• Author Annet Nimeijer

Get 80% of your employees learning. This is how you do it! (Part 2)

In a series of blogs I will share my advice on getting at least 80% of your employees learning by the means of gamification. You’ve previously read about the different types of players. In this blog, I will explain to you what things to take into account when it comes to starting your own learning competition.

Team vs. individual

When you’re setting up a game, you can either choose to pursue an individual competition or a team competing against one another. If less than 10 people are taking part in the competition, an individual battle is the obvious one to choose. However, when there are more than 10 contestants, a team competition will be more beneficial:

  • A team competition will make sure there are more actively engaged participators compared to an individual competition
  • If the odds of winning are not in your favor, you’re most likely not motivated anymore to take part at all (in some cases, the effect is even reversed: ‘’I won’t do anything anymore’’). So during an individual competition, you won’t step up your game if you’re already behind on the rest. Hence the importance of team members - they will motivate one another to keep going and to keep up the spirit.
  • A team competition will strengthen team spirit.
  • When dividing your group into teams, it’s wise to not let specific departments compete against each other, but to mix up everyone and create mingled teams. First of all, this way you’ll make sure there’s a mix of the different types of players. Generally, the ‘killers’ can often be found in the sales departments. Second, mixed teams will enable the possibility for different departments to work together in a better way; not ‘them’ but ‘we’. Team members will help each other when it comes to development and learning. During an individual competition on the other hand, it’s mostly a solo race; everyone is playing their own game.
  • During a team competition, you’re focussing on the social part of a competition, which pleases the ‘socializer’
  • In other words: more people will stay enthusiastic competing in a teamed competition rather than in an individual one.
  • Have you made the choice to go with a team competition, then the questions arises how many people a team should consist of. The ideal number of people working together in one team lies somewhere between 8 and 10. This amount of team members will enable everyone to get to know each other (even) better, but you’re still in a position to influence the final score yourself. On top of that, a team consisting of 8 to 10 people is large enough in order to experience a positive way of group pressure.
  • What you’re doing it for
  • Competition means prize, right? The learning competition should of course have a twofold goal. The main one is the employees’ growth. However, the employees’ goal on the other hand may be a slightly different one. They want to see a prize, and they want to compete for it. As a company, you should therefore enable your employees to win a prize they really desire. Also, adding a prize to the game, you automatically address the ‘killer’s’ mentality.

"A team competition will ensure more active users than an individual competition."

You can choose who to reward and why to reward them. For instance, you could add points to learning. This pleases the ‘achiever’, and at the same time you’re creating a measurable standard through which you’re able to measure your employees’ efforts. So adding points to learning is a successful way of rewarding either the person or team with the highest score. However, there are other ways to reward learning as well:

  • Reward contestants who have a high activation percentage
  • Reward contestants who have been most actively competing
  • Reward contestants who have achieved the most (certificates for instance)


Choosing who to reward and who not will not specifically influence peoples’ activation.

Length of time

Don’t make the learning competition last too long, however not too short either. How to keep the tension curve uptight for as long as possible? Keep in mind that everyone who just gets started will still be fresh, enthusiastic and active. During the competition, you might discover some small decreases in activity, but this increases again when the end of the competition approaches. People get their realization of ‘I am taking part in a competition!’ back, and the final sprints can be made. Ideally, the tension curve lasts for eight weeks. Regard the competition as some kind of motivational means to get people learning. If the competition would last for 4 weeks for instance, then the length of time is too short for contestants to reach an extra rush of motivation. However, if the competition lasts for too long, for instance 3 months, there is no horizon to be discovered and this causes people to be counterproductive.

In this blog, you’ve learned what the most important playing rules are when organizing your own learning competition. Congratulations, you can start doing that now! In my next blog I will tell you more about how to motivate employees for a period of 8 weeks.


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