The future of playable learning with Accenture

Huw Newton-Hill (Head of Attensi US) and Justin Blanchard (Attensi’s Simulation Director) were joined by brilliant guest, Bob Gerard. With over 30 years of experience in the learning and development landscape, Bob now holds the role of Learning Ingenuity Lead at Accenture.

The future of playable learning with Accenture

Throughout this fascinating conversation, Bob, Justin and Huw discuss what gamification means, the evolution of ‘playable learning’, and what the future of corporate learning and development looks like.

For anyone who needs an insight into the positive impact simulation training and playable learning can have in your organization, look no further than this excellent discussion with Bob Gerard.


What does ‘gamification’ actually mean in corporate learning?

The idea of ‘playable learning’ is one that Accenture and Attensi share. Just some of the positive gaming principles that transfer smoothly into corporate learning include the ability to get players to repeat certain experiences before they can progress. The repetition and exploration that comes with gaming lends itself to a training setting very well.

“Gamification is, to put it simply, taking some of the stuff that games do really well and applying it to other things, like learning. It’s a method, not a big monolith that does one thing.”

The idea of “learning by doing’ is also one taken very specifically from more traditional board games – think ‘Settlers of Catan’ or even ‘Monopoly”. In these games players are taught the rules but they need to learn how to win through experience, experimentation and repetition.

Some may have misgivings or preconceptions when they hear the word ‘game’ in relation to corporate learning and development, but Bob goes on to explain,

“It’s about taking game mechanics and applying them to things that aren’t games.”


Where can gamification and playable learning go wrong?

Gamification sucks”, says Bob. Don’t be fooled, though. He goes on to explain that often in more corporate learning environments, there can be the danger of jumping on buzzwords.

In his wealth of experience, Bob has experienced gamification that’s been done well and gamification that’s been done… not so well. For instance, implementing a gamified system that’s ‘too easy to play’ often doesn’t yield the results it was intended for.

If players are not required to make an effort to get the game right, it’s unlikely they will retain new knowledge or practice skills or adopt new behaviors.

In another example, Bob tells us about his time working for a gaming company. The technologically savvy, experienced staff would often take part to prove they could ‘beat the game’, not because of a real desire to learn the material.

With these examples in mind, Bob goes on to share Accenture’s ‘durable learning principles’ with us.

Accenture’s ‘durable learning principles’

To create sustained results in learning, Bob and his learning colleagues at Accenture found the following durable learning principles:


Make sure you know exactly where the knowledge gaps are in your team. What is going to be practical and useful training for them?


Ultimately, your team wants to take part in something interesting that requires them to really use their brain.


When you can give training real life context, it allows teams to clearly see how they can apply what they learn to their day to day life.


You want teams to have to put in some effort to achieve their certification, reward, or incentive at the end of their training. If it’s a total walk in the park, it may be that the training provided wasn’t relevant at the time and needs to be revisited.


There needs to be something to be done following the learning; something that helps players process what they’ve seen and learnt.


While there is plenty of room for individual learning, it’s even more effective when taking part with other people.


Simply put, repeating a task a number of times will inevitably help ingrain that vital knowledge into long term memory.


Playable learning is designed to be consumed in short bursts over time. This ‘little and often’ approach ultimately aids retention over cramming large quantities of information at once.

Follow these, and there’s no reason your learning program shouldn’t be an organization wide success.

About our guest

Bob Gerard is a thirty-year-plus learning industry veteran who has held pretty much every role imaginable in the learning space at one time or another. Currently, Bob leads the Learning Ingenuity team within Accenture’s HR organization, which is essentially “research and development for how Accenture people learn better.” Bob is also the co-host of The Learning Geeks podcast, a program that reaches thousands of learning professionals around the world. He lives in Long Beach, California with his wife Sherri, two cats, and a pretty cool home arcade.

The Learning Geeks is available to listen to wherever you get your podcasts.

For more information about how you can implement Attensi’s gamified simulation training into your organisation, book a demo with us today. Make sure you tune into the full webcast to hear many more expert insights from Bob, Justin and Huw.

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