknowledge the fact that everybody learns differently. There is a potential opportunity for these different types of experience to access with the right understanding that a subset of your learners might like one way versus a subset might like a different base. How can we as learning designers and learning innovators be that voice for our learners to bring these new methodologies and technologies into place so that learning is actually inclusive? To me, that is a big piece.

Luke: That's such a great answer. When you think about all the different learning styles and to really be able to offer different approaches and different experiences for the learner, you hit as many of those as possible. Today, we got to really reach the people who are attracted to podcasts and like to learn from audio. So great to have your [00:19:00] expertise shared with us, Usha. Wish you the best of luck with continuing to create great learning experiences and using the technology to enhance learning for all the learners in Intel.

Usha: Awesome. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Susan: Thank you, Usha. Just great advice and thank you for sharing your passion. I think it's good advice for everyone listening. You don't have to be Intel in order to infuse some of these great learning strategies to make a difference, so thank you. Usha certainly shared some compelling ways that gamification can engage learners and drive better learning outcomes.

Luke: Yes, for sure. She's certainly full of passion too for engaging all types of learners, and she's really used gamification to do this at Intel. She talked about how gamification evolved at Intel, starting with research and planning to small pilot projects, and then to more widespread use today. She talked about the range of games they are adopting from trivia games to more complex role-based games and [00:20:00] scenario-based approaches. As they've developed more gamified learning experiences, they've been able to recreate and reuse templates, so they can be more efficient when developing new courses. She also talked about how she matches the gamification approach to address different learning needs.

Usha's experience as a software developer combined with her instructional design knowledge really threads through all of the different perspectives she shared. She has positive views on how technology can be used to create experiences that are inclusive of all types of learners. I can really see Usha becoming more widely recognized as both a creator of learning experiences and a thought leader in our industry.

Susan: She was definitely inspirational and had some great advice for our listeners. Thanks, Luke. Anything new at d'Vinci that you'd like to share?

Luke: Oh, yes, I did want to take a minute to spotlight our client Sandy Hook Promise. In the context of recent news, their work is more important than ever. They've created this kind of amazing learning center [00:21:00] where educators, students, and parents can access materials designed to help prevent acts of violence in schools, homes, and communities. At d'Vinci, we've worked closely with them to create fun K1-2 learning experiences that teach students to reach out and include peers, who are lonely and isolated.

We've also created learning experiences that teach students to recognize someone who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others and to know how to say something to a trusted adult. Now, I really recommend to our listeners to check out sandyhookpromise.org and learn more about their mission and their educational programs.

Susan: They're also very active on social media. I would add to that list for people to check them out on social. They've got some great resources and ways that people can get involved in their organization.

Luke: Hopefully, we can have a guest from there someday soon on Powered by Learning.

Susan: That sounds like a great idea. Well, thanks, Luke. Many thanks to Usha Chazhiyat, learning and development consultant at Intel, for [00:22:00] joining us today. If you have any questions about what we talked about, you can reach out to us on d'Vinci social channels through our website dVinci.com or by emailing us at poweredbylearning@d'Vinci.com.

Male Presenter: Powered by Learning is brought to you by d'Vinci Interactive. For more than 25 years, d'Vinci has provided custom learning solutions to government agencies, corporations, medical education and certification organizations, and educational content providers. We collaborate with our clients to bring order and clarity to content and technology. Learn more at dVinci.com.

Luke Kempski

By Luke Kempski, CEO

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