How to make Diversity Training more engaging
D&I is now a major focus in corporate training, with most large organizations running D&I programs designed to raise awareness and foster more inclusive workspaces. This reflects a growing recognition of the importance of diversity in the business world internationally.
At large corporations around the world, a typical D&I training program is usually run as a one off-session. Participants are asked to click through a set of slides, listen to presentations, and read about company policy.
With a growing number of researchers identifying the ineffectiveness of this approach, many organizations are searching for alternatives.
D&I training can, and should, be far more engaging. We harness the latest in peer-to-peer learning and gamification mechanisms to improve outcomes and create a more engaging and tangible experience. Here are some tips on how to take D&I training to the next level:
Popularly defined as the use of game elements in non-game contexts, gamification is one of the biggest trends in corporate training. Gamified training incorporates game mechanics such as rewards, points, and leaderboards to increase engagement, trigger positive emotional responses, and improve the learning experience. Skilful application of these techniques within D&I training programs has yielded promising results.
Microsoft’s Daphne Forbes has observed these results first-hand, and explained to LJN:
“All too often in diversity training, people attend sessions and memorize facts so they can check the box and say they completed their diversity training. With gamification, the goal is to encourage people to learn by doing, rather than memorizing, and to increase their knowledge.”
Learning by doing – transforming participants from passive listeners to active learners – is a key benefit of gamified D&I training.
Team-based gaming is especially effective for driving engagement and outcomes in D&I training. By providing a platform for participants to share experiences and set their own learning objectives, peer-to-peer learning encourages discussion, collaboration, and inclusion. Encouraging discussion and teamwork can help make the training more fun and stimulate friendly competition with other teams, leading to increased levels of engagement with the training.
Game dashboards generate important feedback data from D&I training, enabling leaders to track emerging trends and ideas among their teams. Playing under assumed team names rather than personal names helps generate more honest feedback and prevents people feeling like they are being judged or reviewed. Creating a safe, inclusive environment for participants to explore D&I issues is vital for achieving better results.
Gamified D&I training can include immersive scenarios, team-based challenges, fact-finding missions, video and audio activities, and interactive quizzes, combined with reward-based game mechanics like badges and leaderboards.
Immersive scenarios use real-life examples and situations to contextualize the learning points, making the material more tangible and applicable to everyday work. Taking on these challenges as a team can stimulate important discussions, creating a peer-to-peer learning experience that can drive a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration in other areas of the organization. Players explore different perspectives and situations in a safe, immersive forum, helping them to take on new ideas and experiment with new concepts.
Ready to try a new approach to D&I training? Our Diversity & Inclusion Training Game provides an engaging peer-to-peer learning experience, offering a range of customization options for our clients to gamify their own D&I content.
Although these tips and innovations can help improve the effectiveness of D&I training, there is no single session that represents a magic elixir to solve all the industry’s problems.
One-off games are not the answer by themselves. In order to truly drive outcomes and behavior change, D&I training needs to be ongoing and combined with other important structural elements, such as more diverse hiring practices across the organization. Training games must be aligned with the overall business strategy and incorporated within a broader organizational effort to achieve D&I objectives.
When incorporating gamification into D&I training programs, companies must adopt a clear stance on the topic. What is the goal, and what are the desired behavioral outcomes? Effective corporate communication and clear objectives are vital in achieving buy-in and driving genuine cultural change.
There are also a number of potential pitfalls to avoid. Most importantly, learning material should be based upon reliable sources and independent studies. Additionally, practitioners must strike the right balance between fun and learning, making sure they avoid trivializing the seriousness of the topic.
Nevertheless, gamified D&I training still represents a step forward, helping to make the learning experience more effective and engaging. When used effectively, it can help organizations take D&I to the next level.