Sustainable Learning with Gamification and Storytelling

Sustainable Learning with Gamification and Storytelling -
Today, it takes more than just protective technologies to fend off cyberattacks. Attentive employees can prevent attempted attacks via phishing or social engineering at an early stage by adopting the right behavior. Security awareness training can improve awareness of cyber risks among the workforce. Modern training courses rely on gamification and storytelling.

Can you still remember the topic and key content of your last training course? Many people feel much like squirrels, who simply forget some of their buried winter stores. Learned knowledge is fleeting. One reason for this, especially in face-to-face training: Predominant frontal teaching, without interactivity and practical relevance.

Certainly, one or the other now thinks back to their school days with horror. What may be undramatic for students, because the content does not play a decisive role in later professional life, can have far-reaching consequences in professional life. For example, if important lessons in IT security don’t stick with the learner, not only the learner but also the employer will have a bigger problem.

This is because technological protection measures alone are not enough to protect companies from cyberattacks. Attackers use phishing e-mails in particular to bypass protective mechanisms and target users directly. The chances of success for highly individualized attacks – so-called spear phishing attacks – are significantly higher than for mass attacks. Phishers use perfidious tricks to entice people to do things they would never have done otherwise.

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Security awareness training increases awareness of digital risks. In this way, companies can arm themselves and their employees against these attempted attacks. The goal: the security of the company, but also personal security in the digital age.

Sustainable training

In contrast to specialized training for individual departments, the following applies to security awareness training: Everyone is a potential victim and must therefore know the tricks of the cybercriminals. However, it is not enough to simply provide the workforce with a Youtube video with the most common and dangerous cyber risks. The learning success here is comparable to the frontal instruction briefly mentioned earlier and therefore approaches zero. The risk that employees will click on a fake link remains correspondingly high.

But how does learning become sustainable? The answer is: through intrinsic motivation, i.e., through activity incentives, through fun, through emotionality, and through conveying direct practical relevance, even beyond the work context. In addition, there is the desire for short learning units, because learning time is also working time, especially in the eyes of many employers.

A correspondingly sustainable solution is offered by eLearning, which participants can complete independently of time and place. However, their standard portfolio still largely consists of videos and multiple-choice tests, without taking into account that the requirements of learners and their learning behavior have changed significantly compared to a few years ago. The bottom line: In order to really engage the “modern” learner emotionally, formats must be designed in an appealing and innovative way.

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This leads to the question of what makes modern eLearning stand out. What ensures that learners learn sustainably and apply the content in their everyday work? Two aspects are examined in more detail below: Storytelling and Gamification.

Gamification and storytelling

Sustainable Learning with Gamification and Storytelling

Many eLearnings follow the so-called storytelling approach. The topic of the learning unit is linked to a suitable story. In the course of storytelling, specially created characters are usually used so that learners not only learn through a narrated story but can also link what they have learned to people they are already familiar with.

Crucially, our brains don’t distinguish whether we are experiencing something ourselves or a fictional character. That’s why we store information so well. For all the benefits of storytelling, one rule, in particular, holds true: “Brevity is the spice of life.” Learning units that are longer than ten minutes ensure that attention drops as does the suspense of the story. And with it the learning effect. Therefore, extensive topics should be divided into several episodes.

Let’s start with the second aspect by clarifying the term: When most people talk about “gamification”, they mean “game-based learning”. Game-based learning transfers partly dry and comprehensive learning material into a playful format, which is also very interactive. Gamification therefore means the integration of playful elements into an already existing learning format. An example of this is a reward system with points that participants collect when they complete learning chapters. Game-based learning creates a playful environment for learning. Gamification provides this with the playful elements.

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Motivated and sustainable learning

The bottom line: modern eLearning increasingly relies on good stories and game-based elements with the goal of maximizing learning transfer. For example, gamification elements (sliders, scoring, click-and-reveal, or timed challenges) are used in a dedicated learning world such as a serious game. A framework with a story provides positive emotions and motivation. A clearly stated goal creates high intrinsic motivation throughout the training. Learners maintain focus on the topic to be learned and are highly motivated throughout the duration of the training.

By the way, research proves the methods right. “Normal” eLearning on a voluntary basis has an approximate completion rate of 25 percent. Serious games of up to 90 percent. Learners stick with the training through interactions, emotions, and meaning because they are intrinsically motivated. In colloquial terms, this means that “more sticks”.

In terms of IT security, this means that technological protection measures alone are insufficient. If employees understand how cybercriminals operate, they form a human firewall in the company and prevent attackers from entering the network with their behavior.