BANKING TECHNOLOGY | Contributed Content, Singapore
Michelle Katics

The benefits of 'gamifying' training for retail bankers


Mobile learning, particularly in Asia, is rapidly going mainstream. Research by Ambient Insight revealed that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were the earliest adopters of mobile learning, accounting for 70% of the buying market in 2010. Yet other countries are catching up fast, with China, India and Indonesia expected to be the top purchasers by 2015.

While mobile learning has already shown its value and suitability in today’s world, there can be shortcomings. Some mobile learning simply takes the same dry textbook or PowerPoint training content and simply transports it onto the phone. While the information is more accessible, it remains just as boring as before. This is because, (in all honesty), most people are really not that fascinated with compliance, policies, or regulatory issues. Though, with this in mind, who knew we could all be so addicted with repeatedly pitching birds out of a slingshot? The huge popularity of games such as Angry Birds, has shown us that we can learn from the clever use of game mechanics to ensure learning is just as engaging.

New technology has opened doors to how we deliver learning – which can make tedious training a thing of the past if well designed. Serious games, for example, involve the use of simulations that immerse the learner in a virtual world, allowing them to put theoretical knowledge to the test within a risk-free environment. It’s not learning by ‘listening’ – it’s learning by ‘doing’ – proven to be the most effective training approach, as it focuses on practical skill enhancement. When gamified - by adding team competition elements, the experience is rich in learning and high in engagement. 

By gamifying training – we introduce game mechanics such as rules, challenges and rewards for achievements, which not only increase the fun factor, but most importantly learners are engaged and motivated by their desire to win. Also, by introducing a competition, learning tends to become ‘sticky’ and higher levels of knowledge are retained.

It’s important to keep in mind that for optimum effectiveness, learning shouldn’t stop once a training course is complete. No matter how sophisticated a course is - it’s been proven that on average, after 30 days, participants only remember 20% of what they learned. To stem the flow of lost knowledge, repetition and review of materials is crucial – and this is where the unique benefits of mobile learning come into play.

In Asia, the popularity of smartphones and tablets offers a powerful opportunity to engage, educate and support our workforce. Mobile learning provides personalized ‘bite sized’ materials that suit modern lifestyles and learning patterns. As an on-demand information source, learning touch points are continuously provided, further reinforcing knowledge and enhancing practical skills. If the on-demand mobile learning is engaging - even a bit addictive - all the better!

For example, one simple download of a mobile learning app can provide a busy professional with the opportunity to test their knowledge, or locate technical content when required. By having the materials at their fingertips, employees can sharpen their knowledge anywhere at any time.

It’s increasingly clear that the best of new technology provides us with the tools we need to tackle the complex challenges of the financial world today. With careful design, development and investment, we can build improved learning cultures inside the office, significantly enhancing our expertise and better preparing us for what tomorrow may bring.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Michelle Katics

Michelle Katics

Michelle Katics is a retail banking risk executive with internationally tested leadership and management skills. More recently, Ms. Katics has focused on sharing risk management and regulatory best practices with executives across the region through training and coaching. In 2010, Ms. Katics founded BankersLab™ , a company which is providing simulation-gaming based risk management training for retail bank executives.

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