Kinley Wangchuk | Intern

With more Bhutanese now playing online games on smartphones, gamification — a practice of applying game mechanics outside the realm of games is gaining popularity.

Gamification has become one of the prominent employee engagement strategies that emerged in recent years. Bhutan saw its first gamification programme, a Minecraft-based platform launched on July 9.

A Thimphu-based training institute, the Institute Learning Solution (ILS) launched its gamification programme on team synergy with an objective to energise the traditional form of training programmes and to streamline training processes.

ILS founder, Kesang Om, said that the gamification project was in line with His Majesty The King’s vision to use technology in improving governance and democracy, besides addressing issues in healthcare, education, and agriculture.

Gamification, put simply, she said, was the process of adding game-like elements to things that typically aren’t considered games. “In the case of training, gamification adds points, badges, and other game features to otherwise traditional training programmes.”

Kesang Om said that ILS’s gamification on team synergy was an ‘immersive team effectiveness’ programme that utilised the expansive world of Minecraft (an online game) to simulate challenging situations in a highly interactive virtual environment.

She explained that participants — government, private or corporate agencies — can compete in teams to overcome various challenges that would test their communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills in real-time.

“Teams could engage in discussions between each challenge to reflect and learn from their in-game experiences and relate them back to their workplace environment, encouraging a deeper understanding of the concepts taught while enhancing learner retention,” she said.

Kesang Om said: “The Covid-19 pandemic required us to make many changes in our lives, moving education online, employees to work from home and conveying messages in emails. Given the urgency and the need, after much research and validation, ILS came up with a platform for capacity building using gamification.”

Gamified training, Kesang Om said outshined conventional training approaches as it improved learning and engagement, developed a sense of accomplishment and stimulated necessary behavioural changes. “One of the greatest benefits of gamification in training is that it allows learners to interact, communicate, and collaborate. If an organisation implemented gamification, the office would gain more than just increased engagement from the users.”

Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma launched the programme which was supported by the cottage and small industry department on July 9.

The ILS team plans to include gamification in other programmes such as recruitment, evaluation, and organisational productivity, said Kesang Om. “We also have plans to train our own local talents in developing games and maybe become possibly the next PUBG developer.”

Edited by Tshering Palden