If the Badge Fits…

I feel like a failure if I don’t clock 10,000 steps by the time I go to bed. That got me to wondering about whether badging has a similar motivating effect when it comes to corporate training.

When my husband suggested we get Fitbits earlier this year, I demurred. “I walk the same three-mile route every day,” I said. “I don’t need a fitness tracker to know how many steps I’ve taken.”

He bought me one anyway. And I quickly found out how difficult it is to hit the daily 10,000-step mark, despite walking three miles. I also found myself moving around a whole lot more just to hit that mark.

Then I got an e-mail from Fitbit saying I had earned the Penguin Mark badge (70 lifetime miles or the annual trip emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds), followed by the London Underground Badge (250 lifetime miles or the length of the UK railway). “Whoa!” I thought. “This is pretty cool.”

Now I feel like a failure if I don’t clock 10,000 steps by the time I go to bed. That got me to wondering about whether badging has a similar motivating effect when it comes to training. Turn to p. 20 to see how organizations are effectively using badges to encourage learning and generate business results.

While seeing all the badges they’ve accumulated may make employees feel like superheroes, learning portals can be an organization’s super power. In a perfect world, each learning portal would be as intuitive as Amazon and as searchable as Google. Achieving those goals isn’t easy, but it is possible. See “It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s a Super Portal!” to find out how.

Likewise, today’s learning management systems (LMSs) have some pretty potent powers when it comes to data collection, but many organizations aren’t tapping into them. In “LMS Data Deep Dive,” we look at how successful companies such as Keller Williams Realty, Guckenheimer, Ferguson Enterprises, and Samsung are using their LMSs to watch for trends in training needs and learner performance.

Our technology focus continues with our Games & Simulations special section. Learn about how organizations are using technology such as virtual reality (VR), cognitive games, avatars, and more to engage and train employees. (Full disclosure: I got nauseous after borrowing my niece’s VR goggles for an immersive racecar experience. Guess I’m not quite ready for this type of training yet!)

Another technology I’m not ready for is micro-chipping employees as Three Square Market began doing last month. Employees can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger, which allows tasks such as swiping into the office building and paying for food in the cafeteria to be done with a wave of the hand. Perhaps someday, training will be encoded into an embedded microchip and absorbed directly into employees’ brains. But that is fodder for a different article…

Meanwhile, I hope you will join me in New Orleans for our Online Learning Conference and Innovations in Training co-located event in September, where you will: tap into the collective wisdom of your colleagues to envision the future of learning in 2020; see speed demos featuring award-winning examples of successful e-learning; and participate in a hackathon where you’ll create an action plan to take back to your organization. Register at www.onlinelearningconference.com today!

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.