Games or Learning?

September 30, 2019

Author: Michelle Dizon 

In training and education, gamification isn’t a new term. It’s been a buzz-word for a while now,
and it's something that we’re not opposed to. But, as with any trendy topic, it deserves a bit of a discussion around where it can benefit you and where it may not. Let’s start off with some reasons why gamification may help your training initiatives:

It's engaging: who doesn’t want to turn their ‘work’ brains off and play a game for a
There’s an appetite for it: not everyone is as excited about training as we are, so trying
to tell your team that they can play a game probably seems like an easier message to
•Taking regular breaks can make you more productive: Using gaming as a break from
your day-to-day tasks has been shown to make employees more productive. 

When you’ve been tasked with ensuring that your team is trained, you want to make sure that they take the training as seriously as you do. You want to make sure that they retain the information, that they have a way to review it, and that they know it’s not something that’s only important because of its immediate reward. So, let’s talk about some things to watch for when considering gamified learning.

Short or long-term goals?

Games, unlike traditional learning, have "short-term achievable goals that give a seamless progression to players by providing frequent rewards that act as external motivators," (de-Marcos, Dominguez, Saenz-de-Navarrete; Pages, 2014, p. 82). Unlike objectives in traditional learning, these short-term goals do not hold the same level of importance.

Is it real?

Games allow the learner to question the importance and relevance of what they are learning. Gamified learning “Blurs boundaries between virtuality and reality” (Bellotti et al., 2010). Having a break in your mentally-draining day is important. But, interrupting your workflow, by immersing yourself in a game, may result in a longer than normal delay in productivity.

The purpose of learning 

Educational games serve the primary purpose of being a game, and a secondary goal of teaching something (Goehle, 2013). This is probably the most important point when it comes to fully-gamified learning. A portion of learning can be gamified, but the learning objectives, which have a direct impact on business, should be taught in a way that drives home their significance.

When it comes to cybersecurity, what our students learn can have far-reaching implications on their personal lives and businesses. We feel that making learning fun and engaging is important, but that should be balanced with education that has the sole purpose of educating. Learning should be fun and engaging, but most importantly educational.

To learn more about Security Compass' training, visit here:


Dominguez, de-Marcos, Saenz-de-Navarrete , and Pages. “An Empirical Study Comparing
Gamification and Social Networking on E-Learning.” Computers & Education 752014: 82–91.
Bellotti, Berta, and De Gloria. “Designing Effective Serious Games: Opportunities and
Challenges for Research.” iJET 5 (2010)2010.
Goehle. “Gamification and Web-Based Homework.” Problems, Resources, and Issues in
Mathematics Undergraduate Studies 23 (3)2013: 234–46.


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