Cyber strategy

Is gamification a key tool to build awareness?

To raise employee awareness, many companies are offering new types of online training, like "gamification" or "serious games". But what does "gamification" mean? And is it really adapted to the field of cybersecurity?
4 min

Definition of gamification

The stakes of raising awareness amongst peers are important for companies, especially when most information system breaches are caused by human errors such as simply opening a fraudulent email. In order to efficiently raise awareness, training people became a powerful medium: by educating people, we work towards changing behaviors and acquiring safer reflexes.

When browsing available training programs, the words “gamification” and “serious games” tend to come up more and more often and many companies are now making this new type of courses online. But what does gamification really mean?

It is essentially turning your training content into an engaging story in order to make it more attractive, and pleasant.

This trend can also mean obtaining trophies certifying the number of finished modules on an LMS platform (Learning Management System). This method aims to exalt one’s motivation which is important when following an online training course. However, it seems this method only stimulates one’s competitive spirit, which is not the intended effect when we talk about serious games.

New interactive training solutions

Today, training courses can be available onsite or online. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) for instance, are suitable for gamification purposes thanks to the learning flexibility they induce but also thanks to the variety of media they can support (videos, interactive activities, use cases etc.)

New gamification solutions have arisen a couple of years ago, allowing the transformation of written texts with images into interactive capsules, known under the name of SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model). These modules can be integrated to LMS platforms and be adapted into serious games: like a video game with characters, a problem to solve and an adventure to experience to solve the initial issue.

You might be wondering what the interest about all of this is. The interactivity offered is to put the learner at the center of his own learning and therefore avoiding the bore of a scrollable, boring and uncompelling text. Incorporating a narrative axis, one or several characters and an engaging story increases motivation and therefore increases the efficiency of a learning session.

The rapidity of a training course also must be considered. New trends encourage “micro-learning”: it consists in short but effective learning sessions to maximize one’s capacity to pick up new information depending on the learner’s ability to focus during a given period.

Interesting tools for the cybersecurity field

The SCORM format is now appreciated by companies and can be adapted to cybersecurity training courses. One could imagine the story of a  SOC helping a company victim of a malware or impersonating a hacker trying to attack an organization, listing all the different means to do so. These scenarios can be imagined by either you or a service provider to create an original story to motivate learners! Indeed, many service providers now offer their services for training design and integration. These services are affordable, depending on the size and audience of your LMS platforms.

Immersive Learning is also beginning to attract the interest of companies. This new approach puts learners in immersive situations, with scenarios and content specifically designed for technologies such as virtual reality headsets. It’s an interesting way of putting learners into real-life situations! The only snag is that this new approach to teaching comes at a price, due to the expensive equipment required.

As a result, there are many training or awareness-raising courses available in the form of serious games, offering numerous advantages. But to avoid getting lost in the plethora of gamified training courses on offer, it’s important never to lose sight of the primary aim when making your choice: to ensure the training’s impact on learners.